For a long time, people thought that the sun revolved around the earth. They were not to blame. It does seem to the naked eye that the sun is revolving around the earth. But then it was found that the earth revolved around the sun. This was a dramatic, fundamental shift in the way we viewed reality.
Similarly, we think that happiness revolves around success. Success is the center. This means that only if we are successful, we will be happy. But is this really true?
To answer this question, we have to ask: What is happiness?
There are many answers to this question. In a practical sense, happiness has three components.
- Pleasure: positive mood in the present
- Engagement: being involved in the actions we do every day
- Meaning: having a purpose and meaning about why we do things and why we live
There a lot of scientific studies which have come to the following conclusions:
- Happiness causes success and achievement, not the other way around.
- Happiness makes us more thoughtful, creative and open to new ideas. They make us see out-of-the-box solutions, spot opportunities and help us build upon the ideas of others.
- Happiness influences these things from a very young age, probably from birth.
- Happiness makes us reach the right solution faster and help us avoid anchoring(not letting go of an initial view-point).
- Happiness also provides a quick and powerful antidote to stress and anxiety, which in turn improves our focus and ability to act at our best level.
So it is worthwhile to do things that improve our moods in a positive way and raise the level of happiness.
Some things that we can do are:( if something else gives you a better mood and happiness, do that )
- Meditation: Meditation increases the size of the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of our brain that is most responsible for feeling happy. Even 5 minutes each day being aware of your breath is helpful to raise happiness, lower stress and improve immune function.
- Find something to look forward to: Think about things you are going to do in the future which will give happiness.
- Commit conscious acts of kindness: Doing one conscious act of kindness or altruism every day can make us happy. Or choose one day a week and do five conscious acts of kindness.
- Infuse positivity into your surroundings: Flank your computers with pictures of loved ones. Make time to go outside on a nice day. Watch less TV, and less negative TV. Exercise for 45 minutes three times a week.
- Spend money(but not on stuff): Spend money on experiences especially with other people, like concerts and group dinners. Spend money on others and not on yourself.
- Exercise a signature strength: Doing something you are good at gives you happiness. You can find out what your signature strengths are by going to this website. Try to include at least one of them into your life each day.
- For people who lead: Encourage the above in your team members. Provide frequent recognition and encouragement. Adopt a positive tone and facial expression. The Losada Line states that the ratio of positive to negative interactions to make a team successful is 3:1. So increase the positive interactions in your team.
So to create lasting change, it is necessary to be in a positive mood and happy and you can do that by doing some simple things we have discussed in this post.