The 5-Step Happiness Challenge
You have the power to change your own happiness. That’s a bold statement, isn’t it?
The power of positivity is no new idea. It’s been talked about for centuries, from the Bible to Buddhism, and everything in between. But what determines our happiness? Is it our environment? Our genetics?
Neither, according to Shawn Achor, researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage. Based on his research and case studies, what actually predicts long-term levels of happiness are the conscious choices and habits we make in our daily lives.
“It’s not necessarily reality that shapes us, it’s the lens through which we view the world that shapes our reality,” Shawn says in his Ted Talk on How to Be Happier.
Shawn’s research concludes that when people find ways to focus on the positive, they can change the lens through which they view their reality.
The Daily 5-Step Happiness Challenge
According to Shawn, by engaging in even just two minutes of these 'lens-adjusting' exercises each day over a period of 21 days, you can increase your happiness, boost productivity – and even extend your lifespan. Now that's some super-powered positivity!
1. Write out 3 things you’re grateful for
This can be as big as a new promotion at work, or as small as the new nail polish color on your toes! By writing down what you’re grateful for and why, you’re reminding yourself that there are indeed good things to be thankful for in your life.
2. Journal for 2 minutes about a positive experience in the past 24 hours
Working in much the same way as the previous point, writing in detail about a memorable experience that’s positively affected you will remind you that good things exist and they’re actively happening to you!
3. Engage in 15 minutes of fun, mindful exercise
This is great activity to do first thing in the morning to get that blood pumping and that brain working. Remember, the purpose of this exercise isn’t to get all sweaty or ‘get swole.’ All you’re looking for is enough activity to get those exercise endorphins pumping. So even if you’re just going for a nice and easy walk, or some gentle yoga – it all counts!
--> Be sure to replenish those fluids and drink enough H20 after this exercise. Also, check out the 6 Super-Powered Health Benefits of Staying Hydrated.
4. Meditate for 2 minutes
Take a moment and allow your mind to be still and rest. If the whole concept of meditation confuses you, try downloading an app such as Headspace for a more guided meditation. Or, just sit down and allow your brain to stay silent, and try to gently guide it back to the moment if your thoughts start tugging at your attention. Remember, this one is trickier than it sounds and can at first feel quite boring, but it’s worth it over the long term!
5. Write out a single, positive message to someone (or do some other random act of kindness)
When we’re kind to others, it creates a powerfully rewarding feeling within us too! Now, this doesn’t have to be something huge – it doesn’t even have to be as big as buying a stranger their morning coffee. It can be as simple as sending a text message to a friend or colleague telling them what a great job they’re doing, or how much you admire certain characteristics they have. It can also be as simple as smiling at someone as you pass them by on the street. There are opportunities for random kindness acts everywhere!
Hair Love’s BONUS Challenge: Write down your intention for the day!
This step acts as a touchstone, helping to pull you back to the ground if the stresses of the day threaten to spin you out of control. Some examples of intentions are:
- I will be more patient with others today
- I will be more thoughtful in my answers today
- I will have more faith in my abilities today
- I will take every chance I get to be more active today (biking/walking to work, taking the stairs, etc.)
- I will drink more water or try to make healthier food choices today
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It’s not all sunshine and rainbows
You might be saying to yourself, "Now hold on. I can’t just have my head in the clouds all day, pretending there are no problems I need to deal with."
Keep in mind the point of this exercise is NOT to pretend you have no problems, but to increase the fuel in your ‘happy tank’ so you can better manage the stresses you face on a day-to-day basis.
Happiness is a choice - and you can make it!
At Hair Love, we want you to live out your happiest life, from the inside out, and so, we encourage you to give this daily happiness challenge a try! See how much of a difference it makes in your life over the next 21 days.
In the words of Shawn Achor, “Happiness is a choice and happiness is possible!”
And you can do it, beauty!
Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash