It happened again last week. While volunteering at a conference, I met Coach Valerie Alexander selling her book, “Happiness …as a Second Language.” One glance at the cover and I was hooked. As I rummaged through my purse for cash, Valerie presented me with a bright lemon-yellow motivational wristband declaring, “Speak Happiness.” I offered up my most gracious smile. In my book an inspirational band beats a gold bangle.
Full disclosure: I am a junkie, to be specific, a happiness junkie. Whenever I find myself near a book about happiness, I must take it home and add it to my library. Sure, I knowingly practice joy and bliss. On most days, that comes naturally. But I delight in the study of happiness and aspire to one day earn an honorary degree in the subject.
As a life and career coach, it is sometimes my responsibility to guide clients back on the path to their happy zone.
Let’s face it, life happens and when discord enters our lives like an unwanted guest, feelings of contentment vanish. Gloomy days turn into dark nights. Unless we make a concerted effort to get back to the light, depression sets in. Mood disorders gone unchecked can influence chronic health conditions. Consequently, happiness is strongly linked to good health thus the popular cliché, “laughter is the best medicine.”
In her book, Alexander writes about achieving permanent happiness. I’m not certain we can always achieve an everlasting buoyant frame of mind, but I do believe a solid understanding of happiness techniques help negate our blue moods.
So when stuck in reverse, what are some activities that pull us out of the doldrums? My first “go to” is to focus on finding one positive in a negative situation. Stay with it until you can find one.
Next, shift to something that needs your attention. Glimmers of happiness return we when take our minds off our troubles by getting productive. As so aptly professed by the Dalai Lama, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
The Dalai quote brings me to another strategy to blow away the blues. In a word, kindness. Did you know practicing daily acts of kindness generates a physical reaction?
Your brain produces serotonin bringing a content, almost blissful feeling. A friend of mine refers to it as a “kindness kick.”
When time permits, get on the move. Thrust those endorphins into gear by a solid workout. Or, immerse yourself in nature. Head out the door with a notepad or camera. Jot down or photograph any sign of surrounding beauty.
Want an activity more energizing? Turn up the music and rock out with your favorite playlist.
This week invest some time into understanding how to create and cultivate a positive mindset. Get serious about the study of happiness. The happiest people on the planet are probably individuals who did homework on the subject.