|Welcome to "SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS" - March 25, 2009:|
Helping You Create What Matters MOST in Life and Work --
With Whatever Life Throws At You!
Bruce Elkin: Life/Work Design & Transitions Coach
> This Week: "Happiness and Success"
"Success is not the key to happiness.
Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
Spring is slowly creeping across the West Coast landscape. It's about a month late, but, hey, better late than never. It's sunny but breezy out today; a good day to walk along the cliff tops and watch the kite surfers in their multi-colored splendor.
I go for a lot of walks, partly for exercise, and partly because walking in nature makes me happy. And, as Schweitzer points out about being happy is a key part of being successful.
A brisk walk (even as little as 10 minutes, if it's brisk enough that you just break a sweat) is enough to reduce stress and lift your spirits. It clears away the stress hormones from your cell surfaces and makes room in the receptor sites for feel good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.
When your bloodstream and cell surfaces as filled with these feel good hormones, it's easier to do what matters to you—and do it well.
You work with greater efficiency and effectiveness. You have more stamina. You are more realistically optimistic. You feel more energized and engaged. In a word, you are happier.
Recently, Positive Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky published The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. In it, she provides us with helpful ideas about how we can deal with the stress of down times, and stay up, energized, happy, and successful--in spite of our circumstances.
Tip 1. Practice realistic optimism. Don't judge reality; describe it -- as accurately and objectively as you can.
To avoid feeling pessimistic, and to increase your optimism she advises not to "ruminate". Don't overthink the negative things you experience. Do something about them. Ask yourself, What can I learn from this? What's the upside of this? How can I turn this into something positive?
Tip 2. Be Kind to others. In these times, it's important to reach out to friends and family. Scientists have found that doing nice things for them, and strangers, can make you happier.
Yesterday, for example I was walking to the post office when a man stopped me and another walker, and asked us to help him life his mother in her wheelchair up the stairs to her dentist's office.
As the three of us hauled the slightly nervous lady up two short flights of stairs, she told us, "I'm going to be 100 in May." I was thrilled. I'd never talked to anyone that old before, and her bright smile was a great reward.
Suddenly, my walk to the PO was wonder-filled. My day was brighter. There was a spring in my step and a sparkle in my eyes. All just for helping someone.
Tip 3: Focus more on your relationships. Don't worry if you can't afford to buy your kids the newest toys or fashions. Spend more time with them; be nicer to them, less grumpy and upset. That's what they really want. In down times, nurturing your loved ones and friends is not only good for them; it's good for you.
Tip 4. Focus on a goal that matters to you. "If you find a happy person, says Lyubomisrky, "you will find a project. Happy people all have goals they care about."
It doesn't have to be a big goal, just something you care enough about to create. Indeed, a key to success—and happiness—is breaking large goals or results down into sub-result and sub-results, and then creating the pieces that will, in time, add up to the desired result.
And don't get fixated on goals that you can't pursue during these down times. Adapt. Change. Do what you can. Psychologist have found that it is very difficult to be active and depressed at the same time.
Tip 5: Take good care of your body, and your health. In down times, it is easy to skip meals or miss exercise and languish in front of the TV, ruminating about all that's wrong with your life.
This brings us full circle to getting out for a walk. It's good for your body. It's good for your health. It makes you happier. And it shifts your perspective from pessimistic to more realistically optimistic.
Another useful suggestion from Lyubomisrky is to meditate. Increasingly, research is showing that regular meditation changes the way we relate to reality, making us more realistically optimistic — the optimum state for generating success.
So, exercise regularly, be kind to others, nurture your relationships, take action on your goals, and get out for short walks during your day to clear away stress and increase your optimism. You'll be better for it.
> VIDEO ON "POSITIVITY" AND HOPE WITH BARBARA FREDRICKSON
Another positive psychologist, Barbara Fredrickson has just published a book called "Positivity: (…) How To Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive." She shares her key insights in this uplifting 6-minute video.
Check it out; it'll make you feel more positive and happy.
> ARTICLE: POSITIVE EMOTIONS: PEAK PERFORMANCE IN BODY, MIND, AND SOUL
Positive emotions are key to peak performance in body, mind, and soul. And you can consciously create positive emotions, using the positive psychology findings in this article. You can be a force for negative mental health, or a force for positive mental health - it's up to you!
Access the article at http://tinyurl.com/Pos-Emotions
Other articles of mine on this topic at:
“Positive emotions are not trivial luxuries, but instead might be critical necessities for optimal functioning.”
— Barbara Fredrickson
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
— Marcel Proust
"Many people have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
-- Helen Keller
"As for the pursuit of happiness: The more we make it a target, the more widely we miss. Happiness is, and will always remain, the unintended effect of meaningful activity."
— Victor Frankl
"True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new."
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do."
— Freya Stark
> 3 FOR 2 DEA.L ON MY BOOKS!
Just a reminder that one of the ways I support myself, and this newsletter/blog, is by selling my books from my website. For more info, or to purchase:
• Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For (Trade paperback or ebook)
• Emotional Mastery: Manage Your Moods & Create What Matters--With Whatever Life Gives You! Ebook.
• Creating Sustainable Success: How We Can Transcend Problems, and Create Simple Yet Rich, Healthy, and Sustainable Lives! Ebook.
>PICK UP THE FIRST TWO ON THE SITE, AND I'LL THROW IN THE THIRD ONE, TOO!
Buying books is a win/win way for you to support the newsletter and me.
I do appreciate your support!
>NEW EBOOK JUST ABOUT TO LAUNCH
>Also, I'm just about finished a new ebook titled Staying Up In Down Times: Creating Resilience, Results, and Rewards. I'm going to be making it available to anyone who wants it, as my gift. Stay tuned!
Here's what Vicki Robin, co-author of the million-selling book Your Money Or Your Life? said about Staying Up In Down Times —
"Bruce's approach goes beyond coping with hard times. He helps you embrace life's complexity, and use it as raw material to create results you want. If life gives you lemons, you don't just make lemonade - you make a delicious lemon soufflé. Your life isn't just less bad or a little better - it is energized in a whole new way. I use some of Bruce's tools and can testify to their awesome power."
>Want a preview: http://hubpages.com/hub/Staying-Up-In-Down-Times
Have a wonderful week!