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It’s no secret that most of us are guilty of thinking (at some time or another), “If only I could just____, then I will be happy” or “If ____would just fall into place for me. Then I could be happy.”
Conventional wisdom holds us to the theory that, if we work harder, we will be more successful. And if we are more successful, we’ll be happy.
But in reality, recent studies by happiness gurus like authors/coaches Karen Salmansohn or Shawn Achor have proven that happiness actually fuels success; not the other way around. When we are upbeat, positive and optimistic, our brains are more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive in our work and personal lives.
The dangerous thinking of, “I will be happy when my business launches” or “When my books sells a bazillion-and-one copies, I will be happy,” is a little like putting the cart before the horse. If happiness is on the opposite side of success, our brain never gets there unless some major mindset changes are made.
Whether you are a new mom or empty-nester, a veteran entrepreneur or small business newbie, “happy” seems to have become a somewhat elusive destination.
It’s like this faraway place that we want to go to, but we just can’t seem to find the right shoes to wear or proper flight to take to get there. Happy is that “thing” that seems to always be within arm’s reach, but we just.can’t.quite get our hot little mitts on it.
Here’s a news flash; “happy” is not a product, a vat of dark chocolate or the ultimate exotic vacation.
We may feel happy when we have those things in our possession, but happiness is something that we have control over and need to practice daily. It is not something we achieve “when we ____(fill in the blank).”
The reason I (Becky) bring this up is that this is the time of year we are all ready to kiss the current year goodbye and say “hello” to the new one.
Many of you (me included) are working on our To Dos/Dream List also known as New Year’s Resolutions. And I can bet that, somewhere on your list, are the words “I want to be Happy.”
So how will you get there?
Why Does Being “Happy” Matter?
So why is “happy” such a big deal?
Studies have shown that our brains function 31% better in a happiness state then when they’re in a negative, neutral or stressed state. This “Happiness Advantage” allows our energy to rise, our creativity to flourish and our intelligence to ramp up as well.
Just think; what if you and your fellow entrepreneurs operated in a happiness state all the time? Can you imagine what that could do for your business? The possibilities are endless.
Personally, I know I am at my absolute best when I feel good.
Now we know the “why” for getting happy; let’s look at how we can all get there.
5 Ways to Get Happy – A Checklist for Your Happiness Journey
1. Change your scenery: Those of us who sit behind a computer screen 8+ hours a day know the value of stopping, pushing away from the laptop, and removing ourselves from work for a bit. If your brain is feeling tired, frustrated or stuck, a change of scenery will do it wonders. Take the time every day to change your scenery by going for a long walk outside, having lunch with a friend or spending some quality time with your kids or pets.
2. Surround Yourself with Advocates of Happy: “Birds of a feather flock together,” is not just an old adage, it rings true as to the types of people we surround ourselves with. The reality is, it’s hard to hang with the negative nellies of the world and not become a smudge or clone to their behavior and thinking. Whether we are aware of it or not, the yucky or Toxic People that we surround ourselves with are instrumental in subconsciously forming our own thinking.
Unfortunately, some of the worse cases of Toxic People Syndrome can be those who are closest to us. Though you can’t disconnect from negative family members, you do have the option of steering clear of negative coworkers and friends, and filling your day with those who strive look on the bright side of life and choose happiness.
(Laura wants to add that she particularly loves the saying “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” If they are positive and happy, that rubs off onto you. If they’re negative, angry or mean, that will rub off onto you too. Choose your 5 people wisely.)
3. Be Kind to Yourself and also Practice Some Random Acts of Kindness: When was the last time you indulged in a special treat, a fabulous foot massage or a really, really good book?
When was the last time you secretly provided the opportunity for someone else to experience those perks or a special surprise in their day? Whether we anonymously buy lunch for the tired mom of two in the booth behind us, or treat ourselves to the best hour of massage ever, taking the time to do good deeds (for ourselves and others) is a powerful, invigorating and nurturing process that will undoubtedly raise our “happy.”
4. Try Journaling: By journaling we don’t mean, “And today I ate oatmeal for breakfast…and boy was it lumpy.”
By journaling we mean taking time every day to write down all that you are grateful for. Journaling acts as a written record of the positive things and events in our life and can serve as a reminder we can fall back on when the going gets tough.
Journaling is also a means of re-wiring our brains and thinking to look for (and appreciate) the positive things in our life no matter how big or small they might be.
5. Get Moving: A great strategy for improving moods and reducing stress, and one that yields a positive long-term effect that is wonderfully conducive to long-term happiness, is exercise. Like the change of scenery tip, movement and exercise are a great way to ease our stress and change our outlook on life.
Exercise, ranging from cardio or yoga and everything in between, is a great way to move your body and bring your brain to a state of happiness. Heck, even dancing is great way to find your happy! Locate an old copy of the Partridge Family’s Come on, Get Happy tune or indulge in a few rounds of Pharrell’s smash hit Happy and groove and shimmy your way to a better state of mind.
A Checklist for Your Happiness Journey | One Final Thought
I wanted to wrap up this article with some cool, cutting-edge official Happiness Checklist…but I couldn’t find one that resonated with me because we are all so different.
My version of happiness may not look like your version. So, one cookie-cutter list just isn’t going to work.
The take-away that I do have for you to guide you on your own “Happiness Journey” is this: Do the best you can and keep focusing on the awesomeness that is already in your life.
Make your own Happiness Checklist and work it like a project.
Becky is an “old-ish” mom of “young-ish” kids who thinks bacon is the world’s most perfect food. She is a veteran blogger, freelance writer, virtual assistant and project manager for the non-profit children’s literacy event, Multicultural Children’s Book Day. She is also a proud mom to her amazing 11 year-old daughter Sara and 14 year-old son Jake. Parenting a tween and a teen is a challenge, but she truly believes that being a mom is the Best.Thing.Ever. When she is not hiking (#plussizehiker), reading, selling on eBay, playing with her pets or working on a story for the various magazines she writes for, you can find her on her main blog, Franticmommy. Connect with Becky on social media: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook!