The Beautiful Side of Life
How do we find happiness?
Either way ... welcome to the February edition of the Counseling Newsletter! I flipped my topic several times until I finally hit one that resonated with me for this month - happiness.
Often times we think happiness will come when we get good grades, when we are recognized for a certain talent, or when we finally get something we want. But science has proved over and over that happiness is actually the opposite of that ... happiness actually comes first! When we can find happiness, then we become more successful. Combined studies on over 275,000 people found that happiness led to success in nearly every domain - including work, health, friendship, sociability, and creativity.
This requires us to switch our focus and instead of shooting for something that we think will make us happy, we have to become happy first and then the rest will follow suit. So, how do we find our happiness? Read on to find out how!
5 Ways to Build Your Happiness
Challenge: Determine what you're particularly good at and enjoy doing. Each night, before you go to bed, think about how you're going to use your signature strength to make a small difference in someone's life.
A(rrange) something to look forward to: "One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. Often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. If you can't take the time for a vacation or a night with friends now, put something on the calendar. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it."
Challenge: Watch a movie you've been hoping to see, make plans with a friend, or plan something you can look forward to
P(ractice) gratitude: "When researchers pick random volunteers and train them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks, they become happier and more optimistic, feel more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep, and even experience fewer headaches than control groups. Countless other studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely."
Challenge: Keep a journal near your bed. Before going to sleep at night or before getting out of bed in the morning, write down three things you're grateful for.
P(erform) deliberate acts of kindness: "Sonja Lyubomirsky, a leading researcher and author of The How of Happiness, has found that individuals told to complete five acts of kindness over the course of a day report feeling much happier than control groups and that the feeling lasts for many subsequent days, far after the exercise is over."
Challenge: Make a conscious decision to help three people today (bring someone a cup of coffee, offer your time to listen to someone's struggles, send someone a message of encouragement to a friend or family member).
Y(earn) for social support: "In the midst of challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves. But the most successful people invest in their friends, peers, and family members to propel themselves forward. This principle teaches us how to invest more in one of the greatest predictors of success and excellence - our social support network.
Challenge: Make plans with a friend or friends at the beginning of the week - coffee date, dinner date, movie night, game night, etc.
(Nathan Lozeron; www.productivitygame.com)
You might feel really silly at first ... so silly that you try to talk yourself out of doing it. But, I challenge you to push through the feeling of awkwardness and just do it. Tell someone why you're grateful for them! It will boost their mood AND yours at the same time ... what have you got to lose?
Want to learn more about the science of happiness?
- How to boost your happiness
- How to get out of a bad mood
- How to train your brain
- How to be more optimistic
- More about the essence of positive psychology?
Click the link below!!
New Workout Challenge!
I haven't given us a workout challenge lately. And let's face it ...
Exercise = A significant increase in happiness
Don't get me started on dopamine and endorphins ... the feel-good chemicals in the brain that are released when we actually move our bodies and work out!
We've planked, we've push-up'ed ... let's go for some burpees. I'm being honest ... I really cannot stand burpess (...because frankly, ouch). BUT ... I'm up for a good challenge. Who's in?
Join me and then keep me posted on how you're doing!
(Email me pics or updates to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be included in my future victory-collages in the next newsletter!)
If you're in ... follow the chart below (you only have to start with ONE burpee, and by day 30 you'll be rockin' out 50!)