Shawn Achor, author of THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE and BEFORE HAPPINESS, spent over a decade at Harvard University where he won numerous distinguished teaching awards for his work. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. In 2006, he was Head Teaching Fellow for “Positive Psychology,” the most popular course at Harvard at the time. In 2007, Shawn founded GoodThink, Inc. to share his research with a wider population. When the global economy collapsed in 2008, Shawn was immediately called in as an expert by the world’s largest banks to help restart forward progress. Subsequently, Shawn has spoken in over 50 countries to a wide variety of audiences: bankers on Wall Street, students in Dubai, CEOs in Zimbabwe. Shawn’s research on happiness and human potential have received attention from the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Forbes, CNN, and NPR.Take the 2-minute Happiness Habit Survey to receive a happiness habit recommendation!
WATCH Shawn Achor's TED Talk!
1) Send an Appreciative Email
When you open your inbox for the first time each day, take two minutes to send an email to someone in your social support network (family member, friend, teacher, coach, coworker) praising him/her or thanking that person. Studies from Harvard show this is so powerful that there is actually a correlation between happiness and social connection of 0.7, significantly higher than the correlation between smoking and cancer. Social connection can be as predictive of your longevity as high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.
2) Give Thanks Think of three things you are grateful for before you go to sleep for 21 days. We did a study on this, and at the end of the study, participants were significantly more optimistic, and further, the change wasn't temporary -- the positive mindset lasted even six months later. An added effect: Increasing your optimism can improve your productive energy by 31 percent!
3) Humor- Watching something funny can improve test taking.
4) Smile- if it’s hard to pull yourself out of a bad mood use the pen/ pencil trick to trick your brain
5) Smiling Is Contagious Through a study involving 11,000 hospital employees over six months, it was found that smiling, making eye contact and simply saying hello within 10 feet of another person increased the hospital's patient satisfaction, the doctors' job satisfaction, and the likelihood to refer the hospital to others. This is because of the way neurons function in our body, lighting up at the receipt of a friendly gesture, telling our brains to smile when someone smiles at us and spreading the joy all around.
6) Acts Of Kindness – Makes you happy and makes other people happy
7) Never Give Up On the Good Times (or focus on the good times) We all focus on the bad and are conditioned to let those moments stick with us. Instead try to make a habit out of focusing on something good that happened to you each day. By rehashing that moment it doubles the effect of the positive moment.
Take two minutes every day to write down every detail you can remember about one positive experience that occurred over the past 24 hours. As our brains can't tell much difference between visualization and actual experience, by rehashing a high point in the day you double the effect of that positive experience. Overall, this leads to greater life satisfaction and meaning. Studies have shown that women who wrote about positive experiences were 40 percent more likely to live to age 94 than their negative peers.
8) Meditate (show them how to watch their breath Take two minutes each day to stop what you're doing and watch your breath go in and out. This exercise trains your brain to do one thing at a time. Research suggests that a multitasking brain has a harder time falling asleep, is more stressed, and has lower energy. By taking time to relax the brain has a chance to undo the negative effects of trying to manage everything at once.
As part of Everyday Matters, we're following five people through personal text, video and photo journals as they learn to apply these tips in their everyday lives. To see how they are doing, comment on their journeys, to offer your own gratitude, or to access resources about positive psychology you can visit www.everydayMSmatters.org
Happiness is a choice, even in the midst of a chronic illness. By taking small steps, large goals can be accomplished, enhancing the outlook and overall well-being of those living with or affected by a life-altering disease. 9) Have Fun By adding 15 minutes of a fun, mindful activity to your day, like gardening, going on a walk or working out, your brain learns to believe that behaviors matter -- the core of optimism. In fact, in one study, researchers took people suffering from depressions and had half take an antidepressant and half do light aerobic exercise in order to train their brain to believe that their behavior matters. While there were equal drops in depression for the first few months, the group that added a habit of exercise had significantly lower chance of relapse back into depression 10 months later. Habits like the "Fun 15" help your brain record a victory, which creates a "cascade of success," where individuals start creating a constellation of positive habits around them, decreasing the likelihood for depression and despair.
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