I just watched (another) TED talk and I am pumped and simply HAD to share what I'm thinking about right. now.
Shawn Achor's talk about the happy secret to better work is a game-changer. Game. Changer. In 12 short minutes, Shawn talks about learning how to scan the world for the positive, not the negative; how to be positive in the present; how to retrain our minds to live in happiness... Yes, yes, yessssss! Fist pump, high five, herky jump... all of it.
As I read Facebook post after Facebook post that spreads toxicity, negativity, and dread (particularly in the midst of this political season), I sometimes want to scream and shout and stomp my feet and reach into my computer to shake said status-posters and say, 'STOP IT!' Just stop it. That kind of toxicity and negativity is not helping anyone--let alone the author. Posting negativity only makes you slug around in the negativity for longer as others catch on and post their own negativity and the cycle continues... boo.hiss.
When I ask someone how they are and I receive a three minute rant about how this is bad and that is bad and that future thing is going to be awful, I want to hit the rewind button and ask instead, 'What's lighting up your life today?'
When I make eye contact with someone--a stranger--and we lock eyes and I smile and they don't, I want to back up, grab them, and MAKE them smile, too. They must not know what smiling does for the brain.
Cheesy? Perhaps. But I've been there, done that; I've lived in that negativity and it stinks. When I decided to focus on the 'awesomeness' of everyday, my life changed. Am I happy ALL the time? Nope. Am I happier than I've ever been, though? Yup.
Wanna know the secret? It's because I decided to be. That's it. I changed my mindset. I decided to be grateful on a daily basis, I decided to say out loud, 'THIS is awesome,' when I was living within awesome, and I decided that in order to make the most of this precious life, I needed to appreciate all the goodness that lives in every day (yes, even during long lay-overs in airports, hotel rooms, schools without air conditioning, and towns without Starbuck's).
Sure, sure, I'm definitely still a work-in-progress, moving in and out of this space, and I'm certainly not feeling 'full of awesome' every. single. day. but here's what I know for sure: When I was living within a space of SERIOUS negativity towards the end of my doctoral program, I was MISERABLE. Not only was I in misery regarding my dissertation, I also found myself to be a miserable wife, a miserable friend, a miserable dog-owner, a miserable blog-writer... you get the idea. It spreads. Ewwww.
So I pulled out of that space, changed my mindset, committed to being purposefully happy every damn day and I've never been happier. I keep a gratitude journal, I purposely spend the majority of my day smiling, I exercise, I meditate (ish), and I write... all the 'secret' components to happiness. I figure if one of these is the 'key,' I'll try 'em all... should lead to even greater happiness... and that's a good thing.
Try it. You might LIKE it. I dare you.