How to Have Authentic Happiness and Catapult Your Success
One common trap people fall into is believing that success precedes authentic happiness. You may be bursting with joy once you get that promotion, but did you know being happy can get you that promotion?
Positive psychology focuses primarily on personal growth and supporting the achievement of a satisfactory life, rather than treating mental illness. In the field of positive psychology, evidence suggests that happiness is an effective precursor to achieving success.
Your brain in a positive state outperforms a negative, neutral, or stressed brain.
A positive mental state causes a surge in intelligence, creativity, productivity, and energy. A brain in a positive state is flooded with dopamine, which makes you happier and turns on all the learning centers of the brain. Is anyone else interested in a shot of positivity?
Authentic happiness primes the brain for success by increasing cognitive function.
Every business and educational outcome is improved when the brain is in a positive state. Productivity, for example, increases by 30% or more. Doctors are 19% better at coming up with the correct diagnosis when in a happy state. Maybe consider bribing the doc with some candy before your annual checkup. It worked during the study!
While happiness is subjective, people can be studied based on their personal experience of happiness. Other benefits of a positive mental state include increases in sales, life expectancy, and the likelihood to be promoted. Are you convinced yet?
Shawn Achor, the author of the Happiness Advantage, defines happiness as the joy that we feel when we are striving toward our potential in whatever area we choose. When happiness is joy, you can experience it through the peaks and valleys of any experience. Joy can be perceived regardless of outward circumstances.
The more we strive toward our potential, our levels of authentic happiness increases.
If happiness is disconnected from growth, we stagnate, and our happiness dissipates. Happiness without meaning is pleasure, which is short-lived and potentially addicting.
As people’s rates of success increase, their levels of happiness flat line. When happiness comes aftersuccess, which is a moving target, the brain experiences happiness for a short time. After achieving a goal, a new goal is set in place, so we only enjoy the fruits of our labor momentarily.
A whopping 75% of success is determined by optimism, your social connections, and the way you perceive stress. If you have a positive perception of stress, such as seeing it as a challenge or an opportunity for growth, the effect it has on the body becomes beneficial while increasing authentic happiness and productivity.
Train your brain to operate at a positive mental state by:
Deepening social connections– Social connection is as predictive of life expectancy as obesity, high blood pressure, or smoking. Writing a daily 2-minute email thanking, praising, or reconnecting with an old friend/acquaintance increases feelings of social connection.
Raising people’s level of optimism– Our brains are wirelessly connected through a mirror neuron network. Actions that increase your positivity have an effect on people’s mindsets through verbal and nonverbal cues. Mirror neurons give us the power to spread positivity. Being positively expressive, both verbally and nonverbally, will have a positive impact on others and help create change.
(According to Chade-Meng Tran during a Q&A with Shawn Achor at Google, wishing for someone to be happy can cause positive changes and meditating during a chaotic meeting may bring about calmness.)
A positive perception of stress– The greatest outcomes of human achievement occurred in the moment of stress, not the absence of it.
Implementing these three concepts result in a brain that is positive first which dramatically raises success rates. What can you do to start now?
Write down 3 new things you are grateful
Journal daily about one positive experience from the last 24 hours
Random Acts of Kindness
Doing these acts for 21 days in a row will rewire your brain to experience authentic happiness and improve your overall success. Start off with up to three of these concepts to create your new habit. Once you have comfortably incorporated them into your daily routine for 21 days, include more concepts until you have created 5 new habits.
Measure your authentic happiness.This is a questionnaire developed by the University of Pennsylvania to measure levels of happiness. You can even measure levels optimism and forgiveness further down in the page. This can be both fun and informative.
This questionnaire is a good way to assess your progress from the concepts above you choose to implement into your life. Once you see progress, you are more inclined to keep integrating these concepts in your life and even add more from this list. By making authentic happiness a lifestyle, you become more attractive to success.
Achor, Shawn. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. New York: Broadway, 2010. Print.
Achor, Shawn. Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. New York: Crown, 2013. Print.
~*~*~*~I BELIEVE in you! It has always been possible. Connect with the power within.~*~*~*~ ~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~
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