Feel Happier

Do these exercises for two minutes a day and you’ll immediately feel happier, researchers say

The Washington Post

To those who think of happiness as a “nice to have” luxury or something that comes after a lifetime of sacrifice of single-mindedly driving to achieve a goal, happiness researcher Shawn Achor, head of Goodthink and author of “The Happiness Advantage,” is on a mission to change minds, hearts and lives. Happiness, he says, isn’t just about feeling good, it’s about the joy we feel while striving after our potential. His research has found that choosing simple happiness habits that take no longer than brushing your teeth can boost your mood, make you happier and, as a result, healthier, more productive and creative at work and closer to those you love at home. He explains:

Q: We never used to talk about happiness. Now it seems all the rage. What’s going on?

Achor: I think we’re living through twin revolutions. The high-tech revolution allows us to have information at our fingertips at any moment. And hidden behind that is a more powerful one. Because of that technology, we’ve been able to understand the human brain better than ever. We’ve learned that we’re not just products of our genes and environment. But by changing our mindset and habits, we can actually dramatically change the course of life, improve intelligence, productivity, improve the quality of our lives, and improve every single education and business outcome.

There’s a great thing on Google called N-gram. And because they’ve digitized all this literature, you can search language usage over the past 150 years. And you can see that, over the past 10 years, there’s been this massive increase in the use of the word “happiness.”

But if you look over the past 150 years, we are a little blip at the end of a long decline … throughout the entire 20th century. And that maps right onto society becoming more industrialized. And as we got more interested in time management and productivity, we lost the individual, and with that individual loss, we lost happiness as well.

So I think the world has actually been malnourished as we’ve focused so much on productivity and ignored happiness and meaning to our own detriment.

Q: What you’re describing is so much larger than ourselves – industrialization, now globalization – is real happiness out of the hands of individuals?

Achor: What’s hopeful is that happiness is actually an individual choice, even in the midst of negative circumstances. It’s not something our employers can give to us, though they can limit and influence that choice.

We’re finding that happiness is a social creature. If you try to pursue it in a vacuum, it’s very difficult to sustain it. But as soon as you get people focused on creating meaningful connections in the midst of their work, or increasing the meaning and depth of their relationships outside of work, we find happiness rising in step with that social connection.    Read more here including Achor’s 5 Habits for Happiness.

Feel happier