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  • Writer's pictureIsabelle

5 keys to Happiness

Hi my friend,

as promised, I will summarize what Shawn Achor had to say about happiness in his famous TED talk.

You might have heard this saying in different ways:

Change the lens-change the outcome
When you change the way you look at things-the things you look at change

Shawn Achor is an author, speaker and advocate of positive psychology.

Part of his research brought him to Harvard University. What does a Harvard student have to be unhappy about, he wondered. They made it to Harvard after all. Well this thinking assumes that your external world predicts your level of happiness.

In reality the external factors only predict 10% of our happiness. 90% is interpreted by the way our brain processes the world.

He advises people who score on the low to moderate level of happiness to do one small one second behavior change. For example: The staff in a hospital decided to smile in the hallway. Small change, right? It impacted the whole floor , both patients and staff.

For people who scored higher on the pessimistic side, they were able to move up to a low level of optimism by writing down three things they were grateful each day.

If they scored moderately happy, they were asked to do a small random act of kindness.

Often people say " That's who I am." " I am ....." fill in the blank. You can change that.

Shawn describes the work philosophy we have in our culture, as seen in schools and companies,as follows:

work harder--- you'll be more successful--- you'll be happier

That's how we motivate behavior , as teachers, employers, even as parents.

He says that's backwards. When we get the grades, we strive for better grades. When we have success , we crave more success. If happiness is on the other side of success , we never get there.

Our brains actually work in the opposite order.

Which means we need to train ourselves to be happy in the present moment. We need to raise the level of happiness in the present moment. Shawn calls this the

happiness advantage !!

,When your brain is in the positive it performs so much better then when it is in a negative , neutral or stressed state.

The positivity advantage fuels creativity, intelligence and raises productivity by 31%.

When we feel happy, our bodies produce dopamine , which floods our system and

1) helps us feel better

2) turns on all learning centers.

He encourages us to train our brain to be more positive for 2 minutes a day for 21 days.

Here are the 5 keys ( based on all his research)

  1. ) 3 gratitudes ------ find 3 new things to be grateful for each day , it creates a new way to scan the world for positive things

  2. ) journaling ------ write 1 positive experience you had in the last 24 hours, this way your brain relives it

  3. ) exercise ----- this tells your brain that your behavior matters

  4. ) meditation -----it helps us to focus on the task at hand , the present moment

  5. ) random acts of kindness -----praise or thank someone in written or verbal form

Wanna try? Let's all create ripples of positivity.

Go ahead and watch the whole TED talk , where you will also learn about his sister, the unicorn :)

Next week we will talk about some practical ways these 5 keys impact our relationships! Stay tuned.

Let me close with a quote by Shawn Achor:

"Habits are like financial capital-forming one today is an investment that will automatically give out returns for years to come."

You are loved. Deeply loved. Loved beyond measure.


Call or write me for a free lens shifting session. Can't wait to hear from you.

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