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The Happiness Advantage

Essays got you down? Feeling a sense of mid-term blues? Stuck in a cyclone of negativity?

As students, we’re spread thin. Aiming for success, and strategically trying to balance sport, societies, a social life, a job, oh... and lectures isn’t easy. Productivity is crucial; we have so much to accomplish in a day (before the Arena queue gets too long). But how can anything be accomplished when you’re cold, sad and preoccupied?

As the winter warms to spring I challenge you all to shed the layers of negativity and pursue positivity. Shawn Achor, Harvard graduate and CEO of Good Think Inc., recently published a Technology Education and Development (TED) talk about happiness being the secret to success.

Achor spent over a decade at Harvard researching positive psychology, and concluded that completing five simple tasks daily (taking about two minutes in total) can retrain the brain to be more positive which induces the release of dopamine and activates the learning centers in our brains. A positive brain performs better than one that is negative, neutral or stressed. It has higher levels of creativity, energy and intelligence, which leads to a more productive and successful life.

Being positive in the present enables our brains to work faster and more intelligently. So, what is the secret?
1)   Gratitude

Note three new things you are thankful for each day. Your brain starts to scan the world not for the negative, but for the positive.

2)   Journaling

Reflect on one positive experience each day, this allows your brain to relive it.

3)   Exercise

This teaches the brain that behavior matters.

4)   Meditation

Train your brain to get over cultural ADHD and focus on the task at hand.

5)   Random Acts of Kindness

Praise one person a day in your social support network.
By doing these tasks every day for 21 days it has been scientifically proven that you can retrain the brain to be positive. So give it a go! It could boost essay grades, encourage you to do more exercise and be a generally nicer person! Stop postponing happiness and reframe your future!

Watch the video here: http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html

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