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!