Are you on track for genuine happiness and success?

Are you on track for genuine happiness and success?Are you on track for genuine happiness and success? Well there are six keys to happiness and success according to Emma Seppala, PHD. She is the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. In her recent book The Happiness Track – How To Apply The Science Of Happiness To Accelerate Your Success, she says these six keys will help you achieve true happiness and long term success in this very fast paced, stress filled and hard driving world we live in. Some of them fly in the face of what we’ve been taught or assumed would lead us to success.

1) Live in the moment.

Life can get hectic and crazy sometimes. We are always trying to think two steps ahead of where we currently are. Worrying about what could happen in the future and regretting things we did in the past. By focusing on the here and now and what you are currently trying to accomplish, according to Seppala, you will be more productive, do a better job, and be more charismatic. Constantly focusing on the future makes you anxious. Seppela talks about the “anticipatory joy trap”. We are constantly looking for the next brain high. It’s one of the things that keeps us constantly checking our Facebook app all the time.

We need to stop chasing the future and live more in the present. Being present makes you more productive and happier. You can bring your mind into the present by practicing consciously being present. By consciously giving your full attention to the task at hand you can train your brain to be more attentive. Meditation is another good way to learn to be present. Taking a technology break and taking a walk in nature can also help you live in the moment.

2) Tap into your resilience.

We have learned to equate success with stress. It’s kind of ingrained in our culture but Seppla tells us that science has shown that this constant stress will backfire in the long run. Not all stress is bad though. Short term stress, the flight or fight reflex, has served us well in the past. It’s what can get you out of harm’s way when most needed. But long term stress is a killer. Resilience is your ability to bounce back from the stressful situations you face everyday.

We can tap into our natal resilience through mediation and or breathing exercises. Other ways to boost our resilience are by going for a walk in nature, exercise and keeping fit. Hugging a loved one and being with family and friends can also boost your natural resilience.

3) Manage Your Energy

Instead of engaging in exhaustive thoughts and emotions, learn to mange your energy by remaining calm and centered. There is a cost to be paid for this intensity. It can wear down your immune system. It can lead to constantly worrying and catastrophizing, the act of always thinking of the worst outcomes.

Learning to remain calm is the key to self control and preserving your energy. You can cultivate calmness and restore your mental energy by doing something that makes you feel positive like, listening to music, watching a funny movie or doing a random act of kindness. We can also manage our energy better by detaching from work when you’re not working. Take a break and go out into nature if possible.

4) Do nothing

Doing nothing can be the secret to accessing your creativity. Seppla says “research shows us that there are two main modes of thought on this – intense focus on the present to achieve your current goals and downtime when we can daydream, let our minds wander, and come up with new ideas”. She suggests we need to make time for nonlinear thinking. We can achieve this by making time for stillness and silence. Letting the mind wander and making time for idleness.

5) Be good to yourself

Be careful of the language you use when talking to or about yourself. Being too critical of yourself can hurt your performance and cause you to give up. It can lead to poor decision making and can make you lose touch with what you really want. Believe in effort, not strengths. Failure is success in progress. Strengths do not just happen, they need to be developed.

Being kind to yourself is understanding that you are part of humanity and that everyone makes mistakes. Learn to practice mindfulness – being aware of and validating your thoughts and feelings, yet observe them with perspective and at a distance.

6) Show compassion to others.

Showing compassion or others serves you better than self interest. Compassion increases your status and trustworthiness. Showing compassion for others inspires loyalty and engagement. Compassion for others is also good for your health. Studies have show that is strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation. It can also lower rates of anxiety and depression by buffering against the bad side effects of stress.

You can strengthen your compassion muscles by paying full attention when others are talking and verbalizing the other person’s point of view.

 

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7 Habits For Happiness And Success

successOver the years of reading self improvement books, success literature and blogs, biographies of successful people and just general real life experience I’ve found there are many habits that if adopted and sustained, have been proven to lead one down the path to happiness and success. I’ve compiled a few of them here for this post. This is by no means a complete list, and in this ever changing world we live in hopefully, we are learning more about what it takes to be successful and happy in life. The are some of the habits that have worked for me and others and I’m sure they will help you too.

