GREAT Morning People!
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Laurie Santos speak at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit. Dr. Santos is a cognitive scientist and Professor of Psychology at Yale University. 1 out of every 4 students at Yale took Dr. Santos’ class, “Psychology and the Good Life”, making it the most popular course in the school’s history.
Laurie offered up 7 top insights into the science of happiness during her talk. This week, I will share 4 of these insights and provide a bit of commentary behind them. Next week, I will share the other 3. See below for the first 4 golden nuggets:
- Happiness is still important in challenging times: It is imperative that we never put happiness on the back burner. Happiness is not some 1st world problem that we worry about once everything is sorted. The act of focusing on happiness can solve a lot of the practical problems that crises might create. Happier people are more creative, more emotionally resilient, healthier, and can take on harder tasks.
- Harness the power of post-traumatic growth: There is post-traumatic stress, but there is also post-traumatic growth. We think that to be happy in life, everything must go smoothly, but is this really the case? Studies show that traumatic experiences humble us and force us to see the bigger picture. They make us stronger and teach us what is truly important in life, in a way that we might’ve not ever understood. After trauma, we don’t always end up worse off, sometimes we end up better off. Bad situations have an enormous bright side that our minds don’t always believe in. There is always an opportunity to find light within the darkness.
- Protect yourself with social connection: Social connection makes us happier. It is the greatest predictor of long-term happiness. Experiencing loneliness (the opposite of social connection) is detrimental to both our mental and physical health. Social connection is even more important during tough times. Lucky for us, technology makes social connection viable without being physically present. Schedule a Zoom happy hour, attend a virtual exercise class, pick up the phone and call someone! Your mental health will thank you for it.
- Make time for gratitude every day: Ah, my favorite one. Truth be told, this can be hard, especially during a global pandemic! It’s hard to be thankful when people are dying, losing their jobs, and coming face to face with social injustices that have been plaguing our world for years. BUT, happy people tend to be more grateful. At the end of each day, write down 3 things you are grateful for and why. Do this before bed so you end the day on a positive note! Scribbling this down on the daily can elevate your mood and well-being! The power of gratitude can also help us achieve other goals, improve our own performance and the performance of the people around us. Sending an accolade or thanking somebody can have a HUGE impact on the recipient’s performance as they now feel appreciated and valued! Think of it as a double-edged avocado, packed with happy hormones for all.
I invite you to partake in the most nutritious activities for your happiness! We have a very unique opportunity to use happiness to make the world a better place!
Enjoy what comes of today!