The song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was the most successful song of 2014:
It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The song was Billboard‘s number-one single for 2014.
Why was it such a hit?
We all want to be happy – or happier – right? Or do we?
UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb, author of Upward Spiral, says that sometimes it may feel like your brain does not want you to be happy at all.
In my work with hundreds of clients, all say they are seeking greater success, and that greater success, based on their own definition of success, will make them happier.
I noticed that when I asked my clients and other colleagues and friends if they were happy after accomplishing a goal, they said yes – but….
Most of the time there was a but after the yes.
Did that mean that the state of happy was short lived or that they felt unsure if they were really and completely happy.
What’s your level of happiness these days?
If you’re not happy, your business will definitely be impacted.
If you’re not happy, do you think your clients can’t tell? Do you really think you are operating at optimum performance?
You’re not alone: if the number of current best sellers on the topic of happiness is any indication, happiness is hot right now.
In his bestselling book 10% Happier, Dan Harris, correspondent for ABC News, an anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America, tells the backstory to his on-air panic-attack meltdown, and how he has found a completely new pathway to happiness through mindfulness.
Brain Chemistry Rules
Our brains are controlled by a whole lot of chemistry.
Cortisol – is the stress chemical – too much and our brains become smaller in size.
Serotonin- impacts mood – especially good mood.
Dopamine – impacts motivation and reward (addiction is associated with the release of this chemical).
Endorphins – neurotransmitters that affect your perception of stress and pain, and often generate a “feel good” emotion in the body.
What Alex Korb and other researchers have found is that there is a lot we can do, sans medication, to impact our brain chemistry to the “happy” side. And if we don’t, our brains are oriented, wired, so to speak, to the negative.
And because unhappy habits are hard to break, it requires lots of repetition to forge new habits on the happiness dial.
I found this out by accident and have spent the last 4 years rewiring my brain toward the happy.
I come from a background of intense worriers, naysayers, and fear-lovers. Earlier in my career- before entrepreneurial life- I switched jobs to earn my first Vice President position. When I told my father, he didn’t congratulate me. He asked me why I had risked everything for the unknown?
Had to love my dad. (He really was just scared for me).
Rewiring my mindset has opened up completely new pathways and practices.
It caused me to create an entirely new coaching model and program, working with high performer entrepreneurs who feel burned out, stuck, unclear about what direction to take next, unhappy. They are in a state that is heavily impacted by the mind. This coaching work starts with mindset before the mechanics in business. Why? Because great business strategy and tactics won’t be implemented well if the mental fitness isn’t solid.
And developing happiness is not a once and done thing.
You cannot be ongoing-ly happy if you don’t practice happy regularly. Write that down. Tweet it.
It’s like you can’t stay clean unless you bathe or shower regularly. It’s like that.
Now for the hacks.
Happiness In 15 Minute Hacks A Day
I created these 15-minute a day practices to help me re-build the happiness muscle, and stay happy:
(Read on and then I have a *FREE Happiness Builder checklist/tip sheet* for you)
- Exercise 15 minutes 4 -5 times a week. I know I know – its a duh. However, I’m not talking about long intense workouts although one or two workouts for 30 minutes or more a week are ideal. I found I could do 12 minute HIIT (high intensity interval trainings) 15 minute kickbox sessions, 10 minute yoga stretches, 10 minutes with weights all in my house. Didn’t need a gym membership or a sunny day. I moved a little bit every day.
- Meditation. This was the TOP GAME CHANGER. I started a couple of times a week for 5 minutes. I could barely stand it. Now I meditate every day for at least 10 minutes, usually 12-15. Newsflash: after a few months my worrying was at a fraction of where it used to be!!! One of the reasons it works to up your happiness level is you’re breathing -slowly and deeply. Many of us are starved for oxygen.
- Gratitude Journaling. Its hard to not be happy when you realize how good you have it. Focusing on what is great in your life vs. what is not is chemically shifting your brain from its orientation to the negative. It is rewiring the neurons and essentially retraining your brain. Writing it down is a must. It takes 5 -10 minutes to journal in the morning.
- Make My Bed. Yup, something so silly and so basic gives my life order and calm. Somehow that messy bed adds to the feeling of stress and disorder. Bed made symbolically makes me feel like I’m in control and I feel happy looking at the pretty.
- The Right Community. This is where I put the right people around me who endorse happy. I reduced the negative conversations -staying away from gossip, complaining, and negativity. I gravitate to others where happy and uplifting are the focus. OK so this may take more than 15 minutes to accomplish but you certainly can make sure you have at least one positive conversation with someone each day. Example: I have a landscape guy who is one of the most positive guys I know. He’s always smiling, and always wants to be helpful. He works really hard but always has a positive aura around him. He’s good energy to be around. 5 minutes of chit chat once a week – Check! on the happiness meter.
Since I’ve embraced happiness as a practice, I notice that it’s easier and easier to generate it and spread it around. My clients have noticed, my business has flourished, and my friends and loved ones have noticed.
What NEW happiness hacks will you take on starting today?
Want a free Happiness Builder In 15-Minutes A Day Checklist? Click Here to get my gift to you.
I interview top entrepreneurs, experts, athletes turned entrepreneurs, authors, and psychologists on their failures, challenges, mistakes in business and how they came back mentally and tactically.