Happiness Is an Activity

Cultivating a positive mindset can boost well-being and improve creativity. People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenges.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


Research shows that pursuing happiness leads not only to happiness itself, but also to success, according to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. Cultivating a positive mindset can boost well-being and improve creativity. People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenges.

Happiness Strategy #1: Choose Happy

The first step is to make a conscious choice to boost your happiness.

Choose to make happiness a top goal. Many people don't realize that happiness is a choice. Happiness depends on how we manage our emotions. Once you've decided to be happier, you can choose strategies for achieving happiness.

If you have the courage to admit when you're scared, the ability to laugh even as you cry, the nerve to speak up, even if your voice is shaking, the confidence to ask for help when you need it, and the wisdom to take it when it's offered, then you have everything you need to get yourself to a happier state of mind.

Happiness Strategy #2: Counteract Negative Thoughts and Feelings

Bad things happen to all of us every day, some worse than others. Everyone has a choice regarding how to react to these negative stimuli. You can let the stimuli keep you down or you can keep on moving forward. We choose our mood; we choose our happiness. Whether we are in a bad mood or a good mood, we chose that for ourselves. Deliberately making the decision to be happy can actually make us happy.

The key is to make a commitment to do something for yourself. Here is a truth: The more you think about something, the more it becomes real.

An astounding truth that will help you immensely in ridding yourself of negative thoughts is: Negatives only have power over you if you react to them.

Happiness Strategy #3: Cultivate Creativity

One of the biggest myths about creativity is that it's bestowed on a lucky few, and the rest of us don't have a creative bone in our bodies. The reason for this is that most of people see creativity as a luxury. Once you reposition creativity into a place of source, like breathing, it can become that automatic. The other thing is, solving creative problems often involves considering a lot of options rather than focusing on finding the one answer. In particular, feeling relaxed can help your creative juices flow. This is because states of relaxation are associated with a particular type of brain wave called alpha waves, which come about when a person is sitting calmly, usually with their eyes closed, but not asleep.
Simplify Your Life
  • What to do. Have some free time? Make it easy for yourself: Do the first thing you think of. Make an "I want" list instead of a "to do" list. Focus on what will make you feel accomplished. Make your tasks manageable. Do whichever is first.
  • What to eat. Have a list of easy-to-prepare meals, keep snacks in individually-sized portions.
  • What to stress over. Nothing -- breathe in; as you breathe out, visualize yourself breathing out all the worry. Now, continue your day.
30 ideas to motivate yourself:
  • Acknowledge what's good about your your life right now.
  • Avoid negative people.
  • Be surprised and amused by the unexpected and unusual.
  • Believe in yourself instead of luck or fate.
  • Breathe deeply whenever you feel anxious.
  • Buy a toy for yourself
  • Celebrate your failures because that's how you learn.
  • Decide to enjoy the moment more often.
  • Don't expect perfection from yourself, or anyone else.
  • Don't let indecision prevent you from taking action.
  • Don't take your successes or failures too seriously.
  • Eat food that gives you more energy.
  • Eat something really delicious every day.
  • Find an exercise you enjoy; then do it.
  • Find something to laugh about every day
  • Hang out with people who enjoy life.
  • Let your inner child out to play at least once a day.
  • Look for ways to "give back" for when you've been helped.
  • Make your home a place you truly enjoy living.
  • Only buy things that give you joy
  • Pay something forward.
  • Realize you only have control of your thoughts, not anyone else's.
  • Remember the only failure is failure to take action.
  • Set goals that are achievable, but challenging.
  • Stretch your limits; do something different.
  • Strive to become more self-reliant each day.
  • Think before you speak, and then get to the point.
  • Throw away something that's useless.
  • Toot your own horn, and pat yourself on the back once in a while.
  • Train your brain to think positive thoughts.
Feel free to contact me for information about working with me on your goals for fitness and wellbeing: