Early last year I graduated from a Positive Psychology program led by Harvard Professor, Lecturer and Author, Tal Ben Shahar. The program profoundly changed my life both personally and professionally; what I learned transformed the course of my work and the way I live.
I graduated realizing that happiness truly is a practice, not a destination. Our happiness can continue to grow over our lifetime. Like a garden needs sunlight and water our wellbeing requires us to bring light to what matters most to us, and to water those things with our actions and choices.
More and more research and journals are reporting the benefits of positive emotions. Scientists and Psychologists have even found evolutionary benefits of feeling good and being happy. We don't only survive by being on high alert and staying out of the way of danger; although that is certainly important!
Science demonstrates that positive emotions like joy, awe, gratitude, love, serenity, hope, amusement and inspiration can transform us; helping us develop into thriving, creative, mindful, socially integrated, healthy and more satisfied individuals.
Of course we all experience negative and positive emotions. Positive Psychology does not exclude negative emotions or focus only on positive emotions as an outcome. However we now know cultivating positivity in our daily lives can help us heal and deal with the negative. Positive emotions make us more physically, emotionally and psychologically resilient. The wisdom traditions teach us that by creating change on the level of the mind we can transform every level of our experience.
So what are happiness boosters? They are those choices and actions that bring light to what is already good about our lives and what brings us joy and pleasure. Happiness boosters are natural healers and become the fuel that sustains us. For instance hiking, spending time with friends, gardening, dancing, singing, being alone, reading and so on...
Make a list of those things that bring you happiness and then make time in your life (everyday) to practice those things, even if just for a few minutes. A few minutes can make a big difference!
Two happiness boosters for me are time with my family and being outside. This past week I went hiking, biking and to the zoo with my husband and baby. I am very busy as a woking mom but I know that carving this time out makes me a better person on every level and recharges me so I have more to give to myself and those I love!
Boost your happiness today. It is in your hands!