Being happy is the best way to build strong relationships with ourselves and others. It helps us thrive, at work or at home. Our outlook towards everything changes for the better when we wear our glasses of happiness. Our energy, creativity, and enthusiasm flows even when faced with tough situations. A lot has been written about this subject. On reviewing them, I came to the conclusion that re-organising a few aspects in our thinking can lead to powerful outcomes both at work and at in our personal lives. Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, shares powerful secrets to making happiness a key ingredient of your life. I resonate with them and therefore want to share them with you.
- Stop chasing the future: Being fully in the present and focus on current tasks can make you happy. Constant focus on achievement in the future makes you pay the price for sacrificing your well-being in the present. Remaining in the present will make you more productive and thus, happier. Why does the present make us happy? Because we fully experience the things going on around us. Instead of getting caught up in a race to accomplish more things faster, we slow down and are actually with the people we are with, immersed in the ideas being discussed, and fully engaged in our projects.
- Step out of overdrive: Tap into your natural resilience. High intensity emotions, self-control, and negative thoughts can make us very tired even though we haven’t physically exerted much. Managing your flow of energy is the key to all your woes. Breath training helps you relax your racing mind, stay calm, and build natural resilience. In addition, take care of your body as your physical well-being impacts mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in slow-paced activities and stopping to hug a loved one can be very powerful ways of building resilience.
- Manage your energy: Straining and exerting yourself is exhausting. You lose your cool and make mistakes. Instead, remaining calm will help you conserve your energy and intuitively guide you to make the next move. The key is not to fight hard but to let go. Victory comes to you when you stop struggling.
- Get more done by doing more of nothing: There are 2 modes of thought – intense focus to achieve current goals and down time when we can day dream, let our mind wander and come up with new ideas. This mind wandering (unlike thinking about the future) is purposeful – that is, choosing to take idle time to let your mind unfocus. It helps unlock creativity. Albert Einstein attributed insight to something beyond linear thinking and logic alone. He turned to music, Mozart in particular, when he was grappling with problems and needed inspiration. He said, “I believe in intuition and inspiration… Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
- Enjoy a successful relationship with yourself: This is what separates those who thrive in the face of difficulty and those who become demoralized – the relationship with themselves. In particular, the beliefs about themselves and how they therefore treat themselves. “Believe in effort, not your strengths. Failure is success in progress. Strengths don’t just happen, they need to be developed,” maintained Albert Einstein.
I have begun practicing these tenets and begun feeling enriched from the experiences
borne out of making steady effort. Go ahead! Try them and let me know your experience.