Are you a victim or a victor in life?
This is the question Marci Shimoff, bestselling author, and one of the speakers at the recent Women in Power event, asked her audience. WIP, hosted by Raymond Aaron, invited Shimoff to speak and share aspects of her latest book Happy for No Reason.
Shimoff presented a simple but poignant message to her audience: We have to make a constant effort to make happiness a priority in our lives by being consciously aware of and raising our happiness set point.
We raise our happiness set-point by creating happiness neuro-pathways in the brain; in other words, cultivating and developing the habit of happiness.
The number one way to create the neuro-pathways of happiness in the brain is to raise the level of our self-esteem.
Because of our prehistoric history we are wired for negativity; it served a purpose in that it reminded our cave-dwelling ancestors to be cognizant of the danger around them. Those who were less vigilant did not survive.
Shimoff reminds us that of the 60,000 thoughts that we have daily, 80% of those thoughts are negative.
Raising our happiness set point means that we move from operating from the ego to become more heart-centered, which allows the compassion and generosity to flow in our lives. It means that we really have to learn how to let go of resentment and anger and forgive others as well as learning to forgive ourselves.
Not only does forgiveness and letting go allow for the release of the blocks that can impact our emotional, psychological and spiritual functioning, Shimoff talked about the clear evidence that highlights the physiological changes that occur in the brain and heart that directly come from establishing forgiveness and letting go practices.
Developing these skills not only allows us to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others, it teaches us to live with gratitude and appreciation- a much happier state.
Another way of raising the happiness set point and creating new happiness neuro-pathways is to associate with positive energy people. We are affected by the people around us all the time. Their energy affects the environment, which in turn will influence us. The importance of connecting with a healthy tribe cannot be underestimated.
And finally the most obvious way to fuel happiness is to laugh and develop a sense of humour. We are all aware of the powerful research on the impact of increased laughter in our lives and its relationship to the increase in endorphins – one of our happiness hormones.
Shimoff’s 7 Steps to being Happy on the Inside Out include the following:
- Take responsibility for your happiness
- Don’t believe everything you think
- Let love lead
- Make your cells happy
- Plug into spirit
- Live an inspired life with purpose and passion
- Develop good relationships
In order for us to reinforce the new happiness neuro-pathways that we have created, Shimoff reminds us that we need to continuously be on the lookout for the good in every situation; while savoring and digesting our positive experiences and holding them for at least 20 seconds or more. She encourages us to strive for a 3:1 ratio of happiness every day.
Marci provided many anecdotes, stories and exercises to illustrate her theory of the importance of cultivating happiness. It was a delight to hear her speak and share her thoughts about this subject. I can’t wait to read her book Happiness for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy Inside Out.
I will end this summary of the event with Marci’s own words:
If you want …………………
- ……………….… to be more successful
- …………………. to earn more money
- …………………..to have better relationships
- ………………..…to develop stronger immune systems
- ……………………to live longer
Cultivating the art of happiness is pivotal to you achieving a successful outcome. Marci sums it up nicely:
“We are not on the planet to survive, we are on the planet to thrive.”