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5 Happiness Practices to Increase Levels of Joy


Feb. 16, 2015 Huffington Post

These words, spoken by Shawn Achor in 2011 at TEDxBloomington, can be life-changing. They should be life-changing.

Can you imagine a world where positivity is the focus? Where every person is out looking for the positives in each situation, rather than the sadness, shame, or negativity?

So many people look at their life’s circumstances and say, “If I only had…” Yet Achor went on to say that only 10 percent of our long-term happiness is dependent on our external world and 90 percent of our long-term happiness is dependent on the way our brains processes the world. That tells us that what we perceive to be missing from our lives is not the reason for our woes. Neither the right job, best college, degree of monetary wealth, nor social circle will make us happy. Apparently we make ourselves happy… or not.

Our levels of optimism, social support, and the ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat are the greatest predictors of job successes. Maybe it’s time to think of our entire lives as our jobs. Our jobs are filling our life-cups right to the brim so that we experience every joy and benefit there is to be had; what a wonderful thought!

How can we improve our outlooks and focus more on the positives around us? Let’s all try taking these simple steps and practicing them with consistency:

  • Each night before going to bed, write down three new things for which you are grateful. Don’t just list them in your mind, but put them down on paper where you can look back and, literally, count your blessings. Doing this for 21 days will create a habit, and your brain will start looking for more things to appreciate.
  • Start a positivity journal. Each day write about one positive experience you’ve had in the last 24 hours. As with the gratitude activity, you will soon be on the lookout for those joyful events about which to write.
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