I believe that happiness is a choice.
And I believe it’s not external stuff that makes you happier.
I think it’s something you gotta find in any situation.
Every day I see people who have it all. They’ve got healthy kids. They can easily pay their bills. They are attractive and in shape and talented.
But still, they are unhappy.
You’d think all that external stuff would make them happy!
So clearly, it’s not what you have but how you view things that (mostly) determines your level of happiness.
I’ve been working on this happiness thing for a while now.
Because who doesn’t want to be happy?
I know I do.
And choosing and practicing (more) happiness is a big goal of mine for 2018.
I think my willingness and desire to change the quality of my life, especially recently, is being received by the Universe.
Because very often now, out of nowhere, the most fitting message is delivered to me at just the right time.
A lot of them come through Oprah and her podcast.
The most recent episode I’ve listened to is Shawn Achor and The Secrets of Happy People.
I’ve listened to it a few times. Because there is so much good stuff in it.
In this episode, he goes through the recipe for happines hygeine — the practices that help people practice and choose happiness.
There are a few of them. Two big ones are ones exercise and writing down three things you are grateful for every morning!
HA! Exercise and Gratitude!!! Those are my things, Man!
So here is another one. A new practice I love. And the one I want to share with you because if only we all did this !!!
I think we can.
I’m at least going to do my part to make it happen.
We know this works. Because we all do this, or make more of an effort to do these things at this time of year. You know, during the Christmas holiday.
We practice random acts of kindness. We do nice things for people. And doing nice things for other people doesn’t just make us happy. It makes the other person happy.
And when you make the other person happy, then they want to make someone else happy.
And it spreads!
Because just as complaining and negativity is contagious, so is the good stuff.
So according to Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher who appeared on The Secrets of Happy People episode in Oprah’s podcast, happiness is a choice. (Being happier also makes you more successful, and who doesn’t want that?)
On another note which I’ll get back to in a minute, according to Achor’s research, social connection is as predictive of how long we’ll end up living as obesity, high blood pressure and smoking.
And one of the things he said that I think is so important is that “We fight so hard against the negative, but we forget to tell people how powerful a two minute positive [habit] can be.”
So what’s the habit?
Write a two minute email/message/text, praising or thanking one person you know.
Send a nice note to a different person for 21 days. Just a couple sentences.
Not only will you be spreading happiness to someone else every day, but 21 days later, you have “incredibly deeper social support” because of this two minute investment.
And as mentioned earlier, social connection is as predictive of how long we’ll end up living as obesity, high blood pressure and smoking.
We are three days away from the new year. A time when so many people make resolutions and want to make positive changes in their lives.
Here is something I know about resolutions. They don’t often hold up.
But habits do. Small, manageable habits.
Two minutes is a manageable amount of time.
What if, starting on Monday (even better, start two days earlier and do this tomorrow), you wrote a quick note to someone thanking them or complimenting them or telling them what you appreciate about them?
And then you did it again the next day. And the next day?
You know what might happen?
You might not just increase your level of happiness. You’d likely increase other peoples’ level of happiness, too.
When we choose happiness it makes it easier for other people to choose happiness.
And then you’ve got a big, rolling snowball of happiness that’s just getting bigger and bigger.
I don’t know about you, but right after I write down three things I’m grateful for tomorrow morning, I’m sending someone a note.
Be on the lookout! Because I might be sending it to you 😀