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Happiness Hack #69 Strengthen Positive Relationships with Creative Gratitude

happiness_creative #69

 

Two of the strongest recurring themes in happiness research are showing gratitude and positive relationships. You can engage both themes at once by improving your relationships through creative expressions of your gratitude.

 

5 Ideas for Creative Gratitude:

 

  1. Send a picture or video. With today’s smart phones, taking a quick photo or video with you showing your appreciation can be done in less than a minute. The recipient will be excited and will most likely share their joy with someone else nearby.
  2. Write a personal note on the nearest writing surface you can find. For example; a napkin in a restaurant, a whiteboard in their office, or a post-it note. They will appreciate the spontaneity and especially like the idea that you are thinking of them as you go through your busy day.
  3. Share your talents. We all have a hobby or something we are good at or known for.  Share some of your famous brownies or help them fix something around their house or office.  Use your special skills to show appreciation.
  4. Share your story. Explain to them why you appreciate them with a personal story of how their presence has impacted you. Knowing specifically how they were able to make your day a little better will create a special kind of confidence and happiness.
  5. Pay it forward. Tell them how they inspired you to share your gratitude with a 3rd Let them know that their good deeds are spreading into the world and helping others be happy.

 

Showing gratitude in even the smallest ways improves happiness and builds stronger relationships for everyone involved.  Find ways to creatively express your gratitude and you will have stronger relationships that help you become happier and more successful.

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #51 Be Yourself

Focus Your Energy on Relationships Where You Can Be Your Authentic Self

Research overwhelmingly shows that positive relationships contribute to our happiness. In order to develop and maintain those positive relationships, it is important that we are authentic. Authenticity increases our emotional well-being, coping skills, and vitality. Positive relationships require disclosure about who we are. We have to share our personal hopes and fears. Our closest relationships are with people with whom we can be ourselves. They are people who accept us for who we are and with whom we can experience our full range of emotions. Be authentic and proud of whom you really are and put your energy into relationships that support you being your authentic self. Dare to be vulnerable. Be authentic.

“Be real. Try to do what you say, say what you mean, be what you seem.” Marian Wright Edelman

 

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Try the My Happiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Get Excited About Good News

Respond well to good news. It can make your relationships stronger and help them last longer. Research by Gable and team has shown that our happiness is magnified when we can share it with others, and magnified even further if the other person had a positive and enthusiastic response to our happiness. They also found that how your partner responds to good news is a better predictor of the longevity of the relationship than how he or she responds to bad news. Celebrating small wins is ideally something you encounter daily, or at least much more often than you encounter hard times. Sharing small wins with the people who are close to us increases our level of happiness associated with those wins. When others share with us, it is important to respond positively and enthusiastically. We can often dampen their level of happiness by responding negatively or even by responding in a neutral manner.

The responses you can have to someone’s good news fall into four categories:

  1. Positive and participatory–you acknowledge their excitement and engage in positive discussion to share their good news. (active-constructive)
  2. Positive and not participatory–you acknowledge their happiness but don’t engage. (passive-constructive)
  3. Negative and participatory–you find and point out the negative impact of their news. (active-destructive)
  4. Negative and not participatory–you ignore or barely acknowledge their good news. (passive-destructive)

Partners who regularly receive responses that are positive and participatory “are happier, more satisfied with their relationships, experience fewer conflicts, and have more fun with their partners than people who receive the other types of responses” according to Gable and team.

 

Get excited about good news. It will improve your relationships and your happiness.

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Believe Lighthouse

Believe to Achieve

(photo courtesy of Colleen Kilpatrick)

It has been proven that if you don’t believe you will not succeed.  How can you achieve something if you don’t believe you can?

Our beliefs are what we decide we want to think is true – based on our own personal experiences and information we have learned through our lives.  It is the only common factor in determining your ability to achieve something.  If you don’t believe you are capable of achieving, then, you will not achieve.  However, if you believe in yourself, you will likely endure in finding a way to succeed.  “Unbelief” manifests itself in the same way – if you have a thought, but believe it will not occur, then forces will drive your thoughts and emotions to be true – it will not occur.

Your power is very forceful and real.

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” –  Henry Ford

While Shawn Achor was specifically talking about happiness in his book, The Happiness Advantage, he explains that the brain scans for positive or negative meanings from the input it receives.  Problems arise when you program your brain to scan for the negative (disbelief) before positive (belief).  By scanning for the negative first, we ultimately shut down opportunities to succeed because we are masking our ability to see positively.  We need to program our brains to look for the positives first and believe.

While there is relevance in the “law of attraction” (think about something and you will attract like things), I am not saying that by simply thinking of things, they will automatically appear.  That is more “wishing” than believing.  Believing is having the confidence that you will be able to do what’s necessary to achieve your goal.  You will put the steps in place to be successful.  Begin believing in yourself and see the power it unleashes.  Doors will open because you are “looking” for them to open.  If you are negative with a closed mind, you may not recognize the opportunities in front of you.

