GOOD MORNING MONDAY – AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Good Morning. It is Monday! Relish today. Be awake and ready for all the experiences that you will encounter this day. Prepare your psyche for wonder; something great happens every single day! Be mindful of the thoughts you think and the words you speak; for as you think, so shall you become. Your thoughts and words define who you are and prime your brain for your insights, reactions and responses to the day. One of Thich Nhat Hanh’s quotes that illustrates the power of words is, “Words can travel thousands of miles. May my words create mutual understanding and love; may they be as beautiful as gems and as lovely as flowers.” Today and every day mind your words. Engage in and experience the bloom of each moment as it unfolds. Love the journey. Don’t spend time worrying about the end.Live in the “Here and Now”! 😊
Last week we talked about happiness and the work environment. Happiness not only matters at work, but also matters for you, personally. This week I want to talk about what you can do to increase your personal happiness factor. A critical and important path to your personal happiness is taking responsibility for your happiness; realizing that you can be happy despite others’ behaviors and your personal circumstances. Happiness depends on YOU more than on your external circumstances.
Let’s revisit Martin Seligman’s (pioneer of positive psychology) definition of happiness. He breaks happiness into 3 components: pleasure, engagement and meaning. His studies confirmed that people who pursue only the “pleasure” part of happiness receive only a part of what happiness can bring. But, those who pursue all three lead the fullest lives. Happiness is not a stable, unchangeable trait, but is something that is flexible; something that you can work on and strive toward.
An important factor that contributes to your happiness is your brain. Whether your brain is in apositive mode, versus a negative, neutral or stressed mode is key, gives you an enormous advantage and influences your mind to embrace more happiness through your daily actions. Your brain works significantly better at positive vs. negative, neutral or stressed. Every outcome improves when you start at “positive”. When your brain is primed with positive, your thinking broadens, you are more open, creative and innovative. When your brain is primed with negative, your thinking is skewed and narrow. Contemplate for a moment the messages your brain receives daily from your surroundings, stories from your smart phone, the news, etc. Studies show that after only 3 minutes of watching negative news stories, people surveyed 8 hours later had a 27% more likelihood of reporting their “worst day”. Think about that! After only 3 minutes of negative information each morning, the way your brain processes all inputs can be skewed toward the negative for the rest of the day. This should make each of us take PAUSE and think about the significant impact that our environment has on the way our brain processes the world around us. Remember - the way our brain processes the world around us impacts our happiness. We need to be much more thoughtful and scrutinize the environments we create for ourselves, choose to interact with and reside in!
Happiness fuels your success. When you are positive, your brain becomes more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient and productive. This has been borne out by research in psychology, neuroscience and management studies. Shawn Achor, one of the world’s leading experts on happiness and success, spends much of his time lecturing on how to reprogram your brain to become more positive so that you can gain a competitive advantage and create more success, happiness and reward in your life. He states that the three greatest predictors of happiness are:
optimism (the belief your behavior will matter),
social connections, and
how you perceive stress (as a challenge or a threat).
To raise your happiness level, you need to make both mindset and behavior shifts.
In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor shares key steps you can take each day to increase your experience of happiness. They are:
Gratitude - each day write down three NEW things for which you are grateful, (retrains your brain to scan first for positive vs. negative),
Journal for two minutes about a positive experience you have had, (your brain relives the positive experience)
Exercise: Engage in mindful cardio activity (trains the brain that behavior matters)
Meditate: Watch your breath go in and out for two minutes, (trains the brain to focus on the current task vs. multi-tasking) and
Engage in random, conscious acts of kindness: i.e., as a first act of day, write a positive email to a friend or colleague thanking them for something; compliment someone; hold the door for someone, etc.- below is a link sharing an amazing story of kindness and the transformation that happens when you really “see” somebody 😊
Achor states that if you pick and practice any one of the above steps for 21 days, you will begin to see a lasting shift in mindset toward more positivity and thus, experience more happiness in your life. You will begin to rewire your brain to work more optimistically and successfully; causing lasting change in your life.
YOU can make CONSCIOUS decisions to change your actions. These changes do not have to take an insurmountable amount of time, and they will have a significant, lasting effect on your mindset, habits and happiness. Happiness does not have to be elusive.Leading a happier life enables you to grow, experience more positive emotions, find more meaning and purpose in your life, as well as reach your full potential. Happiness is within YOUR grasp!
Have a GREAT week. Take Care 😊