Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh Hey Happiness, It's Been A Long-Time.

Let's talk happiness for a second. 

Imagine that the amazing Professor Ben-Shahar or Shawn Achor, both of Harvard University's Positive Psychology program asked
Tal Ben-Shahar
YOU to give a lecture to a group of students on how to create happiness, make decisions that will increase your happiness levels, and ways to predict how happy you will be in any given circumstance.

Shawn Achor

Maybe right now you have already formulated a speech in your mind that will be flawlessly delivered to the eager crowd of young students. They will hear your words of wisdom and leave the lecture hall feeling confident, optimistic and ridiculously more happy! 

                             Or maybe not...

Recent major personal life changes, decisions, and transitions have motived me to write this piece on happiness. I will be sure to update everybody on these big life changes in a blog very soon. 

Answer this quick question:
What do you have in your life right now that creates happiness for you?

My answer to this question contained items such as:

  • Good relationships
  • An amazing fiancĂ©
  • A great apartment
  • A wonderful doggie (love you Bipsy!)
  • A great job
  • Financial security
  • A nice car
  • Health insurance
And a few other things that came quickly to mind. 

Research shows that ONLY 10% of your long-term happiness is derived from these external factors.

There secret to 90% of your long-term happiness?
Answer: How your brain reacts to these external factors.

One of the biggest challenges with individuals and happiness today is that they believe they have absolutely no control over it.

When people lack certainty in their life and have an abundance of uncertainty, they are at a high risk of experiencing unhealthy amounts of anxiety. 

Unfortunately debilitating levels of anxiety and happiness can not exist at the same time. This is why many therapists have clients create a "positive thought jar". Individuals can not maintain a negative and positive thought in their minds at the same time. When you experience yourself focusing on a negative thought, go to your positive thought jar, and pull out a positive affirmation to combat the negative thinking. 

It is funny and maybe you know this, most individuals feel they have little control over their own happiness yet 90% is derived through a process that happens within you!

Stop predicting and start looking at the hard facts. 
Become a detective by taking some of your biggest stressors, successes, decisions, and relationships and begin dissecting what makes them stressful, exciting, negative, successful and/or challenging for you. 

This is worth the mental effort!
Take 10 minutes now to play detective and figure out how your brain reacts to the list you created above. 

YouTime's Summary:
It is important understand that happiness does not come from the external factors around you, it is created within you by the way your brain reacts to those external factors. 

The amount of expensive, lavish, and desirable possessions you have in your life is meaningless UNTIL your brain creates meaning for these things. The way your brain creates meaning to those possessions and relationships is unique to you. Take the time to understand yourself, your inner drives, and how you choose to react to your environment. 

It is your brain.
It is your happiness.
Take control.

For more information regarding research on happiness, please visit:

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