Positive Psychology (5/28/13)

A former Harvard researcher found "happy people are more energetic, productive, healthier." And we have more control of our happiness than we think. "Studies show that when we are happy, our brains perform significantly better- intelligence increases, creativity increases, energy levels increase."

"The problem is that most of us have gotten the success/happiness formula backward. That is, we believe that if we were only more successful – make more money, get a promotion, a better car, a bigger house, a lower golf score - then we'd be happy. And it's true, we will be – but only for a little while. Then our brains will reset our success bar."

The good news is there are things we can do to train our brains. First, the 3 gratitude’s: think of 3 things you are grateful for at the end of each day and be specific. Rather than "I am grateful for my job," try "I am grateful I got to help x person today." Second, journaling. Write down one positive experience for the day, again be specific. Third, exercise. At least 10 minutes of physical exertion a day to get the blood & dopamine flowing. Fourth, meditation. At least 2 minutes of just sitting quietly to give your mind and body a chance to let go of stress. Last, a random act of kindness - something as simple as sending a nice e-mail to a friend.