Being happy — isn’t that what life is all about?
From the hobbies we have, the time we spend with people we love, the work we do every day with coworkers and customers, we all hope these things will preserve or create happiness in our lives. But during a time of fast-paced technological advancement and increased pressure for achieving success, happiness can seem like a hard-to-achieve goal — maybe even impossible.
According to Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” our current pursuit of happiness is highly affected by the times in which we live today.
“The world has actually been malnourished as we’ve focused so much on productivity and ignored happiness and meaning to our own detriment,” Achor says. “Happiness is something employers can influence, but ultimately happiness is an individual choice.”
Sounds easy, right? If this is true, then why aren’t all of us happy all the time?
The problem is many of us put off happiness until we’ve achieved some measure of success, or some milestone in our lives — a promotion, a raise, a new assignment — that gives us permission to be happy. This, of course, is a mistake. We’re limiting our happiness as we wait on success, which in turn hurts our chances of being both happy and successful.
Choose to create more happiness in your life. According to Achor, it may actually take only 120 seconds. Here are three incredibly easy two-minute exercises you can do every day to improve your health and levels of happiness.
1. Find three new things each day to be thankful for. Spend two minutes a day finding things you’re grateful for, and soon your brain will naturally see all things with a more optimistic perspective.
2. Take two minutes each day to write a positive message praising or thanking someone you know. Not only will the message recipient feel good, but so will you.
3. For two minutes, remember a positive experience from the previous day. Sometimes reliving the past can be a good thing. To really visualize and experience a good memory, you can even bullet-point all details from the experience.
If you do one (or two or three) of these two-minute exercises every day, you’ll experience happiness in new and more powerful ways. Plus, according to Achor, when we take our happiness to work, “Our creativity triples. Productive energy rises by 31%. The likelihood of promotion rises by 40%. Sales rise by 37%.”
Most of all, in two minutes, you’ll learn this very important thing: Happiness is really not as far off in the distance as you might think.