Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well lived”. Her statement triggers self-reflection on your journey to happiness, to reach “a life well lived” aka your own work life harmony. The happiness definition we identify with is a scientific one as the “science of subjective wellbeing”. Research conducted at the University of California by Sonja Lyubomirsky reveals that sustainable happiness is determined 10% by your environment and circumstances, 50% by your genes, and 40% by your intentional activities, your life choices and behaviors.
The actions you take make a big difference in that available 40%.
So what life choices and behavior do you choose for a sustainable happiness to endorse your work life harmony?
1. Know your Values and Put Them into Action:
Your values are your core beliefs, the inner voice in your head that tells you what is bad and what is good for you to do. Their function is to create your intentions, which are then exposed to the eyes of the world through your choices and behavior. Since 40% of our happiness is determined by your choices and behavior, it is essential to know and to align yourself to your values since they have direct impact on your wellbeing and work life harmony.
2. Self-Assessment: “Know Thy Self”:
In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman refers to self-assessment as the positive judgment of one’s own capacity to perform. The key elements of this competency are being self aware of your strengths and weaknesses, be able to learn from your experience, be opened to feedback and new perspectives, and finally to show a sense of humor and perspective about yourself.
Knowing your inner strengths and limits allows you to gain clarity about yourself and self-confidence, therefore, contributing to your happiness and work life harmony.
Optimism is your secret weapon in the face of adversity; it’s our prime factor to how well you adapt and how resilient you are. Dr Martin Seligman, the father figure of positive psychology refers to optimism as “a reaction to a problem with a sense of confidence and high personal ability”. Optimistic people believe that negative events are temporary, limited in scope (vs. being pervasive), and don’t them take them personally.
Optimism is a contributor to your happiness and work life harmony as it allows you to broader your scope of achievement, to be healthier, and to live a more enjoyable life. It is a skill you can learn and practice thanks to the emotional intelligence competences self-awareness and self-control.
4. The Strategy of Reframing:
It is one of the Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) happiness strategies that show you how possible it is to change your mindset from negative to positive by:
- Listening to your internal dialogue or even the expressed words that you tell yourself.
- Focusing on the situations you use those phrases and on any feelings you have.
- Being aware of what you are telling yourself leads you to say “stop”, to explore deeper by questioning the validity of those talks. Are they true or false? What is the evidence that you have to back those assumptions? For example, if you tell yourself that you CAN NOT change something, how about you ask yourself if you CAN change it.
By reframing your thoughts, you are actually training yourself to pay attention to the irrationality of it and start thinking positively and confidently.
5. The Neuroscience of Happiness:
Our brain has negative biases and is very proficient at learning from bad experiences. However it is also very bad at learning from the good ones. Hence, when your brain experiences a positive experience, it faces a bottleneck in your brain. The purpose of being mindful of happy moments is to pop open this bottleneck and gradually let in those good experiences in order to rewire your brain.
When you experience a moment of fulfillment and wellbeing, be mindful of it and use your five senses to embrace and fully absorb the present moment. What did you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel? A little trick to absorb this moment is to create a log and write down those feelings.
The purpose of this exercise is to gradually prolong this feeling of wellbeing. By doing so, you are transferring this experience from the short-term memory buffer to long-term memory storage of your brain.
6. How do You Enhance Your happiness?
Let’s be realistic. We all want to be happy and most of the time we are wondering “but how.” We have the intention to do so and don’t know how to pursue Happiness. Indeed, it is not as easy as we would think it is. The following is a series of steps that you can try to adapt in order to create the Happiness that you want.
- Make Happiness your number 1 priority.
- Socialize with happy people who motivate and lift you up to boost your confidence.
- Be mindful of the present: being in the moment helps you to process all aspects of life, the good or the bad, by accepting it and moving forward.
- Be grateful of what you have improves your energy, mood, and well-being.
- Be aware of your emotions and express them in order to decrease any stress affecting your overall happiness.
- Focus on what you can change, instead of fixating on things that are out of your control and waste your time and energy.
- Develop a growth mindset: an attitude that helps you to progress with determination and prepare
you to face different challenges and difficulties.
Happiness is, in fact, a very simple thing to accomplish, by YOU developing it from within and by following the techniques mentioned above. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Shermeen Zeidan, Certified Master Coach and Rita Farah, Professional Coach