PERFECT Morning Everybody!
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am currently at the National Wellness Conference in Florida which has been full of positive energy and inspiration all week! Today, I want to talk about a topic I sat in on pertaining to what Happiness does to your brain AND why YOU should care!
All our lives, we have been told that if we work hard, we will become successful. Then, once we become successful, we will finally be happy! In other words, success first, happiness second. BUT, recent research has flipped this notion around and has proven that in order to achieve true “success”, we must be happy first.
First, some stats about Unhappiness. Research shows that stress is as bad for your heart as smoking and high cholesterol! The majority of Americans are living with moderate or high levels of stress, and while they understand that this is not healthy, they are stymied in their efforts to make changes! Stress interferes with mental processes such as memory, concentration, judgments, and decision making! Depression rates are 10 times higher than they were in 1960. 50 years ago, the average onset age of depression was 29.5 years old, by 2010, it was 14.5 years old!
Now, some stats on Happiness. Happiness has a dramatically positive impact on our lives! Happy workers have higher levels of productivity; produce better work output; perform better in leadership positions; receive higher performance ratings and higher pay; enjoy more job security; are less likely to take sick days; are less likely to quit; and are less likely to become burned out. What’s more, happy CEOs are more likely to lead teams who are both happy and healthy!
Positive emotions make us more thoughtful, creative and open to new ideas. Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine, serotonin and DHEA which turn on the learning centers in the brain! Positive emotions help us organize new information, keep info in the brain longer, and retrieve it faster! We literally see more of what’s around us when we are happy – our positive moods expand our peripheral vision!
Positive emotions also result in increased cognitive flexibility, improved memory, improved decision making, increased creativity, innovative problem solving and improved job performance and achievement.
So… How do we turn that frown, UPSIDE DOWN?! Follow these 5 simple steps for 21 consecutive days and experience some or ALL of the benefits explained above:
- Positive 1-2 sentence e-mail/text: Set a daily reminder in your phone to text or call somebody in your life and let that individual know that you are grateful for him/her. Keep it short (1-2 sentences), sweet, and heart felt.
- Write down 3 specific things you are grateful for: Immediately upon waking up, resist the urge to grab for your phone, check e-mails, scroll through Facebook, or check your CNN alerts! Rather, grab for a pen and paper and jot down 3 specific things you are grateful for! The practice of gratitude quite literally re-wires your brain chemistry to search for the positive in your life
- 10 & 5 (eye contact; smile, “hello”): If you come within 10 feet of somebody, smile. If you come within 5 feet, say hello. SIMPLE, yet EFFECTIVE!
- Catch someone doing well, tell them! Humans LOVE to be acknowledged. It increases motivation and makes us feel good, AND it will make YOU feel good when awarding the compliment.
- Follow your breath for 2 minutes! Following the breath gets us out of our thinking brain and into our feeling brain. It transports us out of our chaotic cranium and into the present moment!
Enjoy what comes of today!