Here are three hacks from the Adventure of Happpiness. Each hack is a way to to practice larger ideas in a simple format.
- Look forward: Shawn Achor discovered that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie raised their endorphin levels by 27% (The Happiness Advantage, 52), so your task for today is simply to find something to look forward to. Think about what you’ll enjoy most, and with whom you’ll share that enjoyment. Imagine the sights, the smells, the journey—take mental snapshots of the future—and begin directing your thoughts toward the happiness you will experience later on.
- Enjoy your strengths: Take fifteen minutes each day, beyond the time you would normally allot, and exercise a signature strength—something you’re good at, whether it’s as trivial as crossword puzzles or as significant as studying the finer points of criminal law. This is a proven means of boosting your sense of mastery and accomplishment, thereby increasing your self-confidence and overall feelings of happiness.
- Think about death: Wait…What? Yes. According to Jane McGonigal’s research in Reality is Broken, thinking about death for five minutes a day can induce a mellow, grateful physiological state known as “post traumatic bliss” that helps us appreciate the present moment and savor our lives more.
Dr. David McDonald is the teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, MI. The church, widely considered among the most innovative in America, has been featured on CNN.com and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Time Magazine. David weaves deep theological truths with sharp social analysis and peculiar observations on pop culture. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Carmel, and their two kids. Follow him on twitter (@fossores) or online at fossores.com