I’m really into happiness. But before I talk more about that, I need for you to do me a favor, and watch this twelve and a half minute TED Talk by Shawn Achor. Once you finish, I’ll discuss dopamine with you.
Amazing, right? I can’t stop thinking about this talk, and its broader implications for me, and for anyone else who cares to join me. Here’s what Shawn said:
It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.
Shawn suggested the only way to “change the lens” is by reversing this formula: If I work harder, I’ll be more successful, and if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier. We need to stop placing our happiness just out of reach.
So how do we permanently raise the positive in our lives? By becoming positive in the present! Shawn recommends the following:
- Identify 3 New Gratitudes daily to scan the world for positive, and not negative.
- Journal daily about one positive experience you’ve had in the past 24 hours.
- Regular exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.
- Meditation allows us to get over the “cultural ADHD” we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once, and by focusing on the task at hand.
- Deliberately perform Random or Conscious Acts of Kindness once a day.
Our brains are 31% more productive at positive, than they are at neutral or negative! To create this kind of lasting positive change in our lives, we need to flood our systems with dopamine, which is a natural compound that acts as a neurotransmitter, and when we are positive, dopamine floods our system, generating two reactions:
- We are happier
- All the learning centers in our brains are ignited, allowing us to adapt to the world differently
Shawn suggests that these retraining exercises, particularly the first two, take just minutes a day, and he says we must be consistent for 21 consecutive days in order for our behaviors to change long-term. So, who’s with me?
My commitment is to start today, and to share my daily journal with each of you for 21 days, in the hopes that you will share your daily journal with me – right here on the website. Let’s create a community of positivity! Who’s with me?If you like this post, you can subscribe to receive regular doses of encouragement and inspiration to help you on your way:
Paul Jones says
I’m in. My positive experience was a family lunch with mom, my sister and her family, and my wife and son. It was just a family enjoying the time together.
Debra Steward says
At work we’ve had several training sessions that include neuroscience. One course was taught by an industrial psychologist and another seminar taught by a neuroscientist. Dopamine was discussed in detail! I’ll give the 21 day challenge a whirl, but may be inconsistent posting my journal. Work gets in the way (I know I shouldn’t let that happen.) My brother, Kenny, and I had lunch with your Aunt Thelma and Uncle Ken last Friday for their 50th wedding anniversary. (That’s what Mom wanted in lieu of a party.) Today – I am taking me time by leaving work early to get a vitamin D fix in the sunshine this afternoon.
Kristen Daukas says
Participating in BlogHer’s monthly NaBloPoMo has made me much more aware of my attitude and keeps my “eye” on what’s happening around me. I love this idea and will continue to seek and find as much dopamine as I possibly can!
Teddy Burriss says
I’m there Arminda! Thanks for sharing this TedX – I appreciate hearing it and will participate!
Kristen Daukas says
For instance… my posts this week are going to circle around “things I love”… Today’s post is about crazy socks that make me happy…
Jill clarey says
Great info Arminda! This works so well! The other day I acted on some of this – grateful for everything and choosing happiness, and the great “buzz” I got from it stuck around for days! Such a happy maker!! Get your “buzz” on girl! Enjoy!
Today began with 2 sick kids home from school and a sick mom. It was a perfect opportunity to snuggle up in mom’s bed together and watch Discovery channel ALL DAY LONG! What could have been a downer of a day was turned into a day of togetherness and memory-building. Who says being sick can’t be fun? 🙂
karen rittenhouse says
I actually start my day, before I even get out of bed, listing gratitudes. I have done this for years and have a blessed life to show for it.
Thanks for the TedTalk. This ranks right up there in my top 3, I believe. Amazing speaker, amazing talk.
I’m in. Nothing more powerful than Gratitude.
There’s something so wonderful about family enjoying time together, isn’t there? And it doesn’t have to be elaborate, either.
Looking forward to more positive experiences, Debra! Thanks for joining the challenge.
Excellent! There are so many things I love, I’m not sure how I would possibly choose, but you get my vote for starting with socks – and not just any socks, either. Little Miss Matched are our new favorites!
Thanks, Teddy! Looking forward to reading your contributions in the days to come!
It DOES work, Jill! You’re absolutely right! Thanks for chiming into the conversation; yours is always a welcome addition!
I love how the seeming worst situations are oftentimes just the opposite. Glad you made some lemonade out of your lemons 🙂
I agree, Karen. This talk is definitely in my top 3, as well. Thanks for sharing your positive energy and experiences with us here. I’m grateful for that.
Jared G says
This actually makes a lot of sense and is something worth trying. I fully agree that your outlook and mental filter are mainly to blame for your mood. I just hope i can muster up enough dopamine to get the motivation to get stated 😉
Mine too! I’ve watched it numerous times. Love, love, love it!
Jared, I’m so glad you got here, and that you’re willing to give it a try. While motivation does need to come from within, having a community of support will help to keep you going. Good luck!
I’d love to join in on this challenge, although I’m starting half way through. Better late than never!
So glad you are here, Amanda! How’s your challenge coming along? I’d love to hear about your progress!
Martin Craven says
Hi Arminda. I am just about to start any tips welcome. Martin from England
I’m excited for your journey, Martin! Keep me posted; I’m cheering for you 🙂
Shawn Achor says
Thanks for sharing this research with your followers, Arminda! We need more positive psychology in the world! Please keep us posted how it goes! -Shawn
I’m feeling a bit star-struck, Shawn. Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting.
Kim Williams says
i’m all for 31% more productive brains.