Recently for my job, I was sent on a course about how to have a happy, positive way of thinking in life. No, it wasn’t an anger management course and no I was not sent on it because I’m a grump bag! It started by reading a parable called The Orange Frog. All the frogs in the pond were green, when one of them started to think positive, he became more orange. At first, the other frogs thought being orange and different was a bad thing. But the positivity started to rub off on all the frogs around him and soon they all became orange. They realised that although bad things may happen in their life, their outlook could change the way they were affected by it.
When I first started reading the book, I couldn’t help but think of my thoughts before I emigrated. I was worried that because I was different, it may stop me from getting a job, especially in education where half of the words I say are usually greeted by confused faces! It turned out that me being different, made me stand out in a good way, people wanted to listen to what I had to say!
At the end of the course, we were offered a book, the one that was a more in-depth version of The Orange Frog…minus the frogs…called:
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – $20.21 ($10.99 on Kindle) by Shawn Achor
Even though I was sent on the course for my normal job, I couldn’t help but apply some of the principles to my blog and my personal life. Put it this way, the evening I got home from the course, I finalised a collaboration deal and pitched to 2 other companies, which I ended up partnering with those too! It gave me the confidence to think, what’s the worst that could happen? I won’t hear back? I’ll get a no? It turned out that I got 3 positive results, which made me feel even more positive.
So I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite ways from the book (and course) to become more positive. I actually use these in my own life.
I don’t know why I stopped this one. Ages ago I downloaded a free app on iTunes called ‘Take A Break’ to help me de-stress at my old job. When I quit my job, I didn’t see the point in continuing to meditate if I had eliminated the stress in another way. However, on the course we were told to try and start a happiness habit, meditation was on the list so I opted for that. I literally put the app on when I go to bed and just listen to it until I fall asleep, having something to concentrate on cleared my mind and helped me to fall asleep so much quicker. I actually didn’t turn my app on one night (after doing it every night for 3 weeks) and I was tossing and turning for hours, so it’s definitely helped me!
I’ve booked to do an early morning Yoga session during my WITS conference and I plan to go a couple of times while staying in Caye Caulker, Belize! It’s something I’ve not done before so I’m looking forward to trying it!
“Find something to look forward to”
When I first moved to America, I was having a hard time with the fact I had no travels lined up in the future. For the past 6 years AT LEAST, I’ve always had at least 2 trips in planning/booked up stages, I suddenly felt lost having nothing to look forward to. Low and behold, as soon as I booked up my summer travels, I started to feel more positive. Yes they were a good 7-8 months away but having something that I could research and get excited about again just felt awesome.
Thank you Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, ever since I bought one back in May 2016, I’ve been obsessed with making it vibrate by doing my 13,000 steps every day. If I don’t do all the steps during my normal daily activity, I’ll ‘top it up’ by going for a walk until I hit my goal. I feel like a failure if I don’t reach 13k, so of course I feel like I’ve succeeded when I do. Therefore exercising makes me happy. I’ve also become addicted to unique 5k runs, last year I took part in one with inflatable obstacles and this year I’m doing a bubble run!
I’ve always documented my travels, but since moving to America, I’ve been keeping up a journal with the aim of releasing it as a book, documenting the first year of being an Expat. Ok so I do document the bad stuff too, but it helps you to find the positive things that have happened and when you write them down, you remember the happiness you felt the first time you experienced it! It then makes you happy again when you re-read it again in the future! I LOVE looking at my travel journals, they are full of so many happy memories and one of my most treasured possessions.
“Spend money (but not on stuff)”
Money shouldn’t be what makes us happy, but there’s no getting around the fact that without money, I can’t travel…and travel makes me happy! Shawn says in his book that yes, money does indeed make us happy BUT spending it on things like experiences makes us more happy than the temporary happiness that comes from buying material things…just like travel bloggers all over the web say, buy experiences, not things!
I didn’t do 3 gratitudes, but every day for 2 years, I had a ‘Happy Jar’. At the end of each day, I’d look back and find 1 thing that made me happy, I was looking for the positive moments in my day. It didn’t have to be big things, sometimes it was simple things like ‘the sun was out’, ‘I got to wear shorts today’, ‘the ice cream van came’! At the end of the year, I could look at the full jar and be thankful I had that many things that had made me happy.
“Exercise a signature strength”
Shawn mentions a website in his book that involves a quick test to find out what your signature strengths are. Out of curiosity, I decided to see what mine were. My top 4 fell into 2 of 6 possible categories, wisdom and courage. My greatest strength according to the website (which now explains quite a lot!!) is ‘Love of Learning’. I love learning about new countries around the world and especially since starting my blog, I’m constantly learning new things, whether it’s HTML, how to market myself or how to connect with brands and readers. I signed up for The Blogging Course (£125 discounted to £99 for the first 50 people enrolled on the 12 week course) which ultimately resulted in the whole rebranding of my blog and in April I’m heading to the WITS blogging conference! (My top 5 strengths were: Love of learning, perseverance, curiosity, honesty and love…for the nosey people!)
We were told on the course to have a ‘social investment partner’ that helps you to keep up with your positive habits…if you share them, you’re more likely to continue doing them, so I’m sharing some of my ways I try and be happy with my readers! How are some ways that you bring happiness and positivity into your life? I’ll help and encourage you in return!
Please note, that I do not take any credit for coming up with these positive habits. That’d be the work of Shawn Anhor, I just wanted to share my experience on how the things he mentions in The Happiness Advantage really do work! I haven’t even scratched the surface on the ways to bring positivity into your business/work! For that, you’ll have to buy the book and read it for yourself, it really is a good read! 🙂
You can buy The Happiness Advantage on Amazon: HERE (book version $20.21/Kindle version $10.99)
Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking. It comes at no extra cost to you! I was sent on The Happiness Advantage training course as part of my job but as always, opinions are my own.