As a wellness consultant, meditation teacher, and therapist I find that I am often teaching and talking to clients about how to be happy and take in the positive.
Did you know that our brain has a natural negative bias? Rick Hanson, Ph.d a psychologist and meditation teacher illustrates this in his book the “Buddhas Brain”. Even though we typically lean to the negative we can offset these normal negative and judgmental thoughts, by taking in the good and the positive.
In my draw to happiness, I recently finished the book the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It was a fun read and gave some insight into the authors own search in how to be more happy in her life over a years time. This book inspired to understand my own happiness rituals.
I have often been told I am very positive and optimistic. One of my graduate school mentors told me I had a big hardiness factor and would comment, “Carley you seem to be able to make the sweetest lemonade out of sour lemons.” I guess this tool and inclination has come in handy in my life and honestly makes my life a little happier too.
So I asked myself what are some of the things I do for my own happiness? I try to surround myself with happy and optimistic people. I recently have developed friendships with a husband and wife in my neighborhood who are amazing and happy people and have created a nutrition bar that is called,“Can DO!” How positive is that? I also try and read about things that inspire me and thus make me happy. About 6 months ago, I started reading and subscribing to a magazine called Ode. Guess what their subtitle is? For Intelligent Optimists. Amazing! I really enjoy this magazine because it talks about all the good things happening in the world and how people are trying to make our world a better place. I also meditate, eat well, exercise, and spend time in nature daily (even if its just a 5 minute walk in the sun).
In addition to some of the things I do for my own happiness quotient I have blended some of the latest research and recommendations on happiness from Shawn Achor, Harvard Psychologist and happiness expert and Rick Hanson.For habits to stick, you have to practice them right? Lets do a Happiness Challenge together. Make time for these simple 5 tips for 21 days and then see how you feel. If you don’t feel happier, then call or email and I would be happy to support you with more tools.
Five Activities to Improve HappinessGratitude Journal.
Write down 3 things that you are grateful for everyday. They must be new things that occurred in the last 24 hours and they must be specific. For example: Just saying I had a good day at work isn’t enough. Instead, how was the day at work good? Oh, thats right I got some great feedback on my performance from a co-worker. Once you have down this for a few weeks, you can scroll through the list
Internalize the Positive.
There are good things happening all around us, but we seldom allow ourselves to take them in. For example, Someone is nice to you, a flower is blooming, or you do really well on a task at work. Once you have opened up to this positive experience, savor it for 10-20 seconds. Allow yourself to take it into your mind and body by focusing on body awareness and emotions. For example: Allow yourself to take in the feeling of happiness and warmth when you are giving or receiving a hug, this can help to intensify this experience and store it further in your memory.
It has been reported that those that exercise consistently create more natural serotonin than those who don’t. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happier. When people were studied who suffered with depression, those who exercised instead of taking an anti-depressant had equal drops in depression, but had 30% fewer relapses after the initital 6 months. Wow!Meditation.
Helps you single task, which has so many benefits such as: focused concentration, calm mood, ability to tune into a challenge or even your ability to attune to those you are around. If you are more attuned to your life and the people around you, you are probably enjoying your life more. Meditation= HappinessSend random acts of kindness.
You can hold the door open for a stranger, send nice emails to friends or family, pay for someones bus or train fare, pay a compliment to a total stranger, or tell friends, family, or a loved one that you love and appreciate them.
Twenty one days later your brain can feel so much more gratitude and appreciation for what you have and the positive person you are becoming even when life doesn’t always feel so rosy.
We can do it together, Come ON! Day 111/24/11Gratitude Journal
Its Thanksgiving and I am grateful for all the wonderful family I am surrounded by.
I am thankful for getting to go outside and run in the beautiful countryside of New Hampshire
I am thankful for the precious time with my one year old nephew who just makes everyone smile.
Internalize the Positive
While being with my family today, I internalized all the feelings of warmth, love, and gratitude for the time to be together.
I ran for an hour outside and enjoyed the brisk cold air, quiet, and autumn colored leaves.
I spent 10 minutes sitting this morning.
Send Random Acts of Kindness
Today, I sent texts to friends telling them I was thankful for their friendship and love.
As one of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area (Cafe Gratitude) states,“What are you grateful for?”www.intuitivelywell.com