Inspiration and lessons for your leadership journey!
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
When I found a single pearl of great value that can literally transform careers and lives for the better, I began by trying to tell as many people as possible. I tried weaving it into conversations, presentations, programs, this blog, and even wrote extensively about it in my latest book, A Travel Guide to Leadership.
What was it?
“Success does not necessarily predict or lead to happiness but happiness does predict or leads to success."
Here are 5 proven ways you can start using today that can boost your happiness.
1. Start a Gratitude Journal
Nurturing gratitude is one of the easiest and most powerful ways you can increase your happiness. Of all the techniques used to nurture gratitude and happiness, keeping a gratitude journal is by far my favorite because of its power and long-term effects.
Here’s what you do:
I’ve found that couples or friends who do this together and share it, report more profound effects.
2. Be Kind and Loving
The evidence has been mounting for many years now that doing good things for others makes you happier. From simple random acts of kindness to incorporating love in your definitions, metrics, and implementation of your business and professional goals and metrics, altruism not only helps others, it helps you to be happier and more successful, too!
As Stephen Post, PhD wrote in his bestseller, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, “These qualities [a giving disposition, empathy, and social competence] reverberate across many domains of life, leading to success in work, friendship, and love – and resulting in happiness and health.”
3. Find and Live Your Purpose
Martin Seligman, PhD and the father of positive psychology discovered three dimensions to happiness: 1) pleasure and gratification, 2) embodying strengths and virtues, and 3) meaning and purpose. He and others have found that without the application of one’s unique strengths and the development of one’s virtues towards an end bigger than one’s self, one’s potential tends to be whittled away by a mundane, inauthentic, empty pursuit of pleasure – and that’s not authentic happiness.
An important part of defining that bigger end, purpose, or mission for yourself and your organizations that will boost authentic happiness is connecting it with Step 2. Robert Holden, PhD instructs those seeking success and happiness who are in the process of setting goals and developing a life mission, “If your definition of success has little or no measure of love in it, get another definition.”
4. Think Good Thoughts
In his book, Leveraging the Universe, Mike Dooley wrote (italics in the original), “Your thoughts become things. They always have, and they always will. This is your divine inheritance. This is how you can change your life. It’s the answer. It’s the solution. It’s the salvation of all who discover it.” He’s right – and cognitive-behavioral and positive psychology research backs him up. It may have taken me over forty years to discover it for myself; but when I did, my whole life began to transform.
You can be the person who looks outside and says, “It’s a beautiful day, and I’m excited,” or the person who says, “I’m regretful and guilty and wish I had done it differently yesterday,” or the person who says, “I’m disappointed it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”
You have a choice to see things in a positive or negative light. Seeing things more positively increases happiness.
5. Have Sex
I’ll bet that got your attention! Yes sex feels great, but did you know it can significantly contribute to your happiness? Follow me for a minute.
In a massive study, researchers found out how often people’s minds wandered, what they were doing at the time, whether mind-wandering was positive, negative, or neutral, and its impact on happiness levels. Interestingly, people’s minds wandered nearly half the time (46.9%). When their mind-wandering was neutral or negative, they were considerably unhappier. Although people’s minds were more likely to wander to pleasant topics, they were no happier because of it.
So where does the sex come in? People were most focused (significantly less mind-wandering) and most happy when making love.
The true bottom line from the study is that staying focused – living in the now – helps us to be happier. When we let our minds wander – no matter what we’re doing – we are more than likely going to diminish our happiness level.
Another study related to happiness and sex (by a Dartmouth College economist and professor at University of Warwick in England) found that sex created more happiness than money. They estimated that increasing intercourse from once a month to once a week is equivalent to the amount of happiness generated by getting an additional $50,000 in income for the average American!
So maybe sex could sometimes count towards exercise or that it will help us sleep better (two other scientifically proven points that makes us happier) or that it will be like getting a huge raise, but whatever the causes, there is now scientific proof that sex creates significant happiness (guys, you can thank me later for including this one).
If you like this week's blog, I encourage you to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues and join me on my journey to empower and inspire millions of people around the globe.
Together we can spread words of Encouragement, Inspiration, Empowerment, and Loving Leadership!
Together we can make a difference!
Thank you and…
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.