Do you find yourself moaning about the little things? Wondering how life got so hard? when you will be truly happy?

Really when you look at your life things probably are pretty darn good.

In comparison to the millions of refugees currently homeless in a foreign land, in comparison to those who are sick, in comparison to people living in a truly war torn country? … I could go on. In short most of us live a pretty fabulous life. Well it’s time to start realising it.

Last month my friend Rach sent me a link to a TED talk saying we should do the challenge.

The challenge from Shawn Achor talks about the happy secret to better work.

It’s simple really. The basic premise is we are all constantly striving for happiness…

‘When I get that promotion I will be happy’.

‘When I am on holiday I will be happy’.

‘When I earn x amount more I will be happy’.

‘When I buy that house I will be happy’. 

We are all guilty of this, we just need that one more thing to make us happy. But the problem is once we reach it we want more, a bigger house, a new job, another holiday. We are all constantly striving for happiness often forgetting what we have in the moment and enjoying each day as it comes.

In the video (which I urge you to watch) Shawn shows us his ‘very important’ graphs showing us that science always looks at the average, rather than the anomalies. Imagine if we looked closer at those anomalies though? What could we learn?

21 days to happiness

‘If we continue to look at the average, we will continue to remain average’.

Instead we need to focus on being thankful and happy for what we have in the present and ultimately this make us more likely to get that promotion, to achieve more.

This is called The Happiness Advantage

Hathersage in winter

I could continue to talk about all his statistics and facts but you can watch Shawn Achor’s video for that. He is far more succinct than me. Instead I am going to tell you about the challenge:

21 days to happiness

They say it is easier to make something become a habit if you do it continuously for 21 days.

The challenge is about rewiring your brain to think more positively, to be more thankful for things in your every day. On top of that we should start actively doing ‘random acts of kindness’.

So Rach and I decided to put Shawn to the test…

For 21 days at the end of each day we would send each other an email with at least 3 things we were thankful for that day and try to do at least one random act of kindness. Here is what we found:

  • I noticed the difference pretty quickly. Even if I had a ‘terrible’ day I would strive to find the positive in every situation so I had my three things to be thankful for.
  • Even in the worst situations there is always something to be thankful for!
  • Random acts of Kindness are quite hard. This perhaps make me sound a little selfish, but it became quite repetitive, giving up my seat on the tube, carrying someone’s pram up the stairs, writing letters to family and friends. I think the next step would be randomly giving people a hug, or money, or of course volunteering (though that is harder to be random).
  • The 21 day rule is quite true. Rachel and I have continued well past the 21 days and though we might not send an email every day we definitely find ourselves thinking more positively.
  • Life is better – so there we have it! Life is generally better since doing this challenge. (It could also correlate with going freelance ;)) We are the only ones in control of our thoughts and like anything else, with a bit of training and practice you can start to see your life and the world in a more positive way.

Debryshire in winter

Shawn tells us 90% of our happiness is through how our brain processes information, not from the outside world… so go on, scan the world for positivity not negativity. You have the power! Do you agree?

We are now thinking about what our next challenge can be.

Does anyone have any ideas for a fun 21 day challenge?

Bakewell church

Individually we create ripples of positivity. Together we create a revolution!

4 Comments

  1. What a lovely idea. It is too easy to get caught up in day to day problems and forget about what great things are happening in our lives, even if it is as small as sitting in a sunny spot and taking a moment to enjoy the sunshine. It’s amazing how small shifts in perspective can have a huge impact. Today I am grateful for having stumbled upon your post, thank you!

    • Jen Lowthrop Reply

      Aaa thanks Alex, that was a lovely comment to wake up to. I’m thankful for kind readers like you. Glad to have inspired a new idea. x

  2. Great idea, I’ve been doing something similar for a while, I have an app I use – Gratitude 365 – and every day I add three things that happened that made me happy/grateful. You can add nice little pictures too. It does make a difference, its so easy to overlook wonderful things that happen every day!

  3. Pingback: 5 tips for making your life unforgettable - She Gets Around

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