Today is Day 16 of my Happiness Hacks series.
Today’s hack came to me via my Facebook feed. Big Brother Facebook knows the kind of articles I like to read, so tempting links conveniently pop-up as suggestions and side-track me from other more productive things I could be getting done.
This one, titled “Do these exercises for two minutes a day and you’ll immediately feel happier, researchers say,” caught my eye, of course.
In the article, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, is interviewed about five quick, daily habits that are scientifically proven to boost happiness. I decided that for today’s hack I would just go ahead and test them all out.
I’ve known about these habits from Achor’s book and my other research in the field of positive psychology, but I haven’t been regularly practicing most of them. As the article states, these are daily practices that eventually lead to positive outcomes over time, so doing them just one time won’t tip the happiness scale much. But practicing these happiness boosting activities did inspire me to start doing a few of them more regularly.
Here are the activities, as listed in the article, that I tried today:
#1 Three Acts of Gratitude
Think of, share, or write down three things you’re grateful for from “out in the world.” This keeps you from being repetitive and being thankful for the same things every day (health, family, work, etc.).
#2 The Doubler
Think of one positive experience from the past 24 hours and remember as much as you can about it by jotting down details about the experience. No sentences needed, just bullet points that help you remember and have the positive feelings all over again.
#3 Fun Fifteen
Fifteen minutes of cardio exercise – a quick walk will do.
Two minutes of breathing, while doing nothing else. I had to set a timer and close my eyes!
#5 Conscious Acts of Kindness
Spend two minutes (preferably at the very start of your day) writing a text, email, or note thanking one person or telling them something you like about them.
The article says you only need two minutes, but that’s for each activity (longer for the exercise one), so to do all of these, every day, would take closer to 30 minutes. I think #5 is the one I’m going to focus on this week as my new habit, and then I’ll get my family back on the gratitude track for November.
Happy Sunday, friends!
Do these exercises for two minutes a day, Washington Post article
Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage:
“Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.”