Kam Parker’s Notes on a Life Hack Ted Talk: Shawn Achor on Positive Psychology titled:
In part 1 we set the stage for you to come to terms with the idea that happiness is NOT something outside ourselves. Some will say, “I know that,” and yet in the next conversation you’ll hear, “If only I could get that promotion, then I …” It makes since to be happy about all the things we love in our life and moves us forward with passion, but thinking happiness is “out there” works against by preventing an advantage we would have if we shift our perspective.
Shawn Achor, explains, “The brain works in the opposite way.” Being “positive” gives you what is known as “The Happiness Advantage. The brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative or neutral stress” (over 30% better statistically!) This is related bio-chemically to the happiness hormone Dopamine which when increased also turns on the learning centers of the brain. Shawn and his team have developed a 21 Day program, which we have labeled “The 21 Day Happiness Challenge.” This program increases our happiness by changing our LENS, the way we perceive our world.
The 21 Day Happiness Challenge Activities
ONE: Three Gratitudes: Write down each day 3 things you are grateful for. Done for 21 Days, this causes your brain to retain a pattern where you scan the world for the positive first
TWO: Journaling: Write down each day ONE positive experience you have had in the last 24 hours. When you write about a positive experience you relive it, thus increasing the amount of positive experiences you have.
THREE: Exercise “Exercise teaches your brain that YOUR BEHAVIOR MATTERS.” (Kam’s note: Shawn did not elaborate on what exercise ~ research supports that almost any amount of movement or strength training has profound positive effects on brain function! See our post “Exercise is the Pursuit of Happiness” for more details)
FOUR: Meditation: Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once: it allows our brains to focus on the task at hand
FIVE: Random Acts of Kindness: Or Conscious Acts of Kindness ~ every day open up your email and write ONE positive email praising or thanking somebody in your social network.
By doing these activities, we train our brains to reverse the current cultural formula for success, SUCCESS = Happiness, to the true way our brains function, HAPPINESS = Success. Shawn feels this will cause ripples of positivity and create a “real revolution,” a happiness evolution! April and I have always taught that weight loss is not the goal, we advocate loving yourself and being in a state of self-awe so that exercise and nourishing food becomes a non-negotiable lifestyle focused on WELLNESS. We challenge you to pick up a journal and focus on these FIVE Brain-Changing activities for the next 21 Days. Your mind creates happiness, and your brain raises your Dopamine as a result. Today’s good news is YOU have control of your happiness. Go now and create the happiness you desire and enjoy the satisfaction of every success that follows!