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Everyone wants to be successful and happy in life. If you observe your friends and family, chances are they are following this formula: If you work hard, you will become successful. When you become successful, then you will be happy. Success first, followed by happiness. This train of thought appears to define the path to seek happiness for most of us.
However, this thought process of achieving happiness by being successful is broken. While in the process of conquering the next challenge, we set aside our need for happiness and work hard. In the process we may become stressful and miserable, neglecting our need to be happy. When we are unhappy, we also tend to create a negative sphere of influence on our colleagues, friends and family. This actually makes success harder to achieve!
Here are some selected tips to reap the happiness advantage and give you the extra boost to becoming successful.
Tips to live Happier
Neuroscientists have found that monks who spend years meditating actually grow their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most responsible for feeling happy. Research has also shown that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress and even improve immune function. Just take 5 minutes each day to sit down, relax and observe your breath go in and out.
Find something to look forward to
One study found that people who just think about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. Often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. Anticipating future rewards can actually light up the pleasure centers in your brain as much as the actual reward will.
Commit conscious acts of kindness
A long line of empirical research has shown that acts of altruism decrease stress and strongly contribute to enhanced mental health. Most importantly, it need not be an elaborate effort. Giving up your seat in the train, holding the lift for someone and carrying groceries for an elderly are examples of simple kind acts that are enough to reap the psychological benefits.
Infuse positivity in your surroundings
Our physical environment can have an enormous impact on our mindset and sense of well-being. We can make specific efforts to infuse them with positivity.
Is your work desk plain, empty and void of colors? Placing pictures of your loved ones can constantly remind you of happy thoughts while you are slogging the day away.
Physical activity can boost mood and enhance our work performance by improving motivation and feelings of mastery, reducing stress and anxiety. It also helps us to get into the ‘zone’, the feeling of total engagement that we usually get when we are at our most productive.
Contrary to popular belief, money can buy happiness, but only if used to do things as opposed to simply having things. While the positive feelings we get from material objects are fleeting and temporary, spending money on experiences, especially ones with other people, produces positive emotions that are both meaningful and more lasting. Watching a movie, having a meal, going for a concert brings far more pleasure than material purchases.
Remember, happiness begets happiness and increase your chances of becoming more successful in life!
This article was adapted from the book titled ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor.