Positive psychology is all the rage these days and as we learn more about the power of our brains and how we are able to change the way we feel just by changing our behaviors, commanding joy is easier than ever! After reading through hundreds of studies on different ways to train your brain to be happy, I noticed that the same 7 key things kept coming up in journals, conference keynotes and research reports. Try any of these seven things for two weeks straight (easy, right?!), and see how commanding joy will come to life in your own life.
1. Three Walks
Researchers have proven that the more physically active people are, they more feelings of excitement and enthusiasm they have about their lives. The good news? It doesn't take that much time! From only one hour of brisk walking three times a week, you can easily improve your feelings of joy.
2. The 20-Minute Replay
Looking out for positive experiences dramatically improves happiness! For bonus points, try writing about that experience in a journal for 20 minutes which has proven to increase your happy, feel good vibes. Why? Because you actually relive the experience as you’re writing it and then relive it every time you read it. It could be as simple as the nice smile from the man selling you a coffee this morning, to how someone opened the door for you...keep your eyes and heart open to the generosity in the little things and you will find yourself feeling joyful!
3. Random Acts of Kindness
An even easier way to command joy today is by doing something extra special for someone else. As few as carrying out five random acts of kindness a week dramatically improves your happiness. According to the founding fathers of the Positive Psychology movement, “we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.” Whoa, hello, hello there joy! I am off to start helping out that co-worker today!
4. A Complete Unplug
I am a big fan of No Cell Sundays. Taking a break from technology is an easy way to start to command more joy in your life and in your relationships in general. The constant, never ending demands from our phones is enough to drain us and our batteries. In order to recharge our minds and our mobiles, a study found that downtime after work helps us prepare for the next day. As tough as it may be, turn that phone off after dinner today! I command joy dare you. :)
5. Hit Flow
Reaching flow has been tested with many great athletes and achievers of our day. It is easy to do but does require some discipline of doing one task at a time. Getting into a groove, being in the zone, however you want to characterize it, when you’re completely absorbed with what you’re doing, time just flies by. Remember that feeling when you were so immersed in an activity that you couldn't believe it was 4 hours later? Yeah, that's flow...and our brains and our bodies need to get into the state of flow to achieve meaningful things in our life. Turn off the distractions (your email and celebrity updates will be there when you are done) and get into what is in front of you. Command joy through flow today!
6. 2-Minute Meditations
There are plenty of benefits from meditation ranging from mental clarity to physical calmness. If you are new to meditation, go online to check out the great resources and free guided meditations to get you started. When looking at brain scans of people before and after they participated in a course on mindfulness and meditation, researchers found that after the mediation, parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew while parts associated with stress sank. Command joy with a 2 minute time out to get quiet, sit by yourself, and just breathe. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
7. Find 5 Gratitudes
If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy. Find a book or journal and write down three to five things you’re grateful for from the past week. Command joy in gratitude today!