The pursuit of happiness is a strong drive in the human family. This post is part of a series on discovering happiness.
These are things that claim to make us happy. But we know how that ends up. Now what are some positive things we can activate to increase our happiness?
Embrace healthy stress
There is a type of chronic stress which must be avoided. Tolerate that type of stress for too long and bad things can happen to our health, productivity, and almost every area of our lives.
Healthy stress (like being nervous before something big) actually accelerates our cognitive processing. It improves our memory. It even enriches social bonds.
Achor says, “Your brain practices what it visualizes, so the more you see it, the more it quiets the noise.” Even in times of stress, what are we seeing? What we see internally is where we’ll go and what we’ll experience.
Just move it!
This surprises a lot people … 30 minutes of cardio exercise like walking, biking, or running when done multiple times per week for 6 months is equal to taking an antidepressant. And there are lower relapse rates.
Exercise affects belief. “Exercise works so well because it’s a gateway drug. You start believing that your behavior matters.”
Shape your mindset for happiness
Here’s an important idea … make a quality decision that you are not a consumer. It’s not your identity – you are a creator. Creativity makes us happy.
We think we have to change our mindset to change our behavior. Actually, when we make a decision to change our behavior, we re-shape our mindset.
Then our new mindset helps us with new behaviors … which then further shape our mindset. It’s a very positive spiral. Not a downward death spiral, but a spiral which takes us higher.
Avoid the black hole of ingratitude like the Black Death.
Gratitude is powerful. If you fall into a pit of negativity, despair, and complaining, take the opportunity to jot some things in your journal. Do you feel hopeful when you are in this state of mind? Do you have vision? Are you dreaming of a preferred future?
Gratitude is a powerful antidote to this consuming plague. See Gratitude Questing.
Intend to be happy
Here’s some fresh research. If you try to be happy while listening to happy music, you will become more happy.
It won’t happen if you intend to be happy while listening to tragic or sad music. And it may not happen if you listen to uplifting music but make no effort to be happy.
What is this telling us? As an underlying foundation, we have to want to be happy.
Even more we must intend to be happy. Then when we mix that intentionality with uplifting music (or whatever does it for you … nature, recreation, art, good conversation, etc.), we discover we have more control over our happiness!
Again, Abraham Lincoln was right: “We are as happy as we decide to be.”