EP 175: What We Get Wrong About Happiness
- The happy secret to better work
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Hello friends. I'm so happy to be back. Today I wanna talk to you about something that is maybe a little controversial, and that is what we get wrong about happiness. That's right.
I asked what we get wrong about happiness? I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Like what does it mean to be successful? What does it mean to be happy? What does it mean to live a meaningful life? No crush, but I do get to have some pretty existentially big conversations with clients and friends.
Let's be real with my family and friends. And whenever I sit down next to people because these are the honest-to-God questions that come up, are you happy? What does it take to be happy? Are other people happier than I am? Some of. Probably not all of them, and here's why.
One of the biggest things that we get wrong about being happy or being successful is, according to Sean Acor Harvard researcher, that we have the formula for happiness and success backward. We're raised to. Get good grades so you can get into a good college. And then when you get into a good college, you get into a good grad school or law school, or medical school.
And once you graduate with your great grades, cuz that's what you've been told, what will make you happy is the next thing. And that when you are successful, meaning you've attained that thing, then you will magically be. So according again to Sean Acors's Ted Talk, the Secret to Better Work. If you haven't, we watched it.
It is well worth the time. He's really funny. He is, seriously, really funny. I've watched it multiple times and thought I'd sit by that guy at a party and laugh wholeheartedly at his dad jokes and be very interested in his research about happiness because the guy's literally written the book about how to be happier at work.
And according to our friend Sean Acor, the formula that we have, which is success equals happiness, is. Backward and that we need to work from the inside out in order to be happy, or in order to be successful, we have to start with the general place of being happy. And the nice thing is that Sean has laid out in said TED talk the things that we had to do on a daily in order to get to where we are moving the needle.
If you will, on our own happiness. And so, without further ado, I'm gonna share those six happiness exercises that you can do every day in order to increase your feelings of happiness, which will help you get towards feelings successful. Because here's the thing, what do we usually do, especially as Americans, when we.
When when we set goals, when we get close to reaching that goal, that thing that we say is gonna make us happy, we get close to it. We just move the goalpost, and we never stop and go; wow, I reached my goal. Let me celebrate that. So exercise number one is to. Practice gratitude. That's right. That thing that everybody says is dumb.
It doesn't work. Friends, this science is there over and over. Writing three new things you're grateful for every day will help retrain your brain and rewire your brain so that you start noticing and priming the pump, otherwise known as your brain, to notice the good things in your life. So every day, just write three; I do five.
That's cuz I'm an overachiever. Anyway, your assignment, should you choose to come on this journey with all of us, is to write three novel things every day that you're grateful for. Number two, an exercise for you to practice every day is to think to yourself, what was something great that happened, say, in the last 24 hours?
Set a timer and. Every sensory detail that you can think of that is about that great thing, and here's what you're doing. You're training your brain to notice the good stuff in your life. Also, your brain really can only do one thing at a time. So it's like making a greatest hits reel or a greatest Hits album.
You're like, I'm only replaying the good. Why? Because then you get to re-experience the awesome parts of your life. The third exercise to boost your happiness is 15 minutes of moving your body. That's right. Here we go. What's the question? Doesn't matter. What's the answer? Exercise. We gotta move our bodies in order to, I don't know, clear up the gunk in our head, but to move stuff around.
It's one of that proven happiness. Practices that nobody wants to hear cuz they're like, but I don't have time. I know it. It feels like it takes a lot. My recommendation is to do it first thing in the morning so that you don't talk yourself out of it or you don't get too busy or whatever. And it doesn't have to be like, I'm going to the gym, and I'm doing a whole class, literally 15 minutes.
I've been getting up and riding an exercise bike in my office. Wearing my pajamas and my slippers just to get that boost. All right. The number four exercise to do in order to increase your happiness is to meditate. That's right. So we're gonna go from moving our body to sitting down quietly for five minutes and watching your breath.
Why it gives you more space in your head. Gives you space between your thoughts. Watch your thoughts and say, yes, I should not believe everything that I think because everything that just transpired in my head is not true. Again, the science is there behind meditation is what will really help you feel less stressed, help you feel less overwhelmed, and help you feel more.
At home in your body. It does good for the physical body. It does great for mental health. Meditate. This morning I did a quick five-minute with the Calm app. Yesterday I did a quick three-minute with the Headspace app, so you can find your favorites by using a guided meditation, or you can just simply hit the timer.
On your phone and just watch your breath for five minutes. It's all; it's gonna take number six, or excuse me, number five, exercises to increase your happiness. According to Harvard researcher Sean Acor is to deepen your social connections. Did you know that the people who live the longest have the deepest social connections?
I know, crazy. So the thing that you wanna do the most is hanging out with your people. It is to live up to your friends. You should do that every day. It will actually increase your happiness. Send a text, make a date, go on a walking date. One of the things that we're exploring in deferred maintenance this week is instead of us all coming together and sitting on Zoom and looking at each other's faces, we're all gonna go on a walk together, and we're gonna do a walk and talk meeting.
You can set these up with your friends, your coworkers, and your neighbors. The idea is that you can get moving and also deepen your social connections. And finally, the last way that Sean Acor suggests that you can increase your happiness very simply is to spread kindness. And that would look like sending.
A short message to the people who have helped you in your life. Remember back, I think it was in episode 33 or 34 of this podcast, exactly 1 million years ago with Nancy Davis Co and the Thank You Project, and she wrote 50 letters to the people, places, and ideas that helped shape her who. Shape her into who she is as a grownup, otherwise known as an awesome adult.
This is actually a happiness-boosting technique. So if you are struggling right now, which I know a lot of people are, I have been myself; we are, we're digging into what works. We're looking at the science, we're looking at the research, and we're like, Hey, I am working really hard. I'm doing all the things.
Maybe instead of working harder, we look to doing things differently, thinking differently about what we're doing in order to increase our happiness. You will not be happier when you're successful. You will be more successful when you are happier. Remember, there are six proven, scientifically backed practices to increase happiness.
Deepen your social connections, meditate, spread kindness, 15 minutes of cardio, and a two-minute writing assignment about your highlight reel. And, of course, everyone's favorite. Three things you're grateful for. I can't wait to hear how you're doing and what you are going to practice in order to increase your happiness.
And until next time, remember that you matter too.
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