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Happiness guru Shawn Achor has worked out perhaps the best answer to the proverbial glass-half-empty saying. “[Oprah] did like my metaphor that it doesn’t matter if the cup is half empty or half full — the traditional pessimist/optimist argument — if we have a full pitcher of water nearby.”
Read more This Is Why You Should Be Meditating
That’s not the only thing the powerhouse talk show host, actress and philanthropist has gleaned from him in the years they’ve worked together. (He also advises business executives in Fortune 500 companies, the White House and Pentagon.) No matter who he’s talking to, Achor’s advice is the same: “Believe your behavior matters. Happiness is a choice, it’s an advantage, and it spreads.”
One of the participants in Buick’s 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive program — his podcast is available now — Achor himself subscribes to the “Greek definition of happiness: The joy we feel when striving toward our potential. In the science of happiness, we are not studying fleeting pleasure, but a greater, more important sense of joy and fulfillment.”
To that end, we asked the former Harvard University staffer for his top tips on how to practice so-called “happiness hygiene” every day.
1. Meditate for two minutes: This can be as simple as taking your hands off the keyboard and watching your breath go in and out.
2. Think of three unique things you’re grateful for and write them down.
3. Spend two minutes journaling about a positive experience — your brain literally relives that experience.
4. Spend two minutes writing a positive email each day. This will increase your levels of happiness and spread it to others, which we call the ripple effect.
The bottom line, Achor says he realized in his studies at Harvard, is that “everyone had the formula to success backwards. We were putting happiness as our goalpost for finishing a degree, getting an amazing job, etc. When you do that, you never allow yourself to be happy. Instead, the science shows that experiencing the happiness of daily life allows us to be better at everything we do.”
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