We’ve switched a lot of our emphasis here at Lang Athletics over the last year.
Our questions and pursuit have become more tailored towards the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.
Exercise is awesome, and I certainly love the iron and sweat and working hard. But what’s physical fitness in the grand scheme of your life if you aren’t happy?
I do believe living a healthy, fit life can contribute to happiness.
And I very much believe you should find some form of physical endeavor that you enjoy – and thus will stick to for life.
Without negating the positive benefits of regular exercise (the habit of which will come into play shortly), we need to see it as part of the broader picture. A slice of the pie, if you will.
Reading a good book lately, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, the discussion of positive psychology arises.
Positive psychology, in simple terms, is the science of happiness.
Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.
A group of scientists over the last couple decades have learned the following:
- Happiness doesn’t come from genetics, luck, or chance.
- Happiness has a lot less to do with circumstances than we think it does.
- Happiness isn’t the result of some big, out-of-reach event or attainment.
- Happiness is created by simple, easy things we do every day.
- And unhappiness is created by not doing those simple, easy, everyday things.
Olson sums it up, “How you realize happiness is by doing some simple things, and doing them every day.”
How about this…why would we want to be happier?
The benefits are wide-reaching.
- Fewer strokes and heart attacks
- Less pain and inflammation
- Greater immune function and more resistance to viruses
- Develop more resilient personalities and handle adversity better
- Better work performance and more professional success
- More fulfilling and longer-lasting marriages
- Larger and more active social spheres
- More involved in their communities
- More altruistic and have a greater net positive impact on society
- More financially successful
- Live longer
Pretty good reasons to pursue more happiness in your life.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” Albert Schweitzer
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, recommends a set of five simple things you can do every day to improve your happiness over time. Give these a try.
- Each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for. (build your attitude of gratitude, start a journal for these)
- Journal for two minutes a day about one positive experience you’ve had in the past twenty-four hours. (re-experience the positive experience, doubling it’s impact)
- Meditate daily. (again only two minutes, turn off all distractions and focus on your breathing and mental clarity.)
- Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. (nothing monumental, although don’t exclude a big act if the situation arises, but something as simple as an email thanking someone for something they did)
- Exercise for fifteen minutes daily. (seriously, you have fifteen minutes to get the heart rate up and move around a bit)
Now you don’t have to do all 5 of these starting immediately, but they are easy enough you could very well begin with two or three and add the others after a few weeks. But understand it’s in the simplicity of our daily habits that greater success or failure is cultivated.
They’re easy to do. They’re also easy not to do.
Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.
If we broke it down, all five of these happy habits could be completed in 30 minutes.
But will you start doing them? That’s where the “magic” happens.
And then repeating them the next day.
And the next.
But people who get content won’t keep doing the little things.
Life will get busy, or they never change their thinking – because they just aren’t lucky or fortunate enough.
No one is. Life is created by those who choose to do so.
Make that choice.
Invest in your happiness (and health) today.