The concept of happiness has always been something that has fascinated me. So when the opportunity came up to contribute to The Happy Friday Series, I got really happy (true story)! And as always, I wanted to take an unconventional approach. So today I’m going to pull up my suspenders, tie on my favorite bowtie and talk to you about the science of happiness.
In a recent TED talk, Shawn Achor presents an interesting thought.
“It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. If we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness but we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”
What I gather from this thought is that happiness is defined by our own interpretations and beliefs. If we can change how we interpret situations and adopt new beliefs, we can essentially become happier.
Achor continues his talk on the science of happiness with a few exercises. When completed every day for 21 days, the following tasks will actually train your brain to scan the world for the positive and ultimately help you become happier.
- 3 Gratitudes – documenting 3 new gratitudes daily
- Journaling – reflecting on your positive experiences
- Exercise – training your body that behavior matters
- Meditation – allowing yourself to experience your thoughts
- Random Acts of Kindness – complete one random act of kindness daily
This fascinates me for many reasons. First, I’m in the middle of my own 21 day experiment and have noticed far more things going my way. People I regularly interact with have commented on my increased positive mood and I seem to be attracting much happier people!
Being a bit of a nerd, I researched these 5 tasks and found something we at Clarity for the Boss like to call the “do-over.”
Remember when you were a kid and you made a mistake, your parents would often ask you “What could you have done differently?” or “What did you learn from this situation?” That’s exactly what a do-over is.
When you allow your brain to revisit a situation (through meditation), and you document (journaling) new and positive learning outcomes from the situation, your brain can’t differentiate between the past misinterpreted situation that you experienced and the do-over situation that you created.
The do-over allows your brain to create new interpretations of the situation and adopt new beliefs. Then when you find yourself in a similar situation where you may have previously misinterpreted a circumstance, your brain can recognize this as a new opportunity, interpret the situation as positive (or scan for the positive) and help you become happier.
And this ladies and gentlemen is why I think happiness is awesome! This means we can actually train our brain to identify positive experiences or reframe situations to be positive, and overall become happier!
As I said, I’m in the middle of a 21-day experiment and have noticed my happiness to be much greater. And I practice the concept of do-overs all the time.
Do-overs started with personal reflection and journaling for a few minutes before bed. Although I have continued with journaling, I am in a position now where I constantly reframe situations whenever I feel myself getting angry, or not scanning for the positive.
I urge you to incorporate these very simple tasks into your daily life. Seriously! That’s what The Happy Friday Series is all about!
And what do you have to lose?
About The Author
Geoff Reiner writes at Geoff Reiner.com loves helping entrepreneurs and business owners see their business through a different lens. By asking difficult questions and providing a new perspective, he promotes personal growth and allows others to realize and unlock their full potential.