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The Importance of Being Happy

By • Jul 27th, 2008 • Category: XL Coach

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is no what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.” Helen Keller

Happiness is a hot topic in today’s hustle and bustle world where everyone is looking for instant gratification.

Top Three Tips for Happiness

1 Look for happiness: Wherever you go, whatever you do, look for the positive, the bright side, the opportunity for growth in awareness, understanding and allowing yourself to grow and and develop.

One of my inspirations in the area of happiness is Australia based speaker, writer and socially conscious entrepreneur, Shelly Sykes. Dubbed the ‘Happiness Guru’ by famed Creativity Coach Edward De Bono, Shelly shares, “Happiness is a direct result of focussed attention.” She is constantly on the lookout for seeing the positive perspective. Sykes has overcome personal challenges of divorce, failed businesses, raising single-handedly a special needs child, and numerous trials and tribulations of running more than six businesses during her 20-year life as an entrepreneur.

Despite the challenges, Sykes has written more than six books, has appeared on televeision and radio around the world, and has spoken to more than 50,000 people globally, inspiring, motivating and sharing her wisdom about health, wellness and happiness.

2 A Daily Dose of Laughter: Can you make yourself laugh? I have recently incorporated laughter yoga in all of my workshops, and it is working brilliantly as an excercise for connecting, energising and bringing lightness and joy to the participants. At first, I was a little self-conscious about it until I did some research about laughter.

According to Dr William Fry, a professor at Stanford University, California, a good belly laugh works muscles all over the body and improves blood circulation. Fry suggests that that one minute of laughter equals 10 minutes on the rowing machine.

Experts say laughter makes people look younger. When we are walking or running, all the muscles of the body are excercising. However, there is no regular excercise designated for facial muscles. Sometimes, when we laugh, our faces become red because of the augmentation in blood supply, which feeds the facila skin and makes it radiant. Laughing people are more likely to look attractive, younger and happier.

Laughter provides an excellent source for cardiac excercise, and according to Dr Kataria, laughter can be a powerful tool to increase lung capacity. All in all, the physical benefits of laughter are powerful tools to excercise the body and simply by laughing we add to the quality of our life.

A couple of quotes that might bring a smile or laugh to you:

I am thankful for laughter except when milk comes out of my nose. – Woody Allen

The most wasted of all days is on without laughter. – Milton Berle

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. –Victor Borge

3 Dynamic Balance of PCP – Pleasure, Challenge and Purpose: During the XL Entrepreneur Life Shift programme, we share the concept of dynamic balance of yin and yang – direct, action-focussed yang in dynamic harmony with the nuturing and supportive yin energy.
In the area of happiness, the dynamics of energising happiness are pleasure, doing what you love to do, in harmony with growth or personal challenge and cascading against a sense or recognition of a higher purpose or a worthy cause.

Extensive reserach has been performed by Dr Martin Seligman, Director or the University of Pennsylvania Centre of Authentic Happiness. He has identified six key virtues or characteristics of an authentically, happy individual;

Wisdom and Knowledge: Love of learning is a key one. Full expression, creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness and perspective are other key components to allow wisdom and knowledge to serve.

Courage: In the sphere of challenge, Seligman shares the concept of bravery, persistence, integrity and vitality as expressions that lead to a well-nutured self esteem and a healthy level of self confidence.

Humanity: Authentic happiness flows when an individual is able to nuture love, kindness and social intelligence: the latter being a situational awareness that encourages living in the moment with an authentic and genuine appreciation, respect, and sense of appreciation.

Justice: Authentic happiness can be nurtured through acts of citizenship, fairness and leadership.

Temperance: According to Seligman’s research, the emotions or feelings or authentic happiness can often be experienced through acts of forgiveness, mercy, humility and modesty.

Transcendence: The component of experiencing happiness, joy or peace is throught the appreciation of beauty, the experience of excellence or through nuturing or gratitude or hope.

As someone who has shifted from being a rather pessimistic, angry, aggressive bond trader to someone who looks for happiness, looks to laugh and applies many principles and traits shared in this article, I humbly share that happiness is a wonderful way.

Make ‘happiness’ your focus: study it, practice it and see if you can improve your daily happiness score.

As I started, I will finish with a quote from Hellen Keller: “Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gradification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Dave RogersDave Rogers (www.daverogers.net) is Chief Coach of the XL Results Foundation and Past President of the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore. To engage Dave for Keynotes, Training or Executive Coaching assignments contact joy@jvpl.net.

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