The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage

I’ve been reading a fantastic book, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  It provides great insight into what makes us happy and how to be happier.  For the next few weeks, I’ll share with you some of Achor’s strategies, but I’ll start off by setting the foundation.

Apparently, we have it all backwards.  We have become accustomed to thinking that if we work hard, we will become successful, and if we become successful, we will be happy.  Unfortunately, this thought process is flawed and completely backwards.

More than a decade of research has proven that happiness actually fuels performance and causes us to be more productive, efficient, resilient, and creative.  Happiness also leads to success in nearly every area of our life, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy.  In short, when we are happy, we are smarter, more motivated, and more successful.

Unfortunately, we are less happy than we’ve ever been.  A Harvard study in 2010 found that only 45% of workers surveyed were happy at their jobs, the lowest in 22 years of polling.  Depression rates today are ten times higher than they were in 1960.

We used to think happiness was a set point that you are born with, leaving you little room to determine your happiness fate.  We now know based on extensive research, that that is simply not the case.  Our brains are absolutely amazing, and can actually be changed, a process called self-directed neuro-plasticity.  By improving our mood and implementing happiness strategies, we can improve our happiness and experience the happiness advantage.

Happiness also leads to success in nearly every area of our life, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy.

Positive emotions cause our brain to create dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only  make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels.

What does this mean for us?  People who put their head down and work hard, waiting for their success to drive their happiness are at a huge disadvantage, while people who capitalize on positivity are more successful and yes, happier.

Happiness is not a magical concept, and it does not need to occur in huge events.  Something as small as a funny video clip or conversation with a friend can have an immediate boost in cognitive power and job performance.In fact, psychologists have found that positive emotions can “undo” physical stress and anxiety, a phenomenon they call the “undoing effect”.

Next week I’ll start exploring Achor’s strategies for improving your level of happiness!

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Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...

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Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 3 books. Her newest, Mind Over Moment: Harness the Power of Resilience, is available on Amazon now.


    • Definitely easier said than done. And yes, according to the research, happiness begets success. Stay tuned for next week’s post with some strategies to get there! 🙂 Hope you are doing well. miss you!

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