I know, I know … there are so many recipes for happiness … all those cute little emails that circulate endlessly about true happiness, friendship, puppies and rainbows. I am certainly not against any of them and they offer a lot of truth and good advice. But once we’ve clicked delete, the thought disappears (except in the case were the email threatens bad luck if you don’t share it with at least 10 people … then we have that little voice in our heads that says “should I? no that’s silly? but what if it’s true?” DELETE!!!!!
So, is there really a simple recipe for being and staying happy? We certainly don’t find it in the news we watch, in the stress we face (or perceive to face) every day, on the roads, at our jobs in our relationships. We always seem to need more, want more and deserve more … then we will be happy.
I recently watched a TED Talk with speaker Shawn Anchor, American educator and author, titled: The happy secret to better work . He discusses the idea of changing the lens through which our brains view the world and shape our reality.
“If we change our formula for happiness and success, what we can do is change the way that we can then affect reality. If we can raise our level of positivity in the present, then our brains experience what we now call a happiness advantage, which is, our brains at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.”
He proposes a 21 day 5 step program to re-wire your brain to scan the world for the positives instead of the negatives. I think I am up for the challenge … because I have to admit … negativity can creep up on me … little things … day after day. If you just stop for a moment and think about all the negative things you think or say in a day it’s surprising. So, I’m going to change my lens – why not try it too!
1. 3 Gratitudes – write 3 things you are grateful for (in the morning with your coffee might be a good time or if you prefer, before bedtime)
2. Journaling – write about 1 positive experience that took place in the last 24 hours
3. Exercise – could be as simple as a 20 min. walk everyday
4. Meditation – check out 6 Simple Meditation Techniques for Real People by Lisa Cosmillo
5. Random Acts of Kindness – everyday, when you open your in-box, write 1 person in your social support network, a positive email praising them or thanking them