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The Benefits And Keys To Setting Goals For Yourself

goal_settingMost people wait until January and the beginning of the new year to create their goals and resolutions. But really anytime is a great time to set goals for yourself. Setting goals and meeting them gives one a benchmark for their achievements and a sense of accomplishment. Having a plan of action to achieve your goal gives us a feeling that we are in control of our future to some extent. Here we will list the many benefits of setting goals for yourself as well as the keys to setting them and successfully achieving your goals.
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What Do They Mean By Positive Thinking

imagesCAE4VJN0What do they mean by positive thinking? I’m not just talking about the “glass half empty – glass half” full cliches. I talking about how to put into practice the paradigm of positive thinking and experience the real health and psychological benefits that you get from positive thinking. Thinking positive is much more than just putting on a smile and bearing through whatever you’re are going through, although there is some evidence in cases to support the idea of the physical effort of being positive leading to the internal or mental state of thinking positive. Positive thinking doesn’t mean you ignore bad things when they happen it just means you react to them differently and approach them in a more positive and productive way.

 
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Gratitude – Why We Should Start Showing Some

gratitudeThere is a line in a song, and I’m paraphrasing here, that says – that (happiness) is not getting what you want as much as wanting what you have. That is a form of gratitude. Having or showing gratitude has shown to have numerous and cascading health benefits for oneself. With all our striving for success and the hustle and bustle of trying to get ahead in everyday life, sometimes its good and apparently healthy, to step back, look around and be grateful for that we do have rather than be depressed, worried or anxious about the things that we don’t have. In fact having an attitude of gratitude can actually go a long way in setting you up to grow and succeed more. There have been many studies done in the neuroscience and psychology fields of the many health benefits of showing and keeping an attitude of gratitude. Let’s look at some of them.

 
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What’s Your Mindset? Growth Vs Fixed Mindset

mindsetWhat would you say is your dominate mindset? First of all, what do we mean by mindset and how is this a success factor? Dictionary.com defines your mindset as “a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations. An inclination or a habit.”

Your dominate mindset can go along way in determining how successful and happy you are in life. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
– Carol S. Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University and a leading expert in motivation and personality psychology suggests there are basically to prevailing mindsets. The fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

 
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Top 5 Wayne Dyer Books – IMO

wayne-dyerWe lost a great man and one of my all time favorite authors recently – Dr. Wayne Dyer. Dyer’s first book, Your Erroneous Zones was the first self help, success psychology book I ever read. It fueled my interest in this field that remains to this day. In this book I was also introduced to Abraham Maslow and his hierachry of needs which has had a major influence on not only psychology but advertising, marketing and business management as well. Dyer listed Maslow as one of his mentors. Being a teenager at the time, and full of emotions I didn’t understand, Dyer in his first few books seemed to be able to cut through all the psychological babble and explain things in a very common sense way without ever talking down to the reader. He made it sound like he had found or realized something really unique and wanted to tell all his friends (his readers) what it was.

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Can You Choose To Be Happy

happyAs the song says “Don’t worry, be happy!” A question I’ve always had is, can you just choose to be happy regardless of your current situation. And if so, is that a good thing. Well of course optimism has been well studied and has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits both physically and mentally. People who are optimistic tend to be more successful in day to day life. They have more friends and a better social scene. People tend to gravitate to happy positive people. I mean who wants to be around Debbie Downer all the time. People who are happy and optimistic tend to be able to handle stress better and can weather the eventual down times that everyone goes through. But what I was curious about is whether you can make yourself happy or is it solely based on outside circumstances.

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Exercise And The Brain

exercise and the brainYour physical health and your brain’s performance are very much related. Studies have shown that a good exercise regimen can have very positive effects when it comes to learning and memory. It provides protection from neurodegeneration and can alleviate depression especially in the elderly. Exercise can increase synaptic elasticity or the ability of synapses to strengthen over time. Since memories are represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory. On a lower level exercise increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the bodily release of a bunch of hormones, which provide nourishment for the growth of brain cells. Running in particular has shown to be a potent cerebral enhancer. Some studies have shown it to have the ability to spark neurogenesis, which is the growth of new brain cells.
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Mindfulness – What Is It And How Can It Help

mindfulnessMindfulness is described as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It is also described as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while only acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. In layman’s terms it is a state of open consciousness where you are aware of things – thoughts, feelings, sensations – but from a distance. You are not judging and are just observing them. You are living in the moment so to speak. In my mind it is a close relative to meditation and they’re usually used together but can be separate. Research has shown that mindfulness has many benefits beyond just relaxing the mind.

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