There is real science behind the emotions of happiness and love. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, Psychologist and Neuroscience Professor at UNC, Chapel Hill said, “The ways that we feel happiness and well-being are actually showing up in the cells of our immune system and supporting our health.” What a great testimonial! Why wouldn’t we want to Make Happy a Habit?
My challenge to you is based on the work of psychologist and happiness researcher, Shawn Achor. Surprising as it sounds, he says that it is possible to re-wire your brain to be happier.
You don’t have to wear a smiley-face hat or tell funny jokes. He has shown that simply doing the following five activities daily can rewire your brain towards happiness. (I include my schedule to just give you some idea of fitting it into your day. You organize it to whenever it is convenient for you.)
1 – THINK OF THREE THINGS FOR WHICH YOU’RE GRATEFUL. I like to do this – out loud – in the morning when I get up. I encourage those around me to join in. It’s a good family tradition.
2 – WRITE ABOUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FROM THE PAST 24 HOURS. Since this is to be written, I keep a notebook on my nightstand and do it before going to sleep. Whether one sentence or several, this simple activity encourages me to comb through the day, tossing aside the negative and focusing on the positive. It’s guaranteed to make you smile.
3 – EXERCISE (AT LEAST 20 MIN) I am a morning person, so I make time before breakfast to get in my exercise. Whether it is a brisk walk, time at the gym, or climbing stairs, give yourself 20 minutes and increase your activity. I’m including four short videos of easy five-minute exercises on my website. Do all four in a day, and you’ll have your 20 minutes!
4 – MEDITATE (5-7 MIN) I find that meditating mid-afternoon works for me. No need to think mantras or posing cross-legged on the carpet. The simplest meditation can be sitting quietly listening to soothing music (no words) – and focusing on either the music, your breathing, or a body scan from head toe. If you want some guidance, I like the free app HEADSPACE, which you can use with your earphones while sitting at your desk. Meditation calms and centers, helping you focus and better handle whatever comes your way.
5 – PERFORM ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS. All day every day is a good time for a random act of kindness. Performing a selfless act that helps, compliments, or encourages someone has an amazing effect on all involved. You’ll enjoy every minute. To help get you started, I’ll post of list of suggestions on my website.
YOU CAN DO THIS! In fact, YOU CAN GET YOUR KIDS TO DO THIS!!! Encourage everyone around you to get involved, and you’ll reap the benefits.
Check out my Instagram for 30 days of inspiration for your 30-day MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! Challenge on social media. You keep count of your 30 days.
Share your progress … Post some pictures of what you are grateful for and what makes you happy. I want to know how your random acts of kindness and writing about your positive experiences made you feel. Tell me about your time in meditation. And be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.
Good luck! And get your camera ready – you’ll be finding yourself smiling a lot more. - Loretta
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