One Habit That Will Change Your Life, which I posted during Thanksgiving in 2012, has been shared more times than anything else I have ever written. In that post I described one habit I’ve cultivated, What Went Wells (or WWWs) as described by Martin Seligman in Flourish. This is just one of many behavioral patterns I’ve begun to cultivate in the last couple of years – shortcuts and simple tricks for getting myself out of a funk and leading a more fulfilled life. I create these and practice them, so I thought it useful to share them here. If you missed the bandwagon, take a look at this post, read Flourish and skim the “Shortcuts to Happiness” chapter in Happiness Is A Choice.
Leave It Behind, at Least for a Moment
One quick way I have found to shortcut to comfort and ease is just to leave behind whatever I was doing discomfort about in the first place. (And it sounds so simple!) Often I have found that when I am unhappy I intentionally stay in the environment in which I began my discomfort in an effort to “solve” the situation now. Instead, practice leaving. Growing up I was taught that “running away” was to show weakness. In my family leaving a difficult conversation was considered bad form. Over the years I’ve changed and now see stepping aside to be a useful step towards resolution. Just as we might give a child a time-out if she is tantruming, try taking a time-out from whatever you are struggling with. This isn’t a permanent solution or resolution to the problem. It isn’t meant to be! But when you return to the challenging situation you will find you are often much happier and better equipped to handle the situation.
This month I’ve been reading several amazing books. “Flourish” is the new term a world-famous happiness research is calling a set of criterion which describe a person’s well-being. Mieville continues to describe complex and beautiful worlds unlike our own, yet intriguingly similar. And Richard Branson is himself – extraordinary…
On a flight from New York to San Francisco I read a fair portion of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin Seligman. This exceptional psychologist has spent more than 40 years researching behavior and emotion using everything from rats pressing levers to reforming a private British school into a Happiness University. Seligman now researches what he calls “flourishing” which consists of several factors that make up the well-being of a human. In this exceptional book he describes the development of his research and teaching at University of Pennsylvania and provides a wide variety of extraordinary tools that his readers can begin to apply immediately to improve their own lives.
Note: my favorite of these is his gratitude training exercise. Seligman has conducted extensive longitudinal research proving that as little as three statements of gratitude written per day dramatically increase positive outlook on life. What are you grateful for?
I have recently started China Mieville latest work of speculative fiction Embassytown. As always, I am amazed at Mieville’s unique capacity to draw his audience into a world recognizable and alarmingly different from our own. His landscapes are beautiful, rich, and compelling. His characters tell the story of their worlds through the narrative of their lives. Embassytown is a compelling addition to Mieville bibliography – hauntingly beautiful and more relevant to our lives than the made up world initially appears.
Another favorite this month is Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson billionaire, entrepreneur, and passionate Brit. Branson is the founder of the Virgin group (which includes the airline Virgin America and the Virgin record label, among many others). Losing My Virginity tells the story of Branson’s life from his earliest days founding the magazine Student through the birth of the Virgin records and into the modern day. Richard Branson’s humor and fun loving spirit pervade and make this story of one man’s success fun to read and useful to learn from for all.