The author of "Fear is Not An Option", Monica Berg shared the eight tools for greater happiness. Click here for more information about Monica.
If we want to become happier, we need to raise our happiness baseline. Based on research from Sonja Lyubomirsky, a Ph.D. at the University of California Riverside, there are three components that make up our happiness baseline.
1. Our genetic set point. This is our natural predisposition for happiness. Some of us have a higher set point. And it may be genetic (see a 2013 Psychology Today article, Can Happiness be Genetic?). While it isn’t something that researchers have found a way to change, it only accounts for 50% of our experience of happiness.
2. The next 10% is made up of our external circumstances: our money, possessions, status, and anything existing in the physical world.
3. The magic lies in the other 40% known as voluntary activities. It is here where we can raise our overall happiness baseline. We do so in one of two ways: changing our thoughts or changing our actions (interestingly, one will always lead to the other). It goes back to an age- old kabbalistic teaching: thoughts create reality. Where we focus our consciousness is what we expand. When we hold a consciousness of negativity, we create more negativity. When we shift our consciousness to one of positivity, we experience the endless blessings meant for us. Spend your time as positively as possible, and watch the positive changes that occur.
Eight Tools to Greater Happiness
Keep a gratitude journal. It actually doesn’t even need to be a journal. It can be a note you keep on your phone or the post-its you place at your desk. Writing down three things that you’re grateful for every day has been proven to drastically change your sense of well-being and joy.
Forgiveness. So many of us walk around heavy with the weight of failed relationships, mistakes, and regrets. When we forgive ourselves for our past errors, we more easily extend that forgiveness to others.
Forgiveness. is the doorway to compassion, and when we release ourselves and others, we free up to create new experiences that will bring about happiness.
Create a vision. What vision do you hold for your life? What steps are you taking to get there? Without establishing a clear path to your most fulfilled life, you won’t be able to manifest it.
Release your fears. Fear is a thief of joy, and while there are various forms of healthy fears, many are illogical and only serve to hold us back. Examine, challenge, and eradicate them. Is a phobia of public speaking inhibiting you from going after that promotion? Is a fear of flying keeping you from your dream of visiting Paris? Take steps to let go of these fears for good. (Check out my book, Fear Is Not an Option, if you want to learn more).
Exercise. Moving your body improves your mood. Whether it’s a class, a neighborhood walk, or a dance party in your living room, make a point to move every day.
Sleep. When we’re short on sleep, our body experiences a cascade of chemical shifts that affect our mood, focus, and general health. Prioritize sleep, and you’ll set yourself up for greater happiness.
Connect with loved ones. Human beings thrive on connection. Science has shown our relationships affect our ability to heal, grow, and experience greater levels of peace, fulfillment, and joy. The power of connection is evidenced in the longest-running scientific study of happiness. After studying a focus group of 238 Harvard sophomores for nearly 80 years, researchers walked away with one unanimous takeaway: good relationships help us live longer, happier lives.
Share. There are studies upon studies that support the connection between sharing and happiness. From a kabbalistic perspective, when we share with others, we create more Light in the world and in our lives. Transformational sharing actually benefits us more than the person with whom we share. Kabbalists practice this type of sharing because they understand that the most sensible way to further our own interests, is often NOT to pursue these goals directly but to look after other people’s interests.