1. You are as happy as you want to be, from Positive Psychology

{This is the first installment from
Become Today’s Leader: Three life changing facts from positive psychology}

One of the most important findings in Positive Psychology is that we are completely in charge of our well-being, and that knowing what our natural emotional set point is, and what can move the needle to put us into a flourishing state, can alter the course of our day, as well as our lives.    It is hard to overstate the importance of being proactive about this aspect of how we live our lives, and what can happen to you as a result, particularly when it comes to goals, friendships and feeling like your life has purpose and meaning.  

FINDING #1:  You can and should create your own happiness instead of waiting for happiness to happen to you.  Some of the most exciting research has been around the heritability of well-being, and the fact that although half of our daily happiness is genetically determined, almost half of it is completely due to what we think about and do on a daily basis.

What that means on a practical level is that if we want to flourish – which has been found to enhance and even precede goal accomplishment, health, relationship quality, longevity and life satisfaction – we need to establish patterns of behavior and thought that reliably shift us from negative to positive emotional states, or even from positive to more positive!  It’s even been found that we should experience at least 3 positive events for every one negative, if we want to tip ourselves towards thriving and avoid what researchers have called “languishing.”

Following are some of the most-studied and validated “positive interventions” that we can and should explore if we need a well-being boost, which 80% of people have been found to need.  Find the mixture and dose of these and other proven experiences that bring out your best self:

  • Gratitude.  People who express gratitude for their blessings, scan the world for opportunities to say “thank you” and see themselves as fortunate people, are happier, experience less chronic pain, and have stronger relationships with others than those who are always noticing what they don’t have.  Try writing down three things that happened to you at the end of every day, and WHY they happened to you.  You’ll quickly find that you often put something into the world that is positive and proactive, and that is what brings you the events for which you are grateful.

  • Journaling. By writing your experiences, both positive and negative, you can “make meaning” of your life, and even prolong and relive the good times so that you can savor them in the future.  It’s even been found that blogging ups well-being when you express yourself and get validated by others with their approval or feedback.

  • Physical exercise.  Although there has been anecdotal evidence of a “runner’s high” for decades, research now backs up the finding that exercise – and particularly short periods of high-interval exercise – boosts mood and amplifies feelings of mastery and empowerment.

  • Pursuing valued goals.  When we make progress on goals that are close to our heart, and that we have set for ourselves without pressure from others, we experience greater happiness and fulfillment.  A large study in Europe even found that the happiest people wake up every day to clear-cut goals, both short-term and long-term, and that these goals are often well outside their comfort zones (and they don’t make excuses when they fall short).

  • Give to others.  Behaving in altruistic ways results in the “helper’s high,” and also provides the giver with more joy than what the receiver feels!  Giving takes many forms such as donating time to valuable causes, spending as little as $5 a day on others, and performing a random act of kindness.  Some research has found that we can get stale or “adapt” to our generous behaviors so we might want to change our altruism from time to time for the greatest benefit.

NEXT WEEK:  People Matter More Than You Know.
PREVIOUS WEEK:
Become Today’s Leader: Three life changing facts from positive psychology

Caronline Adams MillerCaroline Adams Miller
Certified Professional Coach (Happiness and Goal Attainment), Best-selling Author (“Feeding the Soul”, “Bright Words for Dark Days”and “Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide”, Media Personality, Keynote Speaker & Teacher.
Learn more, visit http://www.carolinemiller.com/

{The Marketing Boutique is dedicated to bringing you articles written by some of the leading marketing practitioners and leadership coaches.}

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