Remember that rather nonsensical song by Bobbie McFerrin back in the eighties, Don’t Worry, Be Happy!
It began like this:
Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy......
It turns out that he was right, especially the lines in every life we have some trouble - when you worry you make it double. What you give your focus and attention to is what you attract to your life. Worry is wasted energy and leads you to focus on exactly what you don’t want in your life.
I began pondering this yet, again, not only because it portrays my personal philosophy, but because I had the good fortune to attend a presentation last week on the topic of Positive Psychology. Yes there is actually a field of study devoted to the idea of being happy, in fact Positive Psychology is the study of human flourishing, the science of happiness.
Are you sceptical? Here’s an example. The presenter, Kurt Shuster, www.noomii.com, talked about the research on approach versus avoidance goals. An approach goal would state something like, I want to be on time for all my meetings, where as an avoidance goal would state, I don’t want to be late. The students in this study who used Approach Goals for setting their academic objectives were, as you can imagine, more successful in achieving them. This reinforces the idea that taking a positive versus negative approach to life enhances success.
Next Kurt presented the four pillars of Well-Being. These are: positive emotions, character, engagement and meaning, and positive relationships. The presence of postive emotions, that is happiness, influences your ability to be creative and optimistic, and influences your energy levels. In other words, research demonstrates that emotion serves an important purpose, it crystalizes what you practice everyday based on who you are being.
Slightly different from positive emotions is character, your personal strengths. Assessing and knowing your strengths allows you to leverage these strengths everyday in what you do. Working from your strenghts enhances your well-being. Research regarding Character, Strengths and Virtues found that, across cultures, the five strengths associated with Well-Being are hope, gratitude, curiosity, zest, and the capacity to love and be loved. In addition, the research showed that the two strengths associated with work satisfaction are hope and zest, zest being passion, excitement and energy.
The third pillar, engagement and meaning refers to the degree to you derive meaning from your life and your work and the extent to which you are engaged. To derive meaning implies that you know yourself and your sense of purpose; and you have taken the time for introspection.
Finally positive relationships refers to the notion that happiness is contagious. The Framingham Heart Study found that people who are happy, have friends and family who are happy and surround themselvs with positive relationships.
In the end, however, it always come back to you and I. You are responsible for your own happiness and it is within your power to be happy or not. Happiness is not based on some magic bullet that lies outside of you, it is created from within.
All of this points to something most of you probably knew already – don’t worry, be happy.
This lecture resonated with me, and was, yet again an important reminder and roadSIGN for me. In validates and privides empirical evidence in support of coaching, noting that coaching, from my perspective is designed to help clients shift from worry to a creative, positive framework for managing their life.
If you are interested in this research, you can take the VIA strengths assessment to evaluate your strengths at www.viacharacter.org and visit the science of coaching blog at www.blog.noomii.com.
Until next time…
Betty Betty Healey is The roadSIGNS Coach, coaching people and teams back to life! An award winning author, Betty recently released her third book ME FIRST – If I Should Wake Before I Die. Her books and other roadSIGNS products for supporting your journey of self-discovery are available at www.roadSIGNS.ca. Betty also offers special coaching packages for her readers. You can contact Betty at betty@roadSIGNS.ca ; (613) 874-9934.