“You’d better change that attitude, young lady.” How often I heard that growing up, along with, “You will never be happy.” I was a typical teen with the typical thought pattern that whatever was lacking was the one thing that would make me happy, be it straight hair, a certain outfit, an anticipated letter, a date with a particular someone, and a sky blue Plymouth Duster with white interior.
With adulthood came the notion that to catch that elusive happiness I needed to work harder, which would lead to more success, putting happiness in my grasp. Fascinating brain research is proving our brains work contrary to that.
Long-term happiness is predicted by how our brains process our worlds, not by the worlds themselves. Reality is not the determining factor; it is our perception of that reality that is. (Consider my family’s move from St. Louis to Doniphan in 1969. I watched my siblings’ joy and adventure through my lens of misery.)
In a 2011 TED talk, speaker Shawn Achor shared the happiness advantage.“Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed…Intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise…Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.”
We work harder, faster and smarter being positive in the present. This has significant implications for productivity in the workplace, learning in the classroom, and managing cabin fever! Mom and Dad were on to something; it’s all in the attitude.
(First appeared in 2/24/2015 issue of Prospect-News)