Being conscious about my happiness is something I am aggressively working towards. For so long, I have been ‘grind, grind, grind. When I get to this point, I can look up and enjoy life, but not yet.’
After reading The Happiness Advantage, I’ve learned that having that mindset is actually holding me back. It’s actually a disadvantage.
Being happy gives you an advantage in life. An advantage above everyone else. Jim Rohn says that if you work at McDonalds and your job is to take the trash out, they will pay you $5. But if you take the trash out with a smile and maybe a little whistle, they will pay you $6.
The author lists out lots of ways to be happy, but today I am going to share with you my favorites.
1. Find something to look forward to.
The most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. If you can’t take time for a vacation right now or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar. Whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself of it. Anticipating future rewards can actually light up the pleasure centers in your brain as much as the actual reward!
3 groups of depressed patients were assigned to different coping strategies – 1 took antidepressants, 1 took antidepressants and exercised, 1 exercised 3 days a week for 45 min. After 4 months, all 3 groups experienced similar improvements in happiness. Then, the groups were tested 6 months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those that took the medication alone, 38% slipped back into depression. In the combination group, 31% slipped back. The biggest shock is that the exercise group, their relapse rate was only 9%! Exercise is not just an incredibly powerful mood lifter, but a long lasting one.
3. Exercise a signature strength.
If you find yourself in need of a happiness booster, revisit a talent you haven’t in a while. Even more fulfilling than using a skill is exercising a strength of character, a trait that is deeply embedded in who we are. For example, I love learning. I can’t stop. It really makes me happy. So, making a point to read daily gives me a boost of happiness.
Hopefully these are things you can implement daily to help boost your happiness, which gives you an advantage in life!