The Happiness Advantage

Happiness comes from within - getting in touch with yourself can be the best way to find it.
Happiness comes from within – getting in touch with yourself can be the best way to find it.
Note to Self - Faye Armstrong
Note to Self – Faye Armstrong

How do you define happiness? Is it that unstoppable feeling that makes you believe you could totally take flight like the guy in the Red Bull commercials if you just ran fast enough? Or is it something more tangible like a dream job/dream house/dream –insert noun of your choice here–?
To me, happiness is one of those ambiguous words like “love” or “Ryan Gosling” – it’s something we all want, but we all have our own version of what that means to us.
While happiness may look like the husband, white picket fence and 2.5 kids to your bestie, maybe you’d be happier roaming rice fields in Bali or climbing the corporate ladder.
Whatever it is, own it! The less time you spend feeling bad that your vision doesn’t fit with everyone else’s, or doesn’t follow the ten-year plan you made for yourself in high school, the more time you’ll have to devote to those things that feel right to you, and resonate with your true self.
Maybe you’re not even sure what happiness is to you. That’s OK too. Sometimes we get so bogged down with expectations from others and from ourselves of what we “should” want out of life that we never really stop to question it. We forget to think about whether that’s even what we do want, or whether our actions line up with something that we truly feel good about.
If the first step to attaining bliss is creating a clear vision of exactly what we want, how do we figure that out? Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage suggests that we reverse the formula.
Instead of looking at happiness like a fill-in-the-blank: “I’ll be happy when I have this,” or “I’ll feel better when I achieve that,” Achor recommends finding happiness in the right here, right now, and then chipping away at those other goals from there.
The thing is, there’s always going to be another blank that you’re going to want to fill in. When you land that dream job, you’re going to want that promotion. When you find that dream girl, you’re going to want to put a ring on it. And that’s OK. But if you can find your happiness in where you’re at today, you’ll be in a better position to snag those successes tomorrow, and actually enjoy them.
In a Ted Talk that Achor gave on the subject, he discusses the idea that long-term happiness comes primarily from within ourselves, as opposed to the external factors that we often base happiness on.
He also states that our brains are 31 per cent more productive when we’re in a positive state than when we’re in a negative, neutral, or stressed state of mind. Achor shares five proven ways to rewire your brain to maintain a more positive and productive mindset:
Gratitude – Express thanks three times a day. Not only will this make you feel good, you’ll also be extending those good vibes to the recipients of your thanks.
Journaling – Write about a great thing that happened in the past 24 hours. This will help you rewind, remember and refuel on that positive experience.
Exercise – You’ll feel better physically and you’ll boost your energy levels. Win!
Meditation – Turn off those external vices and voices and quiet your mind. You’ll gain a better understanding of yourself and your true desires.
Random Acts of Kindness – You’ll be sending more good stuff out into the world and you’ll be feeling pretty darn good about yourself while you’re at it.
Try out these tips, and base your happiness on a state of being, instead of a bar that is constantly being raised. From there, you can begin to colour in the landscape of your awesome life with those achievements that complete the big picture.
Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others to do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit

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