I hate to break it to you but you are within a week of Christmas. And if you are like many folks today you:
- Still have shopping to do which means fighting traffic and long lines (unless you order through Amazon and have them deal with getting the presents to the people on your list).
- You may have deadlines to meet before you can break for the Christmas parties…
- …and then if you eat too much you’ll have your waistline to watch.
- There may be a long drive to the grandparents ahead which means kids who can’t control their excitement will be fussing and feuding on the way.
There’s hustle and bustle and then someone says “Merry Christmas” and you’re not quite sure how you will find any merriment in the midst of the menagerie of activities.
But you can. You just need to have the right list to check twice. Did you know that you don’t have to let your external circumstances determine your happiness? That’s right. Instead, you can follow a few simple exercises and find yourself being more “positive in the present.”
That’s what Shawn Anchor suggests through his research. You can hear more by listening to his TED Talk “The happy secret to better work” here. In it Shawn talks about how only 10% of your long term happiness can be predicted by your external circumstances. 90% of your long term happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes your external world.
What that means is no matter what is happening around you what is most important is what is happening inside you.
If you want to be happier you can do some things to rewire how you process the circumstances of your external world. All you need to do is commit to doing five things 2 minutes a day for 21 days in a row. Here they are:
- Write down 3 gratitudes every day. Make them different each day.
- Journal one positive from the past 24 hours.
- Exercise…which teaches your brain that your behavior matters.
- Meditate or focus on the task at hand.
- Perform a random act of kindness. It can be as simple as writing one positive e-mail to someone in your network, team, or company.
That’s it. Start today. By Christmas you will have a few days under your belt. And you may already have a smile forming on your face.