The Happiness Challenge

By Linda Marrs-Morford, IPLI Director

Last week at a training session with our IPLI mentors, Dr. Rhonda Roos from our Leadership Team shared the work of Shawn Achor and his book The Happiness Advantage.  Over my years of working with Rhonda, I knew that if she recommended it, it was worth checking out.  So, I took some time to watch Shawn’s Ted Talk at https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en.  I wasn’t disappointed.

In his talk, Shawn emphasized that 90% of our happiness is in the way our brains process the world.  In his research, he found that 75% of job success is based on three things:  1) one’s optimism level; 2) one’s social support; and 3) one’s ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat.

Shawn goes on to show how raising the level of positivity increases happiness.  Shawn says, “Because dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions.  Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.”  

How do we increase positivity?  Shawn says there are five small changes science is revealing that can increase our positivity and ultimately our happiness.  Every day:

  1. Identify 3 new things for which we are grateful.  This will teach your brain to scan the world for positives first.
  2. Journal about one positive thing that occurred that day.  This allows your brain to relive it.
  3. Exercise (Need I say more?).
  4. Meditate, which allows our brains to focus on the task at hand.
  5. Conduct at least one conscious act of kindness. (Need an idea?  See Afternoon Gratitude Email by IPLI Leadership Team member Mike Pinto in the IPLI 2019 Fall Newsletterhttp://indianapli.org/wp-content/uploads/Fall-Newsletter-2019.pdf).

I’ve started my Happiness 21-Day Challenge, and I hope you will join me.