In today’s modern, fast-paced world, it seems like everyone is chasing happiness as though it is an elusive and somewhat abstract achievement that can only be obtained after financial success and other material or professional milestones are met. Or maybe you think happiness is a luxury that doesn’t affect your life in any concrete way, other than how you are feeling. Shawn Achor, the head of the Goodthink research company and the author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness, says that happiness actually affects a lot more than simply our mood. In a recent article published in The Washington Post, Achor said the following.
“Happiness is such an incredible advantage in our life. When the human brain is positive, our intelligence rises; we stop diverting resources to think about anxiety.
Our creativity triples. Productive energy rises by 31 percent. The likelihood of promotion rises by 40 percent. Sales rise by 37 percent. These figures are all from studies we’ve done.”
In the published interview, Achor goes on to list several easily incorporated daily habits that have been shown through research to increase happiness. These include noting 3 new things you’re grateful for (he recommends doing this for 21 days in a row), acts of kindness such as an email or text message showing appreciation or giving praise, and finally, breathing or meditation that involves following your breath for a few minutes at a time.
Even done while sitting at your desk, Achor says that “This raises accuracy rates, improves levels of happiness, drops stress levels.”
To try this out for yourself and achieve the benefits of a quick mindfulness meditation, simply pause whatever you are doing and take a seat, if not already seated. Place both feet firmly on the ground to give yourself a sense of rooting down and grounding your body and mind. You may want to close your eyes if this feels comfortable for you. As you exhale let go of any tension in the body or mind and bring your awareness to the sensation of the air moving in and out through your nostrils as you breathe. Continue for 2-5 minutes and proceed with your day.
Read the full article entitled To achieve happiness: 5 habits, 2 minutes here.