Neil Pasricha is a Canadian author and speaker who advocates positivity and simple pleasures. He is known for his New York Times best seller, “The Book Of Awesome”, as well as his TEDx talk, “The 3 A’s of Awesome”.
Backed by loads of research, his book, “The Happiness Equation”, discusses how we can train our brains to be happy. Happiness is something we do to make life ‘awesome’ rather than the result of everything being awesome. It comes from conscious awareness and thought using practical, effective and enjoyable strategies.
1. Three walks a week
Researchers have found that the more physically active we are, the greater our overall feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. And it doesn’t take much: just 30 minutes of brisk walking, three days a week will do it.
2. 20-minute replay
Taking 20 minutes each day to write about a positive experience allows you to relive the event. It can be anything but the focus is that it was something that made you feel good. The purpose is to rekindle those happy feelings.
3. Random acts of kindness
Five random acts of kindness a week dramatically boosts our own personal happiness quotient, let alone that of those we’ve helped. Helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. And these acts can be simple: paying for someone’s coffee, sending a thank you card, holding the door open for someone, compliment a stranger, listen when no one else wants to.
4. Completely unplug
Setting aside our devices and allowing ourselves downtime enables us to recharge and renew. “The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal,” say Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement.
5. Find your groove
When we are fully engaged in an activity, our entire being is involved. We use our talents and skills to their maximum. We are challenged and intrigued. We are in the zone. Find a hobby or activity that gets you in your groove and do it frequently.
6. 2-minute meditations
Studies show that meditation can ‘permanently rewire’ our brains to raise our happiness level. Mindful meditation, even in short bursts, reduces stress and boosts compassion and self-awareness.
7. Five gratitudes
“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.” We’ve mentioned this over and over but it has been proven that writing down things we appreciate increases our happiness and physical health. Keeping a daily gratitude journal and jotting down 5 things you’re grateful for that happened that day is an ideal way to train your brain to be happy.
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~Charles Dickens
Want to be happier? Take a walk, relive an experience, be kind, unplug, get in a groove, meditate, be grateful.