January has come to an end and you may have noticed your motivation to make changes and reach new goals diminishing. Maybe you have fallen back into old routines and habits and are feeling stuck. We get it, we have all experienced the struggle of hitting a plateau, which is why we encourage you to focus on building your new mental toughness. Along with building mental toughness, we hope you will strive for happiness. Take a moment and reflect, "Am I happy? Do I know what happiness is?" That last question really stands out to us. What is happiness? Most of us believe the must and haves. I must achieve my goals. I have to obtain that promotion or invest in material things to be happy. Working towards goals and achieving success may lead you to happiness, but research within the field of positive psychology is shifting its focus to becoming happy first!
Positive psychology emphasizes the strengths and abilities of individuals that include contents of happiness, life quality, and optimism (Dfarhud, Malmir, & Khanahmadi, 2014). The idea of positive psychology alters the traditional view of focusing on one's negative symptoms, impairments and disorders. Happiness is an emotion that is formed from interactions between internal and external factors (Dfarhud, Malmir, & Khanahmadi, 2014). Researcher Shawn Achor uses positive psychology to explain how he believes happiness fuels success. A must watch is his Ted Talk titled The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance. Taking a closer look at the science of building happiness, Achor states, “if I know everything about your external world, I can only predict 10% of your long-term happiness”. This would leave the remaining 90% to be the way your brain processes the world and your internal factors (Achor, 2011). Researchers in psychology are discovering that we are in control of a large part of how we view the world, interpret, and make meaning! Our thoughts and processing influence our emotions. Building awareness into your experience provides an opportunity for you to switch your mindset to focus less on using external factors that drive you to happiness, but instead experiencing happiness within the process that will lead you to successful outcomes.
Being intentional about finding enjoyment in the process will assist you in reaching the end goal. Try shifting your focus when working toward your newly formed goals for 2018. Like Achor, TOPPS believes that you will find more success if you find happiness first. We have developed our #TOPPSTips that explore methods to becoming more internally happy.
Mindful Miles: mindfulness helps to increase your emotional well-being by regulating your brain’s emotions through mindful meditation (David & Hayes, 2011). Take a mindful walk or use the triple threat breathing technique to release any negative energy and create awareness in your current being.
Sharing is Caring: Kindness is linked to being happier (Otake, Shimai, Tanaka-Matsumi, Otsui, & Fredrickson, 2006). Perform at least one act of kindness towards another person each day to spark positive emotions within yourself.
Positive Process: accept, acknowledge, and appreciate the work you are doing. Making life changes is hard - validate, reward, and enjoy the changes as they come.
Social Support: surround yourself with positive social support to improve your internal happiness. Misery loves miserable company. Negative energy is contagious, but so is positive energy. Embrace those that support and encourage your strengths!
We know that reaching for internal happiness is difficult, but sometimes we focus so much on external factors driving our joy that we forget to find happiness within ourselves. Practice these #TOPPSTips to strive to find that warm feeling inside yourself. If you find that you are struggling to shift your mindset, and are experiencing significant negative emotions and thoughts that are impacting your goals, we have highly trained psychologists that are available to help you make the most out of life. Get in touch!
Achor, S. (2011, June). The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXy__kBVq1M
Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2011). What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research. American Psychological Association, 48(2), pp. 198 208. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/pst-48-2-198.pdf
Dfarhud, D., Malmir, M., & Khanahmadi, M. (2014). Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors- Systematic Review Article. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 43(11), 1468–1477. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449495/
Krentzman, A. R. (2013). Review of the Application of Positive Psychology to Substance Use, Addiction, and Recovery Research. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors : Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors, 27(1), 151–165. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3531570/
Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui, K., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Happy People Become Happier Through Kindness: A Counting Kindnesses Intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(3), 361–375. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1820947/