This week we are looking at insights from Shawn Achor’s terrific book on positive psychology, The Happiness Advantage. 

Key takeaway: Happiness is not a mood.  Rather, it is something we can work at.  Even get better at.   

As with many things in life, the first step is awareness.  But just being aware of happiness doesn’t make us happier, we have to take action!  Shawn reminds us that information is not transformation.  [Aside: as those who work with me will tell you, that’s became one of my favorite sayings…] 

Next question: what behaviors make us happier?  Shawn gives us a list of research-based actions that if done consistently over time will boost our happiness:       

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness
  • Commit “conscious acts of kindness”, for example, reach out to someone in your social network and thank or complement them
  • Infuse positivity into your surroundings
  • Exercise
  • Spend money on experiences, not stuff
  • Exercise a signature strength

Insight: the best time to plant a tree was 20-years ago.  The next best day is… today.  

Reflection:  What assumptions do I have about my ability to make myself happier?   

Action: Select one item from the list above and challenge myself to do it for 21-straight days.

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