Introduction to 30 Day Happiness and positivity Challenge
Ask anyone what they want most out of life and they’ll probably say happiness. The problem is that we tend to look for it in all the wrong places. The human brain is an amazing organ, and it is capable of so many things. Unfortunately, one of the things it is not good at is predicting what will make us happy.
Our 30-Day Happiness and Positivity challenge will help you understand what happiness actually is and how small activities can help you live a more positive life.
Why most people are so unhappy and negative about their lives
A recent study found that our brains have over 6,000 thoughts each day. Most of these thoughts are not only repetitive but also negative thoughts.
Our brain tends to focus on the negative because it wasn’t designed to make us happy, but rather to keep us safe.
Therefore, our brain focuses on all the threats and negativities that surround us. It wants to protect us from each and every potential threat.
In today’s world, most things aren’t life-threatening, so they don’t actually harm us. But because our brains evolved this way during the prehistoric era, we have now developed the habit of focusing on only the negative.
The good news is that we can retrain our brains to focus on the positive by doing small activities every day that will help us live a happier and more positive life.
Common Myths about happiness
Our brain is terrible at predicting the things that will make us happy. Our brains only look at things at the surface level, and so we believe that things that look good on the surface will make us happy.
Here are some common myths about happiness and what the research actually says:
Money makes you happy
This is one of the most common mistakes people make regarding happiness. Oftentimes our goals in life center around money and success. The truth is that money is important. But nowhere near as important as we think it is. Once your basic needs are being met, money does not make you any happier. In fact, A recent study from Perdu University found that earning more than $105,000 actually decreased people’s happiness. Similarly, the University of the West of England found that an increase of 20 minutes to your commute is as detrimental as a decrease of 19% in your salary. And yet most of us would be willing to accept a 20-minute longer commute for an increase of even 10% to our salaries.
Landing your dream job will make you happy
If you ask a university student what will make them happy, they will probably talk about getting that perfect job. And it’s not just university students. Most people think success in their career is an important step to happiness. But in reality, being promoted or getting your ideal job will not make you any happier then you currently are. It will probably give you a boost in your well-being, but that’s temporary. Soon after achieving the success that you thought would make you happy, you’ll adapt to it. And soon after that, you’ll start thinking that the next job or the next promotion will make you happy.
Getting married will make you happy
This is something we hear all the time. And a lot of us have internalized it. But the truth is that unhappily married people are actually unhappier than people who are not married. Similarly, when unhappily married people get divorced, they actually become happier. What does make us happier, is developing close and intimate relationships with anyone, including our friends. So if you are not married don’t sweat it. What you should be working on is developing close relationships with the people you do have in your life, whether it is family or friends.
What actually makes us happy
Fortunately for us, researchers have been studying this age-old question, and have found the things that do make us happy. While the 30-day happiness challenge goes into each of these factors in a lot more detail (and provides daily actionable steps to make you happy) the following list is a quick recap for you to take a look at.
While it may seem counterintuitive, giving gifts to others makes us happier than receiving gifts. Volunteering, charity, and just generally helping other people have been found to do wonders for our happiness and well-being.
Gratitude / Positive thinking
This is one of our favorite ways of cultivating happiness, because of how quick and easy it is. Thinking of 3 things that you are grateful, for takes only a few minutes, and yet has an immeasurable impact on your happiness levels. During the challenge, you will develop simple ways to view situations in a more positive light and express gratitude for all the blessings you have in your life.
Mindfulness is the ability to stay focused and aware in the present moment, and to accept one’s emotions, feelings and thoughts regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Engaging in mindful activities rewires your brain and provides invaluable benefits not only to your happiness level but to your health, longevity, and creativity. While the concept of mindfulness can sometimes be difficult to grasp, our 30-day happiness challenge demystifies it by providing simple practices that you can incorporate into your daily life.
Making use of your signature strengths
Your signature strengths refer to the character strengths that you have. Not only do these strengths define who you are as a person, but they also energize you. Particularly once you start using them more regularly in your everyday life. These strengths will help you determine the core of your personality, and allow you to live your life in accordance with your values. During the 30-day happiness challenge, you will learn what your individual signature strengths are, and develop a strategy to incorporate them into your daily life.
Finding meaning & purpose in your life
Finding meaning in our lives helps us feel more content and satisfied. During the last week of the challenge, you will focus on understanding what you want out of your life so that you can live according to the values & principles that are important to you.
One of the happiness myths we identified was that getting married brings about happiness. It’s true that being in a happy marriage will most certainly make you happier. However, research has found that unmarried people are actually happier than those who are in unhappy marriages.
Furthermore, developing and nurturing your close relationships, regardless of the relationship type, will do wonders for your well-being. That’s why it’s important to spend regular time reconnecting with close friends and family.
One of the most effective ways to become a happier person is to focus on the positives in your life, as opposed to simply the negatives.
Our brain is wired to be negative. For every 5 negative events, we will notice a positive one. That is why it is important to deliberately change our thoughts to be more positive.
How positive thinking works
Positive thinking is a mental attitude that focuses on the good in life and expects positive outcomes. It allows people to see the best in themselves and others, and to expect the best in any given situation. Positive thinking can be a powerful tool for overcoming challenges and achieving goals.
When you think positively, you are more likely to take action and reach your goals. Positive thinking can also help you maintain a positive outlook on life, even in difficult situations. Research has shown that people who practice positive thinking tend to be happier and healthier than those who do not.
Most importantly positive thinking allows you to believe in yourself, and to focus on the positive qualities you have, instead of only the negative.
Positive thinking and happiness
Research has consistently found that optimistic people have better relationships, cope better with stress, and are happier overall. In fact, positivity activities like a simple gratitude exercise can immediately make you feel happier.
Positive thinking and success
In the mid-1980 MetLife tested a positive psychology theory by hiring people based solely on their levels of optimism and positivity – not their actually sales records. They did this in conjunction with Dr. Seligma, the founder of positive psychology.
A year later when they compared the actual sales records of the staff, they found that the top 50% optimistic people sold 37% more insurance than those who were the 50% most pessimistic.
And the top 10% more optimistic people sold 88% more than those who were the most 10% pessimistic people.
How you can become a more positive person
One of the best ways to change your thoughts to be more positive is to actively work on changing your negative thoughts into more positive ones.
The next time you notice yourself thinking negatively, replace it with a thought that is just slightly more positive. So if have a negative thought such as “I’m stupid”, replace it with the thought “I am doing the best I can.” Eventually, this thought will become from “I am relatively smart” to “I am smart.”
The reason you should not immediately think “I am smart” when you truly believe you are stupid is that your brain won’t believe it, and in turn, will completely ignore the excessively positive thought.
Positive affirmations are slightly different from the positive thinking described above. Here you will repeat an excessively positive thought such as “I am smart” to yourself repeatedly.
The difference between positive affirmations and positive thought replacement is that you will get into the habit of reciting positive affirmations BEFORE having a negative thought. Therefore your brain doesn’t have the task of also dealing with a negative thought. This makes it easier for your brain to accept the positive affirmation at face value.
What this 30 Day Happiness and positivity Challenge includes
- Learn the science behind happiness
- Create a map for a meaningful life
- Develop habits that will make you a happier person
- Change your brain to be happier
- Complete daily activities to release dopamine in your brain, and make you a happier person.