This research has left me levitating with excitement. I'm dumbfounded by what positive psychology can do. But this is taking it to a whole new level. What Marcel, tell us!

OK, here's the scoop. Shawn Achor, Harvard-trained happiness researcher and New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage, has spent over a decade studying happiness and says you can boost your happiness, drop your stress, and increase your productivity with just a short set of activities (I'll give you the secret sauce below).

Achor says it all starts with training our brains to be positive and optimistic. Here's Achor:

"If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage. Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise."

The outcomes of a positive and more optimistic brain are astounding. In Achor's case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, he discovered that...

  • Productivity rose by 31 percent.
  • Sales increased by 37 percent.
  • The likelihood of promotion rose by 40 percent.

What's fascinating is that positivity and optimism, once released, spreads to others and across the enterprise. It's contagious. You can literally flip on a switch and cause tremendous cultural shift in your organization by practicing these things I'm about to outline below with your colleagues.

The only catch? You have to do each of these incredibly short and easy routines (it comes out to 23 minutes each morning) for 21 straight days. That's it. Your brain takes over from there, dopamine is released, and the rest is happiness history.

Your 23-Minute Morning Routine

Set your whole team, department, or entire company to a "happiness advantage" with this simple routine before leaving for work.

1. Write down three acts of gratitude.

Each morning for 21 days, write down three new things for which you are grateful. Perhaps something about your coworkers, a recent project that impacted your organization, your advancing career path, or something that is working really well for you? Don't forget: Do it for 21 straight days. Achor says the reason this is so powerful is you're training your mind to scan for positives instead of negatives. He says--and get this--this specific activity is the fastest way to teach optimism. No joke! It will significantly improve your optimism even six months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

Exercise time length: 2 minutes.

2. Journal one positive experience.

Every morning for 21 days, write in detail about one positive experience you've had during the past 24 hours at work. Achor say this exercise allows your brain to relive the experience, which teaches your brain that the positive behavior matters. If you do this ritual every morning for 21 days, your brain is reprogrammed with optimism running throughout your work life.

Exercise time length: 2 minutes.

3. Get moving with a short burst of cardio activity.

Even if you hate exercise, a short burst of fun cardio activity like dancing, jumping on a trampoline, or working in the garden in the morning makes a big difference. Achor says exercise is key to your morning routine because it literally trains your brain to believe "my behavior matters," which then carries (positively) into other activities throughout the day. Achor says that doing this every morning is "the equivalent of taking an anti-depressant for the first six months, but with a 30 percent lower relapse rate over the next two years."

Exercise time length: 15 minutes.

4. Simply...breathe.

This is so simple it's almost too good to be true. Whatever you're doing, stop multitasking, put your laptop or smartphone down. Now take deep breaths, focusing on watching your breath go in and out for two minutes. Achor says this form of meditation allows your brain to focus on one thing at a time and be present in the moment. It will "raise accuracy rates, improve levels of happiness, and drop stress levels." He did this with Google employees with great success.

Exercise time length: 2 minutes.

5. Express gratitude through a text or email.

The most important 2 minutes of your 23-minute routine is this: Every morning, write a positive email or send a text thanking or praising a colleague, or complimenting a boss/coworker, vendor, or client you admire on social media. Do this for 21 days for a different person each day. You'll experience a lasting shift in your mindset towards more positivity and optimism. Achor says people who do this become known as positive leaders with strong social connections---the greatest predictor of long-term happiness.

Exercise time length: 2 minutes.

Total time length for your morning routine: 23 short minutes. That's it.

Conclusion

How you take care of yourself will significantly impact your business and your relationships. Granted, reaping the benefits of a positive and productive mind will not only take a very open mind and a healthy work ethic, but it will require choice and intention. Who's in?

Published on: Nov 21, 2016
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