Happiness is not some faraway goal. It's not even something that you have to work tirelessly to find and achieve. In fact, happiness can take little time or sacrifice to acquire, and is much more attainable than you may think.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, talks about our pursuit of happiness during an age of technology and industrialization:
I think the world has actually been malnourished as we've focused so much on productivity and ignored happiness and meaning to our own detriment.
Although Achor notes that happiness is something employers can certainly limit and influence, he finds that "happiness is actually an individual choice" and rises in step with social connection.
If happiness is, in fact, a simple choice, then you may ask why we aren't all happy right now. What, exactly, is the hold up?
"Most people keep waiting on happiness, putting off happiness until they're successful or until they achieve some goal," says Achor. This means we are consequently limiting both happiness and success, negatively impacting both.
Happiness is an incredible advantage at work. According to Achor, when we're happy at work, "our creativity triples. Productive energy rises by 31 percent. The likelihood of promotion rises by 40 percent. Sales rise by 37 percent."
To create more happiness in your life, Achor prescribes three easy two-minute exercises that, if you do them every day, can improve your overall health as well as your levels of happiness.
1. Think of a positive experience from the last day for two minutes.
Bullet-point every detail from the experience that you can remember in order to visualize and experience what happened.
2. Spend two minutes a day finding three new things you are grateful for.
This will train your brain to see things through a more optimistic lens.
3. For two minutes, start work each day by writing a positive message thanking or praising someone you know.
This will benefit both you and the person who receives your kind words.
You can do just one of these two-minute exercises each day, or multiply their effectiveness by doing two or all three.
By devoting a mere 120 seconds each day to boosting our happiness, we not only change the quality of our work, but we also dramatically change the course of our lives. That's truly powerful stuff.
Check out Shawn Achor's TED Talk on The Happiness Advantage below.