HAPPY, HEALTHY & WEALTHY: Tips from top happiness scientists
By Whitney Vosburgh and Charlie Grantham
Written on International Happiness Day:
Kudos to the Greater Good Science Center for whom Whitney has consulted.
“Goal and contigencies are important. But they exist in the future and the past, beyond the pale of the sensory realm. Practice, the path of mastery, exists only in the present.” ~ George Leonard
Our world becomes ever more chaotic, complex, and confusing. Why? The paradigm is the problem. A one-dimensional economic approach to human organization. And so — it’s no coincidence — here we are. Desperately clutching the controls in a nose dive of human possibility. But the controls don’t seem to work anymore, do they?
Every age has a challenge. Here’s today’s. Crafting a new — perhaps a radically new — paradigm of human organization that values, represents, respects, celebrates, elevates, and expands life.
The best of every situation is making the best of it — the practice of bringing ourselves back to the importance of NOW. Our accomplishments are merely consequences of our ability to realize the potential of the present moment and to choose to be happy, our natural default. That is what we are here to learn and apply.
“You can’t think about presence, and the mind can’t understand it. Understanding presence is being present.” ~ Eckhard Tolle
How can we create a happier world?
Jane Dutton, professor of business administration and psychology at the University of Michigan: My favorite research-based happiness practice is to be alert to high-quality connections (HQCs) that I have with other people during the course of the day. I know that it is a high-quality connection when I sense vitality and aliveness in the interaction, even if it is a stranger. My practice is to notice, savor, elaborate, and remember these HQCs, which are like vitamins that strengthen me from within.
Laurie Santos, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University: Loving-kindness meditation. I find this type of meditation a lot easier than other, more breath-based meditations, and I’m always surprised at how centered it makes me feel. I also love to see the downstream effects this practice has in my interactions with others and my patience with my own foibles, too.
Judson Brewer, associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School: Loving-kindness! It took me years to bumble my way into noticing how sweet this practice is. During my psychiatry residency training, I literally learned on the go: While biking to work, I started playing with offering kindness to drivers that honked at me, and found that when I got to the hospital I was peaceful and happy instead of angry at “those drivers.” Life-changing practice.
Elizabeth Dunn, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia: Exercise. Even though I’m really busy, I block off an hour every day to run, swim, bike, or do yoga. As well as reading the relevant research, I’ve monitored my own mood and discovered that this practice makes a huge difference for my happiness.
Hedy Kober, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University: Meditation, gratitude, physical exercise. Together, they keep me flexible and strong. They keep my mind clear, my heart open, and my body able.
Michael Norton, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School: Chris Hsee’s research on overearning shows that we become so obsessed with accumulating that we forget about enjoying. It’s often on my mind, as I think about what is worth accumulating in life — and what is not.
Tim Kasser, professor of psychology at Knox College:Research shows that people who pursue intrinsic goals for personal growth, affiliation, and community feeling report higher well-being than those focused on extrinsic goals for money, image, and status. This is why I spend a lot of my time playing the piano and working in the garden, chatting with my wife and kids, and volunteering, and why I spend as little time as possible shopping or worrying about what other people think about my appearance or status.
Gregory Fricchione, associate chief of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital: It’s all about feeling grateful for being connected to my family and community. It is what I choose to meditate on. That feeling we sense from the intense moments of attachment we are blessed with defines best for me what in religion we call the Holy Spirit. Josiah Royce wrote that this Holy Spirit is what binds us in the Beloved Community.
Work The Future! Today
We change our brains just by thinking differently, but when we are truly focused and single-minded, the brain does not know the difference between what is imagined and what is realized… between the internal world of the mind and what we experience in life. Our thoughts can become our experience. [For example, our mind can’t differentiate emotionally between a movie and real life.]
The greatest habit we must break is the habit of being ourselves. We must think greater than we feel in order to do so. New thinking and ultimately being is dependent on new feelings. Replacing old with new, which is so difficult because the vast majority of us are creatures of habit. And if we are to successfully change we must change our habitat, our brain and our body, and their connections with new future oriented visions and enactments. Our habits are based on our past. Our visions of desired future states is our path to the future, starting today, right now.
#happiness #health #wealth #purpose #vision #opportunity #leadership
“If your eyes and ears are open, you will see the windows of opportunity open around you.” ~ Cherie Carter-Scott
To learn more, please visit us at: http://workthefuture.today