Inspiration: The Happiness Advantage

I saw this video for the first time less than a year ago. I was sitting at my desk at my old job, knowing that the small company we had worked so hard to build for two years was self-destructing right before my eyes. Sadness owned my soul.

I loved it instantly. Shawn Achor made me laugh and then he made me cry. (I still smile when I think of his opening story.) I cried because he was talking about happiness and I felt so far from it. At the same time, it gave me hope and made me feel special when I was facing a pretty big “failure”.

In my simplicity quest, I have learned so much already. My happiness does not depend on my current state of minimalism. Minimalism is simply a way of traveling. My happiness doesn’t even depend on my income or my relationships (though I do find that having these two things in check makes my life MUCH easier…). It all depends on the filter I choose to put on my life view.

Shawn Achor’s TEDTalk reminded me of that.

He mentions 5 things that make a huge difference in one’s happiness:

  1. Write down 3 thingsΒ  for which you are grateful
  2. Journal
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditation
  5. Random Acts of Kindness

He says that if you do these five simple things for just 21 days, you can begin to change the way your brain sees the world. That fascinates me. We can change our brains. One connection at a time. Why not start with happiness?

Thank you, dear reader for spending your precious time reading my humble blog. I’m honored that you stopped by. Sincerely. I wish you much happiness on your journey. May your heart remain wide open and grateful. πŸ™‚



  1. If you’re into brain-changing, try the book The Brain That Changes Itself. Fascinating pop-neuroscience reading. (That term might makes it sound hard to read – it’s not.)

    I would say one thing about the journal is that it depends on how you journal. I’ve read one study where it made journaling participants less happy afterwards. I think it’s an activity you have to direct purposely and carefully. Definitely yes to the others.

    1. I will check it out! the word “neuroscience” does not intimidate me at all. πŸ™‚

      As far as the journal thing goes, I agree with you. I think he says to write about one positive experience you’ve had in the past twenty-four hours. That it “allows the brain to re-live it”. I think that’s the key. I can write for hours about how much I hate my boss or my job or just sort of dribble words about flowers and see no significant change in my brain. But to write about a direct, positive experience…now that might rewire some otherwise negative connections up there. I think that plugs right into “I think it’s an activity you have to direct purposely and carefully.” πŸ™‚ So I think we are on the same page…?

      Thanks again for the reading suggestion. I so love your comments. Cheers!

      1. Yes, definitely. I admit I didn’t watch the video (my excuse is the kids are trying to go to sleep) but it sounds like that was covered. I think in the study they just asked (?? my memory is very hazy here don’t quote me) patients dealing with some medical condition to keep a diary “of some sort”. A lot of them were probably reliving/reinforcing the negative in their writing.

        That said, I seem to recall there was only short-term followup, so I wonder if the result would have been different if they’d come back after several years? Either way, I stick by my “purposely and carefully” line – drawing something positive and meaningful in the long term is worth some short-term pain, but making your hell more hellish for nothing is terribly sad – and yes, I think we’re on the same page πŸ™‚ .

      2. Ha! No worries about not watching the video – though I think you should at some point, just to catch his quick, dry sense of humor. Glad we are agreed on the journal thing. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Ginny! Yes, I read Shawn’s book a while back (and wrote about it too!) and his stuff is very inspiring. One of the things I found super important about his work was to remember that we all “tell the story of our lives” and that we can choose to make that story one of being a victim and/or hopeless–or we can make it one of learning, growth and possibility. As you say, it all depends upon the “filter” you use. I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested and if you don’t mind the link, here is the post I wrote about it. Thank YOU for reminding me of Shawn’s work AND the inspiration you are putting out in the world on a regular basis! ~Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy! I certainly don’t mind the link. Thank you – it’s a GREAT article! I have a friend who often says “Life is the story we tell ourselves.” His example is that he used to tell himself that he hated to be in pictures. When someone pulled out a camera, he avoided it. Then one day, he decided to tell himself a different story. Now he likes to be in pictures. It’s a small example but that’s how we change for the better. We choose to believe a different story and then focus on that story rather than something else. πŸ™‚

      I’m going to add Shawn Achor’s book to my reading list (along with B’s recommendation of The Brain That Changes Itself). Thank you again for the link.

      I’m honored to have such wonderful people in my life who love to grow and learn.


  3. I read this last night before I went to bed and it made me laugh. He has such an interesting stage presence – so chatty, so warm, and so full of insight. I so enjoyed this, and I love reading about positive psychology in general. The Brain that Changes Itself is great – you’ll love it. It’s very science-y and you have to be in the right mindset to read it, I find – you have to concentrate on the case studies to understand the breakthroughs. Knowledge about neuroplasticity has changed my life. No longer do I think – oh I can’t learn another language; it’s best to do that when you’re a child. The brain is ready to rewrite neural pathways whenever we’re ready to put something into continued practice! Thanks for sharing Ginny πŸ™‚

  4. Hello, dear one! It’s been a busy week and I’m behind on my blog reading…you know I had to catch up on you! I’m always inspired when I read your blog posts. You always have something enlightening to share, and I feel like I come away with something I didn’t know before. Also, your gratitude for your readers keeps me coming back. That you are lavish in your gratitude really impacts people…perhaps more than you know. Btw, I can attest that journaling is effective. I’ve done it fairly regularly since the age of 19 (I’m 44 now). At times it’s sort of hard to balance keeping a journal and blogging. πŸ™‚ Still, these are good tips that are fairly easy to implement if one is committed. Thanks for being you. Thanks for this post. πŸ˜‰

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