It's a Twinderful Life

Looking For the Silver Lining in All of Life's Clouds

Finding Happiness Challenge

on April 23, 2012

Happy Monday All! Today’s post is bound to inspire, so prepare yourselves.

If you’ve read about us on our “The Twins” page you know that one thing that we will be writing about on this blog that we have become passionate about  is the subject of finding/choosing happiness in the present in any situation that life throws at you. This passion really started to develop for me a few months ago. I had been feeling pretty down (which is very contrary to my usual happy-go-lucky, optimistic self) and it was really bothering me. For those of you who don’t know me I am a recovering Type-A personality. Wanting to be in control can be very motivating most of the time, but it can also drive you crazy when things that aren’t in your control don’t go as planned. And this was the situation I was finding myself in.

So, after a few weeks of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to do something about it and started researching what true happiness really is, what brings it into our lives, and how to foster it so that we can have it in the present, no matter what happens. I had already heard the concept that happiness is a choice, but it had always bothered me because it put the responsibility on me. I wanted it to happen to me passively, without having to put much effort into it, but after a while of noticing that this approach wasn’t working for me, I knew it was time to try something different.

I’ll be writing about all of the fabulous resources I stumbled upon during the coming weeks/months, but I wanted to share something with you today that ignited the spark for me to truly believe the concept that happiness is a choice.

I was sitting in a meeting at work a couple of months ago, minding my own business, when my boss showed us the following video. I know that the video is 15 mins. long, but trust me, you’ll want to watch the entire thing (and this shouldn’t be difficult since it’s very entertaining):

Wasn’t that fabulous?! I thought so too, so much so that I wanted to stand up in the meeting and clap (but don’t worry, I didn’t and kept it profesh). Although Shawn talks specifically about how happiness is related to productivity in the workplace, I think he touches on some key points for finding happiness in our day-to-day lives.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. (“If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average”)
  • Realize your potential. (Be the “unicorn”)
  • Train your brain to look for the positive instead of the negative

Towards the end of the presentation you’ll notice that he shows a list of things that we can do to train our brains to look for the positive and to change the lens through which our minds view the world (one of the foundational concepts behind cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, for all you social worker/psychologist types out there). In case you didn’t have a chance to write them down, here they are (with a few tweaks of my own):

  • 3 Gratitudes – Write down three unique things that you are grateful for every day.
  • Journaling – Write down one thing that went well every day.
  • Exercise – Exercise for at least 20 minutes, 5 – 6 days a week (even if that means a quick stroll outside).
  • Meditation – Find 10 minutes every day where there are no distractions (TV, phone, music, kids) and just breathe and be.
  • Random Acts of Kindness – Write an e-mail to one person every day outlining something positive about that person.

There you have it. A simple, concrete way to train your brain to choose happiness in the present.

So here’s the challenge part of the post – try it out for 21 days. See if it works for you. Let’s stop pushing happiness “over the cognitive horizon.” I’ve been trying, and let me tell you, I’ve noticed a BIG difference.

Once you’ve completed the challenge, let us know how it went for you.

We’ll see you on the other side!

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4 responses to “Finding Happiness Challenge

  1. Karen (Soulier) Bourne says:

    I loved this!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. JN says:

    I have finished your 21-day challenge a few minutes ago. I can tell you that it works and that I am a better man because of it. How do you do a 21-day challenge in less than a day? The answer is efficiency.

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