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The Happiness Epidemic: A Blue Courage 21 Day Challenge in Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life worth living.

The entire premise of Positive Psychology is that we have ultimate control over our well-being. That is, it is not reality that shapes us, but the lens through which we see the world which shapes our reality.

The Happiness Epidemic: A Blue Courage 21 Day Challenge in Positive Psychology Guidebook is available for you to use as a daily tool in shifting your mindset to one of happiness and positivity. The resources page at the end of the guidebook is available for further learning and information about this important topic.

Positive psychology is about saying yes to a healthier and happier life; saying yes to using strengths and talents. This is not always about making big, grandiose changes, although those might be needed at times; it’s about doing the little things that make a big difference over time. Positive psychology is the “how” for sustainable change. If we decided that we need to make changes in our personal and/or professional lives, positivity is HOW to make that change. 

Happiness is a state of mind and it is a choice that only you can make. You don’t have to listen to the negativity of family, friends, co-workers, government, your community and/or anyone else to realize your own happiness. In a world that focuses on the negative and what is wrong with the world/us, sometimes we need to be reminded to look for the positive. 

Although we are seeking ways to sustain positive well-being and happiness, life does bring with it negativity and negative emotions. It is only human to be down in the dumps at times. We must give ourselves permission to be human, to feel these emotions and take note the impact that they have on our lives. We then must develop resistance to adversity. We must have the courage to be vulnerable. 

Your brain in a positive state is 31% more productive than in a negative, neutral, or stressed state. Your intelligence, creativity, and energy level rises. Everything improves!

You can train your brain to be positive. In as little as a 2 minute span of time, done for 21 days in a row, you can actually rewire your brain. By doing these activities – by training our brain like we train our bodies – we can reverse the formula for success and happiness and create ripples of positivity. 

To re-wire your brain, practice for 21 consecutive days:

  • 3 Gratitudes – Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism, even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly. 
  • Journaling – Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a taskbased thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-do’s. This dramatically increases work happiness. 
  • Exercise – Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day. 
  • Meditation – Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows that you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness. 
  • Random Acts of Kindness / Conscious Acts of Kindness – This can be as simple as writing one, quick email first thing in the morning to thank or praise a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support; in a study at Harvard, this was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.

Any of these practices can be scaled to fit your circumstances, capacity, time, and tolerance. A best practice is striving to incrementally increase your daily goal as you begin to master each practice, while adapting practices to your ever changing life, situation, and environment. Identifying possible barriers towards positivity help us to navigate and break through these hurdles. Practice self-care and be relentless in overcoming challenges to reach your goals.

Let’s all spread positivity and happiness throughout our families, communities, and the world! However, as with all change, it has to start with “me”!