Shawn Achor, a leading researcher in the field of positive psychology, spent more than a decade at Harvard University trying to figure out what makes people happy. He outlines his findings in a TEDx talk (click on the image below). His 12-minute talk, which is among the top 20 most viewed TED talks, is worth watching, as Achor is a captivating and funny presenter. However, if you don’t have time to watch the whole piece, tune in at about the 10-minute mark and you’ll catch his practical tips for becoming a more positive person (or you can keep reading for a summary).
In Western society, we think that working harder leads to more success and that, in turn, should result in greater happiness. But Achor says that 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes the world and that you can train your brain to become more positive. He calls this the “happiness advantage,” and he has found that when you’re operating in this mode, your intelligence, creativity, and energy levels all rise, not to mention your productivity and success!
Achor offers the following 5 tips for training your brain to be more positive, and he says that after 21 consecutive days of these practices, you’ll notice a difference:
- 3 gratitudes (write down 3 things you’re grateful for that day)
- Journaling (write about 1 positive experience from the last 24 hours)
- Random acts of kindness (as simple as sending 1 email of appreciation/gratitude every day)
While Achor focuses on work success and productivity, it seems that this brain training could have a farther-reaching impact into other areas of life. What do you think?
Image by Flickr user Ed Schipul, via CC