Last year, the American Psychological Association named millenials the most stressed generation. In a study commissioned by the association, nearly 40% of Gen Y said their stress levels had increased over the previous year. Nearly 44% reported feeling irritable or angry because of that stress and 19% had been told they suffered with depression.
So what’s causing all that stress? 76% of millenials said their work was a significant stressor. Which all begs the questions, are we really going about the pursuit of happiness the right way?
Harvard graduate and CEO of Good Think, Inc., Shawn Achor, has been studying positive psychology and the effects of happiness. His consulting firm, Good Think Inc., researches positive outliers – people who are well above average – to understand where human potential, success, and happiness intersect.
Your Pursuit of Happiness
Over the past few years Achor’s research has shown most companies and schools follow the philosophy that “if I work harder, I’ll be successful and if I’m more successful then I’ll be happier.” Shawn argues that it’s the other way around. If you’re happy, you’ll be more successful because the way you view the world actually shapes your reality.
During a TED Talks presentation, Shawn explained that 90% of your long-term happiness is not predicted by the external world but by the way your brain processes the world. He challenges people to raise their level of positivity, and in turn your brain will experience a “happiness advantage”. ‘Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral, or stressed” Shawn said. He goes on to explain that not only does your intelligence, creativity, and energy levels rise, but every positive business outcome improves from experiencing better productivity to better sales and job security.
Train Your Brain for Happiness
Shawn’s research shows that there are ways to train your brain to become more positive to improve your potential and become more successful. And the great news is that it only takes two minutes over 21 days in a row to rewire a brain to become more positive and optimistic.
Here are five things Shawn says you can do to train your brain for happiness:
1. Write down three things you’re grateful for
Why? Your brain will learn to scan the world for the positives and not the negatives.
2. Journal about a positive experience
Why? It lets your brain relive it.
Why ? It teaches your brain that your behavior matters.
Why? Helps your brain to focus.
5. Perform random acts of kindness
Why? Helps create “ripples of positivity.”
For more information and steps to leveraging happiness in your career, life, and job search, check out Achor’s TED Talk presentation or his recently released book, The Happiness Advantage.
Not only does happiness and positive thinking have the ability to impact your emotions, stress level, and immunity, it can also make a difference in your overall well-being. Let us know how thinking positively benefits you, share with us in the comments section below.