What we Learned from the Happiness Advantage

*Originally published for eGuide Tech Allies*


This year has been stressful, disheartening, and down right difficult to manage. With the added stress of the election, and coronavirus cases rising it’s easy to let negative emotions get the best of our well-being. Our team dedicates time every week to reflect and practice the teachings from Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage. Using some of the tactics that outlined in this book we are able to increase our mood and productivity in work and in life.


Meditate for 5 Minutes a Day

There’s no secret that meditation is one way to clear a busy mind and promote a more positive mood. Other benefits to meditation include improvements in concentration and attention, reductions in anxiety, and keeps an aging mind sharper₁. Meditation can also promote overall health including sleep, weight loss, and pain alleviation₂.


With apps like Headspace and Calm, meditation can be done easily with just 5 minutes out of your day.


Find Something to Look Forward to

While trip planning and outings around the city aren’t recommended right now, there are still plenty of things to plan ahead for and look forward to. Round up a group of friends to do a movie night using Teleparty which connects with all of your favorite streaming apps. Connect with your long distance family and try your hand at virtual pictionary with Skribbl. Order a new puzzle from Piecework Puzzles and sit down with your family and roommates with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Set aside some time for yourself with a new hobby or craft like one of these cute cross stitch kits from TheStrandedStitch.


Commit Conscious Acts of Kindness

Yes, they need to be conscious acts of kindness. You can’t count holding the door for someone last week as an act. One day, actively commit five acts of kindness. This could be:

  1. Buying a drink for the customer behind you at the coffee shop

  2. Send an old friend a spontaneous email, or letter!

  3. Donate food or clothing to those in need

  4. Bake cookies for a friend or neighbor

  5. Run an errand for a friend or family member

Or come up with your own!


Infuse Positivity into Your Surroundings

Most of us have been spending A LOT of time in our homes. Our living room has become the classroom, office, dining area, and so much more since we have been put on lockdown and continue to stay home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Creating an environment that you feel productive in, and enjoy looking at is more important than you might think. Adding in a new piece of art or a new desk tchotchke that makes you smile is a great way to “spark joy” in your surroundings. So treat yourself to that new sherpa blanket or a pot for your favorite plant. It’s for your happiness!


Get those Endorphins Flowing

It’s no secret that exercise is good for your mind and your body. Exercise reduces the body’s production of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, while stimulating the production of endorphins which can act as natural painkillers₃. In short, exercising can help clear your mind and boost your mood.


People have gotten creative with their exercise routines due to the high risk of virus transmission that gyms present. eGuide team member Lauren likes to take a Divvy bike along the lakefront trail after the work day. There has been an influx of online classes that require little to no equipment for you to get a quick sweat in. Even taking a 15 minute break during your day to walk around the block can help boost your mood!


Spend Money on Experiences, Not Stuff

While spending money on trips and experiences is risky with so much uncertainty around the state of the virus, there are still other experiences you can put your paycheck towards. With the holidays coming up shortly, take this time to put some extra thought into a gift for your friends and family. Support local restaurants by ordering in for a date night.


Exercise a Signature Strength or Strength of Character

At eGuide, we’re all about figuring out our strengths and character types. Check out Via Character Survey to see what your top strengths are, and maximize on one of them. If “love of learning” is in your top five strengths, take an hour each week to brush up on a new hobby or skill. If “creativity” is a highlighted strength, flex your creative muscle at the end of each workday. The fact is, we enjoy doing things we’re good at. Feed into your ego a little bit and practice your strengths.

Like we said before, this is a difficult and uncharted time. Be gentle with yourself, be gentle with others.

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/?sh=1d1e3d821465

  2. https://www.headspace.com/science/meditation-benefits

  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax