Consistency is what matters most for positivity, and a better life can be boiled down into five key areas that help drive growth:
1. Mindfulness: Many of us don’t know how to manage negative thoughts, so we seek out easy alternatives to get a sense of positivity — we’re glued to our phones, we can’t stop checking social media, etc. You need to get curious about the craving and ask yourself, ‘why am I craving something that's not good for me?’ While we don’t need to beat ourselves up, we need to investigate our minds so we can begin to understand what drives us. Understanding fosters mindfulness.
2. Showing up for others: “Happy people are more social,” said Dr. Laurie Santos, one of Howes’ recent podcast guests. That doesn’t mean that introverted people aren't content, but rather that humans need to be around people who we respect and like. We need to spend quality time with the most important people to us, show up for them, and consistently invest in these relationships in meaningful ways.
3. Physical health: Let’s admit it: coffee is a huge part of many of our daily routines. But are we as dedicated to drinking water as we are with coffee? You need to apply that same consistency to habits that you know improve your physical health. Drink water, schedule physical activity, take breaks, get sleep — put reminders on your calendar so you don’t forget or push these activities out. You can even combine habits two and three by playing a sport, which is both a social and physical activity.
4. Service: In a Harvard study by Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, some participants were asked to spend money on themselves while others were asked to spend it on other people — the latter group rated themselves happier by the end of the day. The greatest gift you can give yourself is giving to others. When you give, you receive way more in return and create a more sustainable form of happiness.
5. Gratitude: Gratitude is the foundation for joy, connection, and community. And all gratitude has to be is a shift in perspective. By appreciating what we already have, we get more out of it. In fact, a study by American Psychological Association found that patients who kept a gratitude journal for eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Expressing that gratitude eases your mind and helps improve your overall health. Whether it's through a gratitude journal, leaving messages with friends, or just sharing over a team call, be sure to consistently verbalize your gratitude.