We are all motivated by different things but ultimately we all want to be Happy.
We dream of professional success, love, a sense of purpose in life, a new house, more financial freedom … what we really want in fact is Happiness!
Happiness has exploded as a hot topic in the science community over the past 10 years, and we now have science-backed evidence to confidently say that :
- Ironically what we believe would make a huge difference in our lives, actually only make a very small contribution to our happiness levels (and yes, that includes our financial comfort, the circumstances of our life, career, even health to some extent …)
- Certain physical activities, mental habits and practices allow us to significantly and sustainably elevate our sense of Happiness
Science tells us is that Happiness is our capacity to enjoy the beautiful and positive moments of our life and bounce back rapidly from difficulties. Happiness is a mindset, it is not about what happens to us in life, it is about how we perceive what is happening to us and how we react to it.
As a result, regardless of what life throws at us, with a bit of brain fitness (intentional conscious activities and behaviours), we have the power to become Happier.
Six brain fitness tips to switch on the Happiness button in your brain.
1- Be present
We live most of our life “in our head”, mind-wandering, constantly replaying events of the past or projecting in our imagination scenarios for the future. Matt Killingsworth – researcher on the nature and causes of human happiness – estimates that we spend 67% of our time mind wandering and demonstrates that mind-wandering causes unhappiness. When we are in our head, we miss things, we miss a lot of beautiful things.
So Stop, be present, get out of your head, open your senses, look, smell, listen and you will notice the beauty that surrounds us. You will notice the kind smile of the girl at reception, the beautiful blossoming trees on the way to work, the laughter of a child. Being present increases the number of positive emotions one experiences.
2- Be grateful
The more you are grateful, the more things there are for you to be grateful for! It is as simple as that. Cultivate gratitude by writing every night 3 things you are grateful for in a notebook. Note what it is but most importantly how it made you feel. This will create an association in your brain between the “object’ of your gratitude and a positive emotion. The more you repeat this process, the more positive emotions you will experience.
3- Be kind
Kindness is the most contagious in our emotions repertoire and science has proven that kindness generates happiness not only for the recipient but also for the giver. Pick a day once a month and commit to 5 acts of kindness on this specific day, anything from smiling to a stranger, to helping a colleague, or giving a compliment …
4- Cultivate your social life
Our connections to other people are instrumental in our happiness but we are talking about quality over quantity. There is a great body of research out there showing that very happy people have rich and satisfying relationships and they spend little time alone compared with people who are moderately happy (survey in 2002 by Ed Diener and Martin Seligman). Engage with the world around you, at work, at play, surround yourself with people who inspire you and interact.
Most of what life throws at us is outside of our control. One of the most efficient tools of the science of happiness is to learn to accept what you can’t control. If we resist instead of accepting, we enter a vicious circle of negative behaviours (complaining, mind-wandering, seeing the negative), the idea is to Stop, breathe, find a way to deal with it and move on ! Mindfulness training is an amazing tool to learn to accept.
Forgiving is not about condoning what happened in the past, it is about deciding to live in the present and to create a happy future, it is about letting go of the pain of the past, for yourself. You don’t even have to tell the person you forgive them. Forgiveness fosters wellbeing and reduces stress levels.
Stephanie Peltier from The Happiness Society works with Yogi2Me’s Wellness Service offering mindfulness and happiness workshops.
Individuals and corporate groups alike can take park in Yogi2Me’s Happiness Workshops with Stephanie to learn new tips, and advice in bite size chunks that can be slowly introduce into everyday life and work environments.
The workshops are based on increasing awareness to mindfulness and look at the science of happiness. It is the first step into a positive life change to highly contribute to wellbeing.
The workshops help you to learn life-changing techniques whilst having a fun experience.