6 Key Areas to Improve on to Increase Happiness

Posted by Joseph Sherren on May 30, 2017

The Dalai Lama commented that what surprises him the most is:

So many people sacrifice their health in order to gain money.  Then later in life sacrifice their money to regain their health.

When we are young and in good health, we believe we are invincible.  Happiness and health can wait until we are older.  Remember the Harry Chapin song, “Cat’s in the Cradle?” The important, but not urgent, does not get the attention it deserves.

A reporter once asked George Burns when he was in his 90’s: “If you could live your life again, what would you do differently?”  George simply replied: “I would take life less seriously and I would look after my body better.”

Over the last 15 years, I personally interviewed hundreds of people who lived a successful life of happiness and good health.  I asked: “What is your secret to this accomplishment?”  I distilled their responses down to six key areas.  From that data, I created a keynote using the acronym – E.N.E.R.G.Y.

The first “E” is for exercise:  It is not necessary to run marathons nor swim channels in order to be healthy (kudos if you do).

What most healthy executives report is they walk for 20 minutes, five times a week (better if it is in nature).  Surprisingly, only 4% of people get this minimum amount of exercise and over 52% of baby boomers report no physical activity at all.

The “N” stands for nutrition. Many diets are destroying your metabolism.  People should consume less deep fried foods, bread and grains (our digestive system did not evolve to consume them), and concentrated juices (watch the CBC Marketplace exposé on orange juice). During one dinner at a restaurant, you may ingest all the salt your body requires for a month!

Next “E” is for Emotion. By harnessing emotions you can achieve outstanding accomplishments, both physically and professionally.  Many have heard stories of the mother lifting a car off her son, two teenage girls lifting a tractor off their father, or the Quebec mother who fought off a bear with her fists that was threatening her child. In the business world, great entrepreneurs channel these emotions into creating and growing their businesses.

The “R” is for Rest and Relaxation. Many cultures engage in siesta time.  There is now scientific research that people perform better and are less stressed if they take a daily nap and sleep about eight hours each night.

The “G” is for Goals.  Whether it is annual goals or longer term visions, this single act has changed many lives.  Writing goals down instills them deep into your subconscious and modifies your daily behaviors.

The “Y” is for Your Eudaimonia (your thermostat to happiness).  Happiness comes from three areas:

  • First is day-to-day circumstances. If you win a lottery, you’ll be happy – for a short while.  If you are in a minor accident, you’ll be unhappy – until the car is fixed. These daily events only determine 10% of our happiness.
  • The second is your eudaimonia.  You are born with a static level of happiness.  It is in your DNA – this accounts for 50%.
  • But, the third (40%) you can influence – it is derived from your thoughts, the people you associate with, and your level of the gratitude.  If you are not grateful for the blessings you have, it is not likely you will receive more.

To crank up your happiness thermostat; whatever you experience, create positive fantasies in your mind, hang out with happy people, and be grateful for everything you have.

My question for managers: “Are you living life with ENERGY?”

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