Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tip #60: Change your lens

This is one of my favorite talks. I have already talked about it before in Tip #19: Nourish your friendships and Tip# 52: Start with happiness. I always enjoy watching it because Shawn Achor is not only interesting but also very funny.

He specializes in positive psychology, which has as its aim to improve everyday life by trying to understand all the fulfilling aspects of human behavior instead of focusing on mental illness.

I hope you watch it, as it is quite entertaining, but if you don't, here are some of my favorites quotes from it.
It's not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.
90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world
75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.
If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise.
Dopamine, which floods into your system when you're positive, has two functions. Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way. 
Recently, the New York Times had an article about a new book called Up, from a professor of medicine, Dr. Hilary Tindle. She connects a positive outlook with better health outcomes. So, it is not only that a positive frame of mind helps us to be more successful and happier, but also to be healthier.

And, if you need further reading, Lissa Ranking (Mind over Medicine) tells us about 10 fun ways to reduce cortisol levels, which can be making it harder for us to be more positive in our daily lives.

Let me know what you think. And if it you are a pessimist, I definitely want to know your thoughts!