Happiness is an inside job? We often think that we’ll be happy when we’re skinny or rich or have the right partner or live in the right house. I know I often find myself wondering how to achieve happiness.
We imagine losing weight, getting that job, winning the lottery, having the perfect relationship . . . will be delivering happiness to us.
The Happiness Advantage
I’m reading an enlightening book called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Shawn studies and teaches the research on happiness.
Achor says, “…the new research in psychology and neuroscience shows that it works the other way around: We become more successful when we are happier and more positive.”
This book is bringing together for me so many of the things I’ve studied over the years – positive psychology, energy psychology (including Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT) and the Law of Attraction.
And, with all the research studies Achor sites, it’s clear that WE determine how happy we are – NOT our circumstances. NOT what happens to us!
What Happens When You’re Happier
When you are in a happier, more positive state when you go into a job interview or a sales conversation, your brain is in a more creative, relaxed state. You’ll actually be smarter, than if you’re stressed.
Stress = fear = fight or flight or freeze. In the state of fight/flight/freeze, the blood is actually shut off from the creative, logical thinking part of your brain and shunted to your instinctual, survival brain.
And that just translates into fear and desperation in your mind and “No thanks!” in the mind of the person interviewing you, or the person you’d like to buy your stuff.
You’re not likely to get the job. Not likely to get the sale.
How Can You Make Yourself Happy?
How in the heck can we get happy when we’re feeling scared or insecure or overwhelmed or discouraged?
Here are three ways that are known to work to help you feel happier so you can be in the creative part of your brain when you most need to be.
Whatever you’re doing – socializing, selling, interviewing – you’ll come across as more resourceful, enthusiastic and smart. And that’s the kind of person bosses like to hire. People like to buy from. People want as friends and colleagues.
3 Easy Ways to Get Happier
It’s ok to start with just 5 minutes a day and you’ll still reap benefits.
There are many ways to meditate, and if you Google the topic you’ll get lots of advice and technique options.
The easiest to start with is to focus on one thing – your breath is the most common recommendation. Each time your mind drifts, gently bring it back to your breath.
I personally like the methods of Vipassana or Insight Meditation. My favorite Insight Meditation teacher is Shinzen Young. You can learn more about Shinzen’s teaching here.
Research shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress, even improve immune function. *
This is the most natural, organic way to raise your self esteem. In this way – all meditation is happiness meditation.
2. Remember Something Happy
I like to assign my private clients the task of making a list of happy memories. We do so much to clear the pain caused by our disturbing memories and the limiting beliefs they cause, it can be a delight to focus on the good ones.
This Happy List can serve us well.
Research has shown that people who get happy before taking a test or giving a speech or sales presentation have significantly better results than those who don’t. *
Taking just one minute to recall a pleasant memory before beginning your test or stepping onto the stage or picking up the phone can make a big difference in the outcome.
Exercise benefits us in so many positive ways that if it was a drug, it would be prescribed to everyone, for everything.
Exercise boosts your mood and enhances your work performance by releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. Exercise also improves motivation, enhances your sense of mastery, reduces physical tension, stress and anxiety. *
Again . . . you can start your exercise with just a little. 5 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes of walking.
The benefits of even a little exercise make you feel so much better, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to exercise more often and for longer.
Happiness IS an inside job. I’m guessing you have much more control over how happy you are than you ever thought.
* The Happiness Advantage, The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Shawn Achor
Think of three things that would be on your Happy List. Give us their short titles below. I’ll start.