By Roderick Overman
Shawn Achor, T.E.D. Talk speaker and author of the “Happiness Advantage” outlined five simple activities (centered around being grateful) you can do to put yourself into a grateful, appreciative and ultimately positive state of mind.
I describe being grateful and appreciative as: Truly feeling thankful for each other, for what we have in our personal and professional lives and even for the challenges that come up in our lives, and expressing that thankfulness to others in the physical world in the form of a kind gesture, word or act.
In his T.E.D. talk, The Happy Secret To Better Work, Shawn recommends doing the following five activities daily.
Shawn Achor’s Activity
- Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even six months later, and raises your success rates significantly.
- Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos.
- Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.
- Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and elevates endorphins, helping you to physically feel better.
- Write one, quick email or note first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support and connection, which in Shawn’s study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for students.
Shawn does not recommend any particular type of meditation, but from my readings on meditation, I recommend repeating the following simple but effective meditation:
May I be safe,
May I be happy
May I be healthy,
May I be at ease.
I am safe,
I am happy,
I am healthy,
I am at ease.
Give Shawn’s activity a try for a week and let us know how it went for you!