We’re awake for about 1000 minutes per day. What if investing just two of those minutes into a daily happiness practice could improve your heart health, immune system, and sleep quality while helping you combat the effects of stress and live longer — would you do it? Us too.
That’s why we recently invited happiness expert and bestselling author Neil Pasricha to join us as part of our client exclusive At The Spotlight event series. In a world bombarded by change, expectation, and uncertainty, he offers the antidote in his uplifting, science-backed, story-laden, and full-of-laughs keynote presentation based on his bestselling book, The Happiness Equation.
We walked away from his event with specific, research-backed tools and practices to help us cultivate a habit-based, positive mindset every day, and now we’re sharing them with you!
98% of us sleep next to our phones, and what’s the first thing we do in the morning? Fire up that dopamine-spiking, blue-light emitting, doom-scroll enabling device. Instead, Neil implored us to kick our phones out of the bedroom and replace our morning scroll habit with a quick and easy journaling session.
Each morning, Neil says, complete the following sentences:
1. I will let go of…
Get whatever has been weighing you down or nagging at you out of your brain and on to the page, Neil says.
For example, I will let go of… comparing myself to Jay Shetty — ok, that’s a personal one of Neil’s, but perhaps yours is about letting go of that rude email you got the other day or being late to the parent-teacher conference. Whatever it is, release it by writing it down.
2. I am grateful for…
Expressing gratitude, Neil says, has been proven to not only improve our mental health but our physical health as well!
The key is being specific with what we’re grateful about. For example, I am grateful for when my husband, Antonio, remembered to put the toilet seat down. It’s about recognizing and celebrating the little things in life, something Neil’s a pro at as the author of The Book of Awesome!
3. I will focus on…
Does it ever feel like life is just making one decision after another, after another, after another? Many of us suffer from decision fatigue and this directly impacts our level of happiness, Neil says.
So, each morning he recommends that you carve one “will do” out of your endless “could do” or “should do” lists. This will help steer the focus of your day.
The #1 proven way to sustain long-term happiness is strong social connections. Nothing else compares, Neil says. Yet, in a world where we have never been more connected, we’re currently suffering from a loneliness epidemic as declared by the World Health Organization. So why is this happening?
We have a cognitive limit to the number of relationships we can sustain, Neil says. It’s called Dunbar’s number and it concludes that we can keep up to 15 close friends, 50 friends, and 150 meaningful connections.
The problem we face today, Neil says, is that we’re replacing two-way friendships with one-way relationships over social media — think influencers and celebrities.
Phone a Friend
To counteract this, Neil says each day around lunch, take two minutes to phone a friend or, even simpler, send them a voice memo.
State the value of your friendship, Neil says, share a story, and end with a question. You will never regret investing that time into the people you love.
Unfortunately, staring at the bright screens of our phones up to one-hour before bed inhibits our ability to produce enough melatonin — our sleep hormone — to last the night.
Instead, Neil recommends that you lock that baby up and spend two minutes each evening reading two pages of fiction. Reading fiction strengthens our neurons responsible for empathy, compassion, and understanding, Neil says. Skills that happen to be crucial for leaders in today’s business landscape.
The Goal Isn’t to Be Perfect
After walking us through his three-step strategy to enhance our happiness, Neil wanted to make sure we understood this one caveat to his advice — this is not about being perfect, he says, the goal is to be a little better than before.
It’s easy to make excuses as to why we shouldn’t do something. Often behind those excuses is fear —we get stuck in our own heads, Neil says.
Happiness isn’t just a feeling, it’s a practice. And it’s easier to act our way into new habits than it is to think our way into them. Picking just one of the practices outlined above is the minimum viable dose, Neil says, to begin cultivating a habit-based, positive mindset every day.
Watch a recap of Neil’s incredible event below:
Neil Pasricha is one of the most popular TED speakers in the world. Called “a pied piper of happiness”, he dazzles audiences with ideas and simple tools that help skyrocket organizational happiness and engagement.
With infectious enthusiasm, heartfelt authenticity, and a “what works” authority, Neil draws on the latest research to show audiences how to enhance individual performance and create a more positive and productive workplace.
Contact us to learn more about Neil and how to book him for your next event.