As a society, we’ve taught ourselves that if we’re successful, we’ll then be happy. But with each success, we then place the goal post out farther: I need a better job, better living arrangements, better car, better… whatever. And then we can never be happy, because we never get there. But now science has figured out how to turn that around. From a field called Positive Psychology, I bring you, The Happiness Project.
Based on the work of Harvard Psychologist, Shawn Achor, (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html or see the video below) The Happiness Project is about using the latest methods of neuroplasticity to train our brains how to be happier.
There are daily exercises, as well as individual projects we’re going to go over that you can do at home, all geared towards making a happier you in a month (though you can continue to participate longer if you wish!).
The Happiness Advantage details out how to take this journey into transforming our minds on seeing the positive, and the opportunities available to us. We can use this event to help each other, because building up new patterns of behavior (like eating well) is easier with moral support!
So this is a no-pressure event. If you miss an assignment, don’t worry, just try again the next day. See how much you can do, and if it helps you feel better about your life. I want to keep this fun and low pressure. This is about happiness after all!
Here’s the Happiness Project:
1. Say three good things that happened to you that day. Shawn alternates in the book between calling this “Three Good Things,” and “three things for which we’re grateful for,” that day. Either one works. Do this every day, posting at the event, your timeline, or in a paper journal.
2. Blog or paper journal about one positive experience, past or present. Write for 20 minutes, three times a week. If you blog, share links here to spread the positive story goodness!
3. Meditate for 5 minutes, every day; just concentrate on breathing in and out. Meditate on something positive (real or imagined beach vacation) for 20 minutes, 3 times a week.
4. Exercise. (They say 45 minutes 3x/week, but if you have heath issues, be sure to go over any exercise plan with your doctor first.)
5. Do 5 conscious acts of kindness. This can include publicly showing your appreciation for someone else’s hard work, paying $3 towards lunch of the stranger behind you in the drive thru, calling up customer service just to say everything is working and that you like your products, letting someone go ahead of you in the grocery check-out line, picking up 5 pices of trash in a public park, whatever…
Studies have shown that we need 4 positive to counteract every 1 negative. That means, for every awful story of despair on the news, you need four positive stories to balance out. For each negative comment you hear about yourself, you need to hear 4 positive comments to come back up. So, post things that help you with your positivity here, and that will help someone else have a positive story for their day! (Feel free to post anything that restores your faith in humanity, here. That could even count as one of your conscious acts of kindness!)
I’ll also be posting other fun, uplifting, positive projects that they mention in the book, like: How to give your job meaning, even if your a janitor! How to have happy dreams about the future. How to help make those happy future dreams a reality. All sorts of goodness!
Anyone is welcome to join any time…. Stay for 30 days or stay for more!
Since some people have been eager to start,
Today I began the Three Good Things part of the exercises.
Here’s the format. I’ll make a daily “Three Good Things!” post some time in the afternoon. Remember, though, that it’s good to wait towards the end of our day before sharing. When you’re ready, reply to my post with your three good things that happened to you that day, or three things you’re grateful for that day.
It’s the act of remembering our day, and looking for the good things, and drawing those memories that is a big part of this. But sharing with others is also an important part.
In the book, it mentions how one powerful executive in China decided to share his Three Good Things with his family at dinner each night. Each member of the family participated, too. When the project was over, he didn’t want to keep doing it. (In the book it explains why…) But his children then refused to eat dinner until they did the Three Good Things exercise.
It’s not just what happens to us that’s important. It’s that we share it with others, too. This is what brings people together. When we share about good things, everyone’s experience of goodness grows. We can actually experience the other person’s happiness when they share, because we are then reminded of similar events of happiness in our own lives (or we can imagine such events and experience the happiness that way). Happiness magnifies happiness.
When you’re ready, BEGIN! ^_^