A Positive Spin on Happiness

An inspiring insight into how being positive can impact on our results and lives

I simply have to share this gem with you: My good friend Rob Day recently passed me a link to a video clip. The video, called “The happy secret to better work” (which does not do it justice), is by a psychologist called Shawn Achor; it is not only insightful and inspiring, it is also very funny. So there are three separate reasons for reading on and viewing the clip! Below I summarise my conclusions, personal views and ideas on the video.
If you want to see the video, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJsdqxnZb0&feature=player_embedded
It is just over 12 minutes long – but it could be the best 12 minutes you spend today. Enjoy!
Of course, as ever, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Go on, just drop me a line.

Current situation …

Beyond average We are surrounded by statistics and averages in all walks of life. Normal is often seen as being average – but as many people in private and public sector work will know, average is not good enough. But what if we do not merely attempt to reach ever extending targets, but looked at moving our thinking first? It could be more than just moving our individual self to be at least average; great leaders try to move the average up for each individual … and the team and organisation! So how does our thinking need to change? Achor’s video suggests that if we can change the lens through which we see the world, this can change our happiness, and hence improve our output and results.
What usually happens now?   Apparently 90% of our long term happiness is determined by how our brains process the world around it. We can change the way we see the world by changing our lens (thinking). He states that we have the ability to “rewire” our brain / thinking within 21 days. Only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ; 75% is by our optimism level, our social support and our ability to see stress as a challenge rather than as a threat – all aspects where we have some degree of choice. Yet often many of us can focus too much on the negative things around us, and not enough on the positive. In many of our lives, especially at work, if we work hard we believe that will make us successful, and that in turn is supposed to make us happier. But our “success goal posts” (targets) keep moving, so we may not achieve success and hence never reach happiness. It is as if we keep pushing happiness over the horizon.

What we  can do …

Positive psychology One fundamental point is that we need to think positively in the present, instead of getting overly distracted by the past or the future. We need to live and appreciate the present moment. Philosophers have said that only the present is real. When we do think more positively, our dopamine levels increase (I knew that Pharmacy degree would come in handy!), and this neurotransmitter leads to happiness. It also turns on the learning centres in the brain! When our brains are more positive our creativity, intelligence, resilience and energy is also raised. Wow!Imagine what would happen if your own positivity level increased. Now also imagine if people around you raised theirs; the ripple effect could produce a fantastic and positive revolution.
How to get started Here are 5 things you can do daily in the first 21 days to help you think even more positively:

1. Write down 3 new “gratitudes” at the end of the day

2. Exercise effectively

3. Write your positive thoughts and ideas in a journal

4. Meditate

5. Undertake random conscious acts of kindness

I would love to hear your thoughts please. Your feedback and ideas are welcome! If you would like explore how to change thinking for yourself, your team or organisation – simply contact me.



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