Happiness through Gratitude: the Ultimate Stress Reducer

Published on: Author: Anne Langton

I like happiness.  In fact I wish I had more of it!  And although the universe is always in needs of information about current work space trends and office organizing techniques I think today we need to take a break and enjoy a silly little dose of “happiness”.  So treat yourself and watch this TED-X video presentation of Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance…and MAYBE behind all this silliness you find something that resonates with you as you examine your work life!

Our work days create stress and then add to it family responsibilities and then the upcoming holidays.  Phew sometimes happiness seems a bit elusive!

The other night, I could not sleep. Admittedly I had a few things on my mind but then again who doesn’t from time to time!  I flipped on the tv and there on channel WGBH was the standard ever constant fundraiser for this pubic station.  Slowly however I started to get drawn into the speaker’s words. His name was Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage and researcher of positive psychology.  My immediate reactive was great apprehension, after all I was looking at a book’s title that seemed one step removed from Sesame Street Live.  But at 2:30 am there was little else to do so I continued watching.  What I discovered through Shawn’s presentation was that research has shown that achieving HAPPINESS has real data behind it…real science.  In fact he stated his goal was to “improve happiness in a practical way”.  Now this is something I could get me teeth into.  I like practical!   And even more…I like simple steps.

Shawn stated that all his steps are based on scientific research AND the premise that it takes 21 days to create a life habit.  He told of many interesting experiments and data which backed up his “happy thoughts”.  His presentation was entertaining and thought provoking.  I encourage you to go his Good Think Inc website for more information about Shawn and his products.


1.   BE GRATEFUL (45 seconds a day)
List 3 things every day for which you are grateful.  It must me specific.  You just can’t say “I am grateful for my health”.  Rather say, “I am grateful for my health because it allowed me to walk in the crisp air this morning”.   We have happiness all wrong!  We think happiness comes from stuff around us when in fact research shows that 90% of our long term happiness is determined by our inside selves.

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This helps re-wire the gratitude in our brain.  Again…research backs this up!  And in your descriptions be wary of the words you use.  Studies have shown that negative infused words have a contradicting effect and are powerful in the wrong way.

3.   DO SOMETHING FUN (15 minutes a day)

Research shows that when we feel good about what we are doing, there is a “cascade of success”…it spreads to other things.  So walk the dog, garden or read!

4.   SMILE (3 times a day)

MRI’s back up this research. A smile actually releases dopamine and causes portions of our brain to light up.  The human brain simply cannot experience happiness and sadness at the same time.   And here is the interesting part…  we are hard wired for empathy SO even smiling at someone else causes THEIR brain to light up!  Achor says, “we pick up on negativity like 2nd hand smoke” so abolish negativity and spread the positivity

5.   CONNECT SOCIALLY (2 minutes minimum a day)

This can be a quick email or written note. Having meaningful social connections is the greatest predictor of happiness and it turns out that this not only helps you recharge but it helps others as well.

Apparently happiness requires attention (just like establishing good organizing habits!).  I am going to try one of the above items listed …how about you?  Are you in need of a happiness tuneup?


Langton Home Offices recognizes that life improves when working spaces work well and feel right!

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