The happiness advantage 

 The happiness advantage 

Reflections on Shawn Achor’s book

“The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” (John Milton)

Hello, my climate dear <3

Recently I read The Happiness Advantage, a book by Shawn Achor. This was a huuuuge learning experience that helped me improve many aspects of my life. If you are not in the selfhelp readers team, you must be thinking:

  • This is nonsense! This kind of information doesn’t work in real life. 

Dear reader, before you start judging me and skip to another article, please, give me a chance to share what I’ve learned. I am pretty sure that after reading a few paragraphs, the content in this article will help you make powerful changes and to adopt a more positive view of the world. 

So, happiness is the precursor to success, not merely its result. But have you ever stopped to think about what came first? Does happiness come before success or success before happiness?

Dear reader, our interpretation of reality changes our experience of reality. The truth is: we become more successful when we are happier and more positive. 

In the book, Shawn describes 7 principles to predict success, achievement, and consequently, happiness. Take a look below: 

  1. Power of positive psychology: retrain your brain to be positive, capitalizing on positivity to improve productivity/performance. 
  2. The Fulcrum and the Lever: adjust your mindset (the fulcrum) in ways that give us more power (lever) — we control how we think about the world. 
  3. The Tetris Effect: Retrain our brains to find opportunity wherever we look or wherever we are — focus on opportunity. 
  4. Falling Up: find the path out and up from the negative events of our lives. How can this make us stronger? 
  5. The Zorro Circle: regain control in the midst of chaos by bringing our circle in — focus on small, manageable goals until we get stronger. 
  6. The 20-Second Rule: by making small energy adjustments, we can reroute the path of least resistance and replace bad habits with good ones.
  7. Social Investment: invest in our friends, peers, and family so that when challenges

and stress present themselves, you have a social support network.

Together, these Seven Principles helped the ones who put the principles into practice  overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, become more efficient and productive, make the most of opportunities, conquer their most ambitious goals, and finally, reach their fullest potential.

From possible to probable

The mental construction of our daily activities, more than the activity itself, defines our reality. So, let’s go deeper into these points? I highlight some practical activities that Shawn discusses in his book and that can support you in the development of your happiness: 

  1. Positive mindset

Some studies have confirmed numerous ways we can permanently raise our happiness baseline and adopt a more positive mindset. When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful.

“Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels. They help us organize new information, keep that information in the brain longer, and retrieve it faster later on. And they enable us to make and sustain more neural connections, which allows us to think more quickly and creatively, become more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things.” (Shawn Achor)

  1. Meditate and exercise

Meditating can change your notion of time! You just need to take some minutes each day to watch your breath go in and out, training your patience in the process. Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. In this sense, regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress, and even improve immune function.

Physical activity can boost mood and enhance our work performance, by improving motivation and feelings of mastery, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping us get into flow. I always support my followers to go to the gym, we are the #hotfortheclimate 💪🏽😂

  1. Spend Money (but Not on Stuff)

Spending money on experiences, especially ones with other people, produces positive emotions that are both more meaningful and more lasting. This could be a nice trip with someone that you love, a walk through the park, picnic with your friends or a simple pizza night with your relatives.

  1. Exercise a Signature Strength

Do you know what your strengths are? Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become. If you have no idea about yours, please take the survey to find out your own signature strengths and try to incorporate at least one of them into your life each day. 

  1. Focus on the positive

When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude, and optimism. I have a task for you: every night write down a list of “three good things” that happened that day. By scanning our mental map for positive opportunities, your brain will reject the belief that every down in life leads us only further downward and you will learn the ability to move up not despite the setbacks, but because of them.

“Things do not necessarily happen for the best, but some people are able to make the best out of things that happen.” (Tal Ben-Shahar)

6. Have social support

The more social support you have, the happier you are. And as we know, the happier you are, the more advantages you accrue in nearly every domain of life. When we make a positive social connection, the pleasure-inducing hormone oxytocin is released into our bloodstream, immediately reducing anxiety and improving concentration and focus. So in essence, investing in social connections means that you’ll find it easier to interpret adversity as a path to growth and opportunity; and when you do have to experience stress, you’ll bounce back from it faster and be better protected against its long-term negative effects.

Remember the dictate: “the happier everyone is around you, the happier you will become.”

Scientists estimate that we remember only one of every 100 pieces of information we receive, so, if you need to memorize just one thing about this article, I would aks you to remember:

Information is not transformation.

If you intend to transform your life, you need to act. Do the tasks and whenever you feel that you are a sad, awful, or a boring failure, just “fake it till you make it.”

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