Robin’s synopsis of
HAPPINESS and YOUR HEALTH with Marci Shimoff:How to be Happy for No Reason
Marci Shimoff is an international speaker and the author of Happy for No Reason.
Marci says she was born depressed. She worked hard to achieve success thinking this would bring her happiness, only to find out that all her achievements did not make her happy.
After interviewing happy people and studying the research, she developed a system of seven steps with 21 habits, to become happier.
Marci is clear to point out that being happy for no reason is not becoming a Pollyanna where you live in denial of all your feelings. It is an inner sense of peace and well-being that is independent of your circumstances. This makes you more resilient to bounce back when adversity is in your life.
Research tells us that we all have a “set-point” of happiness that is similar to a thermostat. We hover around this set-point that may go up when things go our way and down when they do not. If you win the lottery, your happiness may sky-rocket, but most people return to their “pre-win” happiness level within one year of the windfall. The same holds true for tragedy: most people will have a dip in happiness when something negative occurs, but return to their baseline of happiness over time.
Research also has shown that close to 50% of our happiness is genetic, 40% comes from our thoughts and habits and only 10% is circumstantial. This means that changing external circumstances, i.e., our income, job, marital status, or where we live, has the least impact on our happiness.
The good news is that we can raise our happiness set-point. According to the field of epigenetics, even the amount of happiness that is genetically given to us, can be affected by changing our behavior with simple practices.
DO the MATH!
If only 10% of our happiness is from external circumstances, that means 90% is within our control!
Marci’s seven categories of behavioral change are:
- Take Responsibility by not complaining, blaming, or shaming. Be a victor and not a victim in life.
- Be mindful of your thoughts and what you feed yourself
- Live with an open heart and in gratitude
- Take care of your body and make sure your biochemistry is balanced with nutrients and exercise
- Feed your soul with connection to something outside of yourself
- Find a purpose and passion in your life
- Surround yourself with a supportive community
Looking at the list of seven, choose the area in which you are the weakest-it is there you can have the most to gain and will see the greatest impact. This is where you would start your journey to create a happier you!
Two Simple Things You Can Implement Immediately
Most people have difficulty with their thoughts. We have at least 60,000 thoughts per day and, for most, 80% of those are negative. Rick Hanson has said that we have Velcro for negative thoughts, they stick to us. And, we have Teflon for the positive, we let them slide right off of us.
So, look for the good. Then savor it for at least 20 seconds. This will start to re-wire your brain to develop “Velcro” for the positive. In addition, a 3:1 ratio of good thoughts to bad is needed to develop a more positive attitude. That means, for every negative thought, find 3 more positive ones to counteract it!
A second habit to embrace is the Inner Ease Technique from Heart Math. Their research has shown that if we are angry or frustrated for 5 minutes, it lowers our immune markers for up to 6 hours. Conversely, being grateful for 5 minutes will raise our immunity for up to 6 hours.
Inner Ease will bring you into Heart Rhythm Coherence that reduces stress. Put your hand on your heart. Just placing your hand on your own heart will increase your level of the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin. Then visualize that you are breathing in and out of your heart for several minutes.
Once Marci started embracing the above habits and several others in the seven categories, she not only felt less depressed but her overall health improved.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH BONE HEALTH?
Margie Bissinger noted that techniques to improve happiness will lower cortisol, the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol has been linked to a reduction in osteoblasts, the cells that build bone. So, anything you do to lower your stress will support your ability to maintain your bone density.
There are 19 more habits that were not discussed in this interview, but all are simple processes. Even though they can be easy to learn, doesn’t mean they will all be easy to do!
My solution for creating new habits:
Start small, do it in community, and/or have an accountability partner!