Guest post from Kelly Coulter of Coulter Internet Marketing
I know all kinds of entrepreneurs and business leaders at different types of businesses. And although for the most part these are strong, empowered people, their level of happiness varies. It is not correlated in any way to their level of earnings or success. Nor is it necessarily attached to their upbringing, or their future prospects. Happiness can be separate from external sources.
We only need to watch any reality TV show centered around the rich and famous to know that success and riches do not guarantee happiness.
So why do some people remain calm and happy while others in a similar situation are angry, critical, and sometimes even combative? Research increasingly suggests that happiness may be more a choice than a state of being. Happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky determined that only 10% of our happiness is determined by circumstances. While 40% is determined by our behavior.
Did you hear that? 40% of our level of happiness is determined by the intentional selection of activities and thoughts that make up our behavior each and every day.
So what can we do to tip the scales in favor of our happiness? Here are some ideas.
Start your day happy
Here’s something no one is talking about – the happiest people you know are happy ON PURPOSE. People do not stumble upon happy lives, they make them.
Try intentionally feeling happiness in the beginning of your day. Here are some ways to start:
- Feel happy for 17 seconds before you get out of bed. Keep your eyes closed, lay in bed, and focus on feeling happy. Once you achieve the feeling hold on to it. 17 seconds will seem like a long time at first, but you will get better at it day by day.
- Start your day with something you love. For me that is yoga and meditation, but that is not for everyone. Maybe your something is a cheese omelette, or a really good cup of coffee, or snuggle time. Whatever your something is, do that in the morning. It will start your day off on a good trajectory.
- Practice facial influence. Creating an emotional facial expression will influence your actual emotions. So smile in the mornings. It will predispose your brain toward happiness and affect the way people react to you at the same time.
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.— Abraham Lincoln
Guard your energy
Ever gone to Starbucks in a perfectly nice mood, only to leave angry that you just waited 15 minutes for your coffee? Or felt hopeless and dejected after spending time with a particularly negative coworker?
Your mental and physical energy are entirely yours to control. Find ways to remove energy zappers from your day in order to keep your cork floating.
- Remove negativity. If you notice social media updates by a particular friend make you feel angry, sad, or upset you might want to consider hiding their posts. They won’t even know that you aren’t seeing their posts anymore. And if Starbucks makes you mad every time you go then stop going (OK that one was my own advice to myself.)
- Hold back a complaint. Complaining keeps your mind stuck in a negative space. While you are busy re-hashing your tale of woe, your brain is steeping on feelings of anger or resentment. This will affect your reactions to circumstances the rest of the day. Instead, say your piece once, then let it go.
- Speak empowering words. Words turn into feelings, feelings turn into actions, actions turn into habitual behaviors. Remove the disempowering phrases “I don’t know”, and “I can’t” from your vocabulary permanently. Replace them with “I will figure it out” and “I am going to.”
- Spend time in your zone of genius. In the book Deep Work Cal Newport suggests that cognitively challenging work leads to a sense of true fulfillment. Do this – remember how it felt the last time you truly flowed while doing work that you love.
Your zone of genius refers to the types of tasks that you perform best at, and that also make you feel the most deeply fulfilled. Time spent in your zone of genius feeds your soul. Go there often.
… truly happy individuals construe life events and daily situations in ways that seem to maintain their happiness, while unhappy individuals construe experiences in ways that seem to reinforce unhappiness.
– Sonja Lyubomirsky, Happiness researcher and author of ‘The How of Happiness’
Its easy to focus on what we don’t have. After all, there is always someone with a faster car, bigger house, more lucrative career, whatever. Spending time in gratitude for the things we do have can have major positive benefits. When you spend focused time in gratitude you train your brain to see the good things more.
Here are some simple ways to focus on gratitude:
- Journal a gratitude list. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and spend the entire 10 minutes writing things your are grateful for. These could be people, possessions, relationships, attitudes, or even places. Write it all down. And do it again tomorrow.
- List the positives that have come out of past negative situations. Another productive way to spend 10 minutes would be in focused thought. List the positive products that have come out of negative situations from the past. The list is your gratitude list, but this practice could also help you let go of past trauma, hurt, or resentment.
And one more thing. If you need a higher level of care please consider counseling. It’s something we all need to do more of. There is no shame in seeing a counselor in order to take your personal game to the next level.
If you can’t afford counseling 12 step programs are free and really effective. I found this in a post from Beth Shaw, founder and CEO of YogaFit:
If you cannot afford therapy you can attend 12 step meetings. Everyone has something they need to work on and work out – whether it’s AA, Codependents, Alanon, Overeaters anonymous, Shopaholics, Love addicts there are even 12 step meetings for hoarders to help clutter-bust. For a full list go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_twelve-step_groups
– Beth Shaw blog post:
DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, AND LOW COST MOOD LIFTING STRATEGIES
About the Author:
Kelly Coulter helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses happier and faster. Learn more about Kelly and Coulter Internet Marketing here.