Dr. Peggy Marshall
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Happiness

Happiness
by Dr. Peggy Marshall

“Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it’s the realization that we can”   -Shawn Achor

Peggy MarshallLast month we focused on changing our perspectives on mistakes, obstacles, and  disappointments.  This month I want to focus on Happiness Boosters.  But first, let’s talk about happiness.  In Shawn Achor’s book, “The Happiness Advantage”, he reveals a  different view of happiness from what we have been taught to believe.  Happiness actually comes before success.  Yes, that’s right-countless studies with thousands of people have proven this point.  Working hard and achieving success actually comes after we find happiness.  Optimism and happiness are fuels for success.  How does Achor define success “The joy we feel striving for our potential”.  So the question for readers is “Do you want to be happier….do you want more joy in your life?”  I think we all could say that increasing our happiness quotient could definitely make our lives better.

Once again, this becomes a paradigm shift-happiness precedes success.  A second paradigm shift is that there are definitely actions we can take to increase our own  happiness!  Achor call these happiness boosters.  The first happiness booster is exercise.  Exercise releases chemicals into our bloodstream that increase our feelings of pleasure.  It also helps us to control and/or deal with the stressors in our life. A further benefit is that exercise improves our motivation and feelings of mastery and helps us to get in the “flow”-that feeling of being fully engaged in what we do.

A second happiness booster is random acts of kindness.  Research has shown that the
effects of acts of kindness can last far longer than the moment when they are delivered! These acts of kindness don’t have to be huge gestures; think about the simple things that we can give to one another such as holding a door, giving someone our undivided  attention, or offering to help with a task.

Another happiness booster is infusing your environment with positivity.  What does your office ook like?  Does the environment you reate in your home give you an “awe” feeling or is it just a place to ive?  Are there areas that you live in hat you can create greater feelings of positivity?  Some people put inspirational sayings in ooms they spend the most time in.

Pictures of family and places visited can also be placed in view to reate a more inspirational feeling. Don’t forget the outside of your environment.  One research study found that people who alked outside for just 20 minutes reaped the benefits of an uplifted mood, roadened thinking and improved working memory.  ard to pass up being outside on a great day!  While we are reviewing the positive aspects of infusing your environment make sure to keep as much of the negative out as possible.  Distance yourself from energy drainers that creep into your life and zap your positive energy.

Meditation is also a great way to boost happiness.  Research on meditation demonstrates that after meditation we experience a slower heart rate, a reduction in anxiety,
deeper levels of relaxation and increases in serotonin-the positive mood influencers.  If meditation is so wonderful, why don’t more people do it?
There are many different styles and methods for meditation and you will need to find the one that suits you best.  My best advice- check the web, talk with others who meditate, find a CD that you enjoy or find a class in your neighborhood to find out what works most
effectively for you.

A final happiness booster is to exercise a signature strength.  Achor tells us that it is even
more fulfilling to exercise a character strength-one that contributes to our own flourishing.  The website www.viasurvey.org provides a free survey if you want to discover and explore your own signature strengths.  Even without the survey, we
know what we are good at and when we do those things we experience a burst of
positivity.

When we take control of our own happiness, we reap the benefits of that action in becoming more positive.  Positive people set more goals and put more effort into those goals.  They stay more engaged in the face of adversity and are able to rise above life’s challenges more easily. Give yourself a competitive edge by taking charge of your own
happiness.

To Your Success,

Dr. Peggy