1. Replace Self-Criticism with Self-Compassion – Bottom of Form

Self-criticism and being hard on ourselves and weakens us while self-compassion provides us with the skills we need for resilience, happiness and productivity.

  1. Replace Complaints and Negativity with GratitudeGratitude is the perfect antidote and it can be harnessed for greater health and well-being. We also get caught up in an eternal chase for what we think will bring us happiness but really just fools us.
  2. Balance Seriousness with Play – As adults, we often fail to remember to play, but research shows it boosts our creativity, health, and well-being.
  3. Balance Self-Focus with Compassion for Others – Focus is actually associated with anxiety and depression. We aren’t naturally selfish. Actually, our natural instinct is to act fairly. Compassion appears to be an evolutionarily adaptive traitthat has tremendous health and well-being benefits. Compassion will benefit your relationships, including your romantic relationships. In fact, compassion may be the best-kept secret to happiness. It’s good for your businessand both men and women are wired for it.
  4. Balance Solitude with Connection – Our brains are wired for connectionto others. We thrive when we connectLonelinesscan be balanced with connection. You can even learn to be together and connected when you’re alone. Connection helps us overcome stress.
  5. Balance Activity with Doing Nothing – You’ll get more done by doing more of nothing. It’s good for you and your productivity. A great way to get started is meditation.

t pays to be happy. Happy people live longer and, by definition, they lead happier lives. They make better decisions and have more fulfilling relationships. They also make more money, being as much a consequence of happiness as acause.

The psychology of happiness attempts to answer some very fundamental questions pursued over the years by philosophers, theologians, and politicians—specifically, three types of questions.

The first series of questions is really about the definition and measurement of happiness; the second is about why certain groups are as happy or unhappy as they are; and the third concerns what a person should do (or not do) to increase happiness.

The research suggests that happy people have strong immune systems. They tend to be more successful at work and have better personal relationships at the office and outside of it. They are more attractive to others. They seem to like themselves more than unhappy people and to cope better with setbacks. Happy people make better decisions and tend to be more creative. Unhappy people seem to waste time and effort being vigilant for signs of failure. This saps their energy.

There is evidence that subjective well being is partly inherited. Twin studies have shown that just as people inherit a propensity or predisposition for depression, so they do likewise for happiness. But environmental factors inevitably play a part, particularly early family home environments which can mark us for the future. We also know that although people can experience events that cause them extreme happiness or unhappiness in the short term, they tend to return to their normal happiness levels relatively quickly.

It seems that some societies and individuals are simply happier than others. For example, Latin nations seem happier than Pacific Rim nations. Several factors seem to relate to overall national happiness—the wealth, stability and democratic nature of the society in which people live, and the social norms and conventions governing the desirability of experiencing positive and negative emotions. The evidence shows that dire poverty certainly makes people unhappy, but at the other extreme, great wealth has little effect on subjective well-being. Studies also show that the more materialistic an individual, the less happy he or she is.

And the happiest people all seem to have good friends.

So even if you have not inherited a “sunny disposition,” or a family fortune, you can become happier. The gurus in this game have made the following observations:

  1. Don’t count on money. Wealth is only weakly related to happiness, both within and across nations, particularly when income is above the poverty level. You become no happier after reaching an income of around £40/$50,000 per annum.
  2. Don’t count on retail therapy or eating out. Activities that make people happy in small doses—such as shopping or good food—do not lead to fulfillment in the long term, indicating that these have quickly diminishing returns.
  3. Get creative and let your juices flow. Engaging in an experience that produces “flow” is really gratifying and happy-making. Flow is experienced when one’s skills are sufficient for a challenging activity, in the pursuit of a clear goal, when immediate self-awareness disappears and sense of time is distorted.
  4. Be thankful for what you have, and for what others have done for you. People who express gratitude on a regular basis have better physical healthoptimism, well-being, and progress toward goals—and they help others more.
  5. Get on with it. Happiness is journey, not a destination. It is a process, not a goal. Trying to maximize personal happiness can lead to unhappiness.
  6. Watch the Good Samaritan. (Observe selfless volunteers.)People who witness others perform good deeds experience an emotion called “elevation,” which motivates them to perform their own good deeds.
  7. Learn to see the glass half full. Optimism can protect people from distress. Optimism is self-fulfilling—as is pessimism. Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right.
  8. Start early. People who report more positive emotions in young adulthood live longer and healthier lives.
  9. Take the knocks. Healthy human development can take place under conditions of even great adversity due to a resilience that is common and completely ordinary.
  10. Scribble away your woes. Individuals who write about traumaticevents are physically healthier than control groups who do not. Writing about life goals is significantly less distressing than writing about trauma, and is associated with enhanced well-being.

Should happiness be a competency at work? Should employers seek out inspiring, spirit-lifting, life-enhancing types, and reject gloom-mongering heart-sinkers? Is happiness easy to fake at an interview? Probably. But ask a referee to rate a person’s base level of happiness and they will have no problem doing so accurately.

Happiness needs to be passed around. It can be (partly) acquired. It is a social good and a business asset. Seek out, reward, and encourage the happy.

There are certain nonverbal communication (body language) skills that each of us possesses in lesser or greater amounts.

Let’s look at six different types, and the strengths and drawbacks associated with each:

  • Emotional Expressiveness. Some people are naturally emotionally effusive. They easily convey their felt emotions through facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, and body movement. The upside is that emotionally expressive people tend to be more popular, and can be the life of the party. The downside is that everyone knows what you are feeling. Importantly, emotional expressiveness is a key component of “personal charisma,” and is related to what is called “dynamic attractiveness.”
  • Emotional Control. This is skill in monitoring and controlling the nonverbal expression of emotions and feelings, and being able to cover felt emotional states with a different, emotional “mask.” People high in emotional control are skilled emotional actors, but they may appear distant and “hard to read.” People with high levels of emotional control are like poker players—you never know what they are really feeling or thinking inside.
  • Emotional Sensitivity. People skilled in emotional sensitivity are good at “reading” others’ nonverbal cues, and are able to easily detect others’ emotional states. As a result, those who possess a great deal of emotional sensitivity are seen as empathic; these are the persons whom others seek out when they are troubled or in pain. On the downside, possessing too much emotional sensitivity can make you prone to “emotional contagion”—feeling other people’s pain and emotional states to the extent that you become “infected” by their emotions.
  • Social Sensitivity. This is a nonverbal skill with some elements of verbal and social competence. Social sensitivity it is the ability to “read” social situations, and to know how to behave appropriately in a wide range of social settings. It helps the skilled individual to understand the complexities of social interaction, and to anticipate others’ actions and behaviors.
  • Skill in Deception. The ability to lie successfully partly involves being able to tell a plausible verbal lie, but also requires the ability to portray oneself as honest. Research has determined that some people are successful liars simply because they look more honest overall, regardless of whether they are lying or telling the truth. Their nonverbal behavior, which includes rapid speech, an expressive face, and fluid body movements makes certain skilled individuals better liars.
  • Skill in Detecting Deception. A very rare nonverbal skill is the ability to detect deception. Most people cannot detect deception at better than chance levels, but a very few individuals—what Paul Ekman and his colleagues call “wizards”—are able to detect deception through careful analyses of both verbal and nonverbal cues. This skill was portrayed in the TV seriesLie to Me.

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