The Science Of Happiness
Happiness – experience of positive emotions – pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. Happiness implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future. Happiness is relative to the person experiencing it. Subjective well-being based on how we each feel about our own lives. The best judge of how happy you are is You.
I watched today an incredibly fascinating interview with Shawn Achor. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human potential, specialised in happiness research. He is also a best-selling author and speaker. The topic of this interview was positive psychology and the incredible importance of happiness for success.
Positive psychology was born in 1998 with Martin Seligman announcing, that it’s time to shift our focus on the positive. That we need to study what works and not only what is broken. As a society we know very well how to be unwell and miserable, but know very little about how to be well and thrive.
According to Shawn and his many years long ongoing research, happiness and optimism fuel performance and achievement and through that, success. Not the other way around.
“It is when we are positive our brains become more
engaged, creative, motivated and productive.”
– Shawn Achor
So essentially, waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brain, makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative and productive, which drives performance upward.
It shows that the formula thought to us by schools, companies, parents and society that: if you work hard, you become successful, and once you become successful, then you will be happy – is broken.
“It turns out that our brains are literally hard-wired to perform at their best
not when they are negative or even neutral,
but when they are positive.”
– Shawn Achor
It means that unless you have meaning and happiness in any given situation, your effort to achieve real lasting success is purposeless.
Yet, in today’s world so many of us sacrifice happiness for success. In chase of fame, wealth, or social status we quickly become stressed, tired and under pressure. Hoping for the reward that we’ve been promised only after we succeed.
So how to maximise our potential, find meaning and happiness when as a society we focus mainly on the negatives. Exposed on a daily basis to dark, sad, scary news, tricking our brains into believing that that’s the only reality.
“The point is, that what we spend our time and mental energy focusing on
can indeed become our reality.”
– Shawn Achor
You could sit there and just keep thinking about all the negative things that happened. Or you could choose to focus on the positive stuff, and let dopamine flush to your brain, which turns on all the learning centres in your brain for a beneficial outcome.
On the other hand, the more angry and negative you feel, the more stressed you are, and the middle part of the brain, the emotional responses, are stealing resources from the thinker.
Unless you find positive meaning involved with it and instead of framing it as a thread, see difficulties as challenges.
Until not long ago the common belief was (and still is among most people), that we are just our genes. We come into this world with a fixed set of abilities and potential and our brains can’t change.
However the recent advances in neuroscience and neuroplasticity have proven that already small changes to our mindset and our habits can have huge implications in terms of rewriting our genes and how they get manifested. It is now a well-known fact that our brains can change and with that our potential for intellectual and personal growth.
“Studies have found numerous ways we can rewire our brains
to be more positive, creative, resilient, and productive
– to see more possibility wherever we look.”
– Shawn Achor
Our interpretation of reality changes our experience of that reality.
By teaching ourselves to find happiness while striving for success, every single educational and business outcome improves dramatically. Our productive energy rises by 31%, sales by 37%, promotion by 40%. Our intelligence, creativity and memory improve too.
So as you can see, happiness is an incredible advantage as you try to succeed in your life.
Also because our brains are actually wireless connected through mirror neuron network. This means that we don’t just process the world, we co-process it with other people. It indicates that other people’s engagement level has influence on mine and vice versa. That’s why it is so much easier to stay positive when the others around you are positive too.
With that, by applying little changes to our habits, we have the power not only to change our own life, but create this ripple effect and help others to change as well. Touch others around us, impact them with our positive behaviour.
Try this exercise: every day for 21 days as the first thing in the morning at work, write a simple positive email to someone that you know, always a different person, a co-worker maybe, and thank him/her for something or express some kind of appreciation.
You will notice very soon that the recipients feel like they have also the permission to reply and do it with other people, like a domino effect.
Here are a few tips for implementing little changes in your daily life to attain more happiness:
- Teach your children to make it a habit, to remember and be grateful for meaningful positive experiences in their life, and write it down or share it at the dinner table. It creates optimism. Start with your children as early as possible. The earlier the better.
“The happiness of parents at work
is highly dependent of the happiness
of their children.”
– Shawn Achor
With gratitude the brain can’t recognise when it is real or not. The brain can’t recognise the difference between visualisation and real experience. By doing that you can double the most meaningful experiences, that happened over the last 24 hours.
Because remember? what ever your brain attends to, becomes your reality.
- Start every day with three new things that you’re grateful for, that have occurred over the past 24 hours. Just this two minute change has an incredible effect.
- For 21 days when brushing your teeth think of three new things that you are grateful for and why. At the same time each day focus on your breath and observe that your brain is swapping from multitasking to focus on one thing.
- Meditate in the morning or throughout the day. Even as little as two minutes of meditation boosts your productivity and uplifts your spirit.
- Write a two minute positive thank you message to someone every morning.
Like in the theory known as The Butterfly Effect, when one tiny motion eventually picks up speed and power, one small change triggers a cascade of bigger ones. By moving closer to more positive mindset, we can send ripples of positivity through our families, organisations, and communities.
“The ripple effect is the perfect example
of how there are no real discernible limits
to our influence and our power.”
– Shawn Achor
I really hope that you enjoyed reading this blog post and that you received lots of great value from it. If you feel that it could also benefit others, I invite you to Like and Share it.
To your happiness,
Beata was born and grew up in Poland. At the age of 21 she moved to Germany and then eight years later to the UK. She is a passionate entrepreneur driven by burning desire to raise awareness about what we are truly capable of as humans and together with like-minded people, create a better sustainable world for the future generations. She is a mother to two beautiful girls, identical twins Atiya and Caira and wife to Sebastian. She is a Holistic Therapist and Kundalini Yoga practitioner. She is intensively learning and implementing healthy nutrition and natural healing in her family life with great success. She loves travelling and exploring new cultures and meeting new people, fascinated by the diversity and beauty in the world. She thrives from her digital lifestyle and earning money online through affiliate marketing and is extremely dedicated to inspire others to make their dream come true too.