Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happiness is the key to success?

So I'm on my "lunch break" (btw Trader Joe's has the best ready-made soups in the world!) and I thought I'd quickly talk about something I saw on the Today show this morning. Two women were on the show - happiness experts (ya they actually exist) and they were basically saying that happiness is the key to success as opposed to the more acclaimed reversed version.

I haven't completely made up my mind about the psychology of satisfaction or positive psychology (therapy focused on increasing people's pleasure, satisfaction, and joy in life) but from what I heard this morning - the ideas didn't sound too bad.

Apparently we all have a happiness set point. 50% genetic 10% circumstantial and 40% habits of thoughts and behavior that we have complete control over.

So how can we control the 40%??

1. Positive memory:
pay particularly close attention to the good stuff. Take a picture or write it down, so you can revisit when you're feeling "off".

2. Express gratitude - write down 5 things that you're grateful for. When I watch international news at night, I realize how lucky I am to be living the life I have and all the things I complain about seem so trivial.

3. Wish others well (but mean it) - appreciate yourself and others. I don't think we compliment each other enough. Now I'm not saying go around telling lies "oh you got a haircut, it's looks awesome" (even if it looks like she blindfolded herself while using a lefty pair of kid-friendly scissors!) But if you notice someone at the gym wearing a killer outfit, let her know! Say thank you or have a nice day to the bus driver that takes you to work every morning. Unfortunately we have a tendency to remember the criticisms more than the praises - so keep those praises coming and maybe someday the 10 praises will outweigh that one criticism.

4. Surround yourself with positive people - we catch emotions like we catch colds. I completely agree with this 100%. If you hang out with miserable people all day - you're going to be miserable. We're supposedly an average of the 5 people we hang out with the most! So I guess mom was right - choose your friends wisely!

other interesting bits from the segment:
*80% of our thoughts are negative and we seem to focus on that
*we have a misconception that having more money or stuff will make us happier. There was a study that showed that about 40% of the folks on Forbes' wealthy list were more depressed than the average American.

.... well, I'm not too sure about that last tidbit. I don't think I would be too depressed sitting on the beach for the rest of my life!


Zandra said...

Thanks, I needed that...
Going to come back from vacation a new woman...let's cross our fingers! HAHA!!


You'll certainly be tanned goddess when you get back, so I'm guessing someone is going to be a lot happier in one weeks time!

Ces said...

this is so true! Happiness is one thing...joyful is another... explore!!!
we do have choices in life...Being and staying happy is a good one!

Luis said...

Hi Burdy!
This was some great insight. I was fortunate enough to learn some of these lessons during my European trip a few years ago. The funny thing is that i learned most of these things through observing others during my travels, particularly the locals in Madrid, Barcelona, Prague and Italy (other cities...not so much). They just seemed so happy and got such joy out of the details in life - the stuff people often overlook. I am going to forward this to a bunch of my friends, so monitor the hits on this particular page and report back. ;-)


Hi Luis - thanks for sharing your story! And for passing it along to your friends!

pve design said...

Reading "Fearless" which is also a great book to bring on positive energy. Attitude Gratitude.
Lovely and Inspiring!