Here are a few examples of what you can do to see things more positively:

  • Positive is a choice – being positive is a choice and you can control how you approach your thoughts.  You know when you are thinking negatively.  If you recognize your thoughts as negative, simply shift them to being more positive.
  • Positive Affirmations – repeat positive statements of your desired outcomes.  This repetition will build positive momentum in your subconscious thinking and open your mind up to success and positive thinking.
  • Visualization – like affirmations, visualizing yourself being successful will cause you to be more positive.  Visualize yourself succeeding – experience every moment and all of the senses.  The more realistic your visualization, the more powerful it will be.
  • Eliminate negative influences.  External factors have a significant impact on our thoughts.  You need to recognize the negative influences in your life and replace them with positive.  Generally these negative influences are people at work, friends and even family.  While not always easy, you need to minimize interaction with these toxic influences and replace them with supportive and positive influences.
  • Share Positivity – the true impact of becoming positive is your ability to share being positive with others.  Like many things in life, being positive is contagious – make an effort to smile at someone else, share a compliment, reinforce that someone has done a great job.  Bottom line, Be Good to People.

The outcomes of our activities will greatly depend on how we look them.  Take time to understand your thoughts and guide them toward the positive.

 

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Happiness Hack #13 – 100/0 Principle

How to Guarantee Your Relationships will Work

 

Positive Relationships is one of the strongest concepts supported by the Science of Happiness. The more and better your relationships are, the happier you are. A foundational element to creating and improving positive relationships is a concept Al Ritter writes about called the 100/0 Principle. Most of us go into a relationship believing that it should be a 50/50 exchange. Two people giving half each, adds up to 100% and then we will all be happy. The challenge is 50/50 doesn’t work a lot of the time. If one person is giving 50% but the other person is only giving 30% because of some challenge they are experiencing in their lives, the relationship suffers.

Give 100% and expect nothing in return. The other person can give 0% and you will still be there for them because you want to give and you believe that relationship is important. If you have no expectations that they will call you, or bring you flowers, or remember your birthday, or behave in any particular way, you will not have a reason be disappointed in them and they won’t feel pressure to be someone different from who they are. Most likely, and even though you are ok if they don’t, they will respond in kind. They will appreciate your efforts and they will give more than 0%, and often more than 50% back to the relationship. You will find abundance rather than scarcity in your relationship. Give 100% to the relationship and expect nothing in return.

 
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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How to get Happy – 4 Concepts connected to Leadership and Success

Over the years I have had the opportunity to study leadership and success.   I am struck by the connections between each area and how those connections are similar for happiness as well.

 

Your first test on happiness:

  1. Do you want to:
    1. Receive happiness like winning the lottery or receiving a gift?
    2. Experience happiness as a state of mind?

If you choose A, then you may be waiting for a while, possibly forever.  However, if you choose B, then we, the team at Pursuit-of-Happiness.org, have a lot to share that may be helpful.

 

Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book The How of Happiness, explained that happiness is created through our daily intentional activities.  This is consistent with Leadership and Success as well.   Happiness is within our ability to control with what we do in our daily lives and how we think.

 

Here are 4 concepts that will provide a framework for exploring happiness.

The first concept is understanding the difference between Pleasure and Happiness.   Are you chasing immediate pleasures like sex, decadent foods, couch time, and video time, or are you nurturing relationships, maintaining your health through diet and exercise,  finding ways to improve yourself, and being thankful for what is working in your life.  The pursuit of pleasure involves feeling good in the short-term at the possible risk of negative long-term outcomes; the pursuit of happiness consists of intentional activities and habits that promote long term health and well-being.

 

 

The second concept is taking control of your life.   George Bernard Shaw although a little gruff, was headed in the right direction when he explained pursuing happiness as, “…being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. “  Do you own your decisions and the consequences of those decisions?  Are you deciding every day to invest in the habits and activities that will lead to happiness or are you waiting and hoping that happiness will find you?

 

The third concept is cultivating close positive relationships.  Do you have a few close friends you can talk to and share tell about your failures and successes? People who know and appreciate the real you, the good and the bad?  Are you caring and sharing in the community? Is there a person, group, or cause that you care for and give to?  The acts of sharing our true selves with others and caring for others are the most important things we can do to generate happiness and contentment in our lives.

 

The fourth concept is finding and expressing purpose and meaning.  The full George Bernard Shaw quote is:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

 

Do you have something bigger than yourself to focus on?  Is there something bigger that you believe in or something that you know you were meant to do?  For many people this can be expressed in their religion or other spiritual pursuits.  Others may focus on their children or their meaningful contributions.

 

In summary, if you are choosing to pursue happiness:

  1. Understand the difference between Pleasure and Happiness
  2. Take control of your life and your happiness.
  3. Develop close positive relationships and care for others.
  4. Find and express purpose and meaning in your life.

 

As described above for happiness, leadership and success require a long term perspective, action and ownership, strong relationships, and a sense of purpose.

 

Also like Leadership and Success, happiness is not a possession that can be acquired.   It is a state of mind resulting from the cultivation of intentional daily habits.    It has to be pursued, explored, and experienced on an on-going basis.   Find out more about how to cultivate Happiness Habits at Pursuit-of-Happiness.org.

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