Most of us grew up to believe the following formula:
Great Work -->Big Success --> Be Happy
The problem with this formula is that it doesn't work out that way in real life. We do great work, we have big successes, but instead of being happy we set new goals. We continue to strive to improve because each new success is never enough. We never get to happiness because it gets pushed further and further away. What if we changed the formula:
Be Happy --> Great Work --> Big Success
Now everything changes. If you work to be happy first, all the rest of the pieces fall into place.
For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. --William Shakespeare
The Big 7 ways to be happy right now
- Three walks - People who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active. Half an hour of brisk walking three times a week improves happiness.
- The 20-minute replay - Writing for twenty minutes about a positive experience dramatically improves happiness. You relive the experience as you're writing it and then you relive it every time you read it. Your brain sends you back.
- Random acts of kindness - Carrying out five random acts of kindness a week dramatically improves your happiness. Scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise that was tested.
- A complete unplug - The richest, happiest, and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal. This means complete downtime.
- Hit flow - When you are completely absorbed with what you're doing, it means you're being challenged and demonstrating skill at the same time. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one.
- 2-minute meditations - Research shows that meditation for as little as two minutes per day grows parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness and shrinks parts of the brain associated with stress.
- Five gratitudes - If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy. Practice gratitude on a daily or weekly basis, and write down 3-5 things you're grateful for.
Just like driving a car, throwing a football, or doing a cartwheel, you can learn to be happier.
Be happy first.
--Except from The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha