“Making Australia Happy”

Did you know just knowing a happy person can make you happier? Yup, a Harvard Medical School study of 5000 people over 20 years – revealed “that happiness could spread like a virus in social networks” – three degrees, in fact – you, your friends and your friends’ friends and your friends’ friends friends’! Viral happiness – when you are happy, you make the world a happier place.

Happiness just might be the best gift to give this holiday season. It looks good on everyone, it’s free and returning or re-gifting it only makes it better. 

I recently received a happy little gift – I found the new TV show: Making Australia Happy. It’s edutainment at its best.  A show about people, positive psychology and being happier! Needless to say I loved it, and here’s why.

  1. Scientific Approach. 
  2. People & Possibilities
  3. Hands-on Tips & Techniques

Scientific Approach

Lots of pre and post physical tests: blood – cortisol, anti-bodies; brain – waves and activity; body – strength and balance. They tracked physical changes – the good indicators went up, the bad went down, and showed, once again, that being happier can lead to increased resistance to illness and disease, body balance and strength and a quieter brain, which is a good thing.

People & Possibilities

They started with eight very unhappy and very different volunteers.  Added 3 experts as guides and coaches, and created an eight-week warm and welcoming program for viewers to share – no yelling, no threats – just proven techniques, accountability and kindness, which created possibilities for the thousands and thousands folks watching to enjoy happier lives, too. 

Hands-on tips and Techniques

They blend old tips with new techniques to encourage participation by the volunteers. Here are just a few: 

Eulogy – Write yours!  Helps you focus on how you want your life to look. This is about “core values” not goals.  How do you want to be remembered?  For what qualities?

Character Strengths for Altruistic Ends

Understanding character strengths is about understanding what it is that makes us thrive as individuals. The simple logic is that we are at our best and happiest when we are exercising our strengths – and that a strengths-based approach can benefit everything we do (our productivity at work, the quality of our relationships, etc). The VIA Survey of Character Strengths was developed by Drs. Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson to assess 24 character strengths. [The test is free online, but you need to register.]

Now you know how it feels to be “you at your best”, how can you channel this into the greater good? Whatever your top character strengths, think about how you can use them to serve something bigger than yourself. Perhaps you can incorporate your top strength into an act of kindness? Perhaps it can be channelled into some community or charity work?”

Another altruistic happiness builder: Random Acts of Kindness/Pay it Forward –  This is the perfect time of year to reach out to others daily – yes daily – different people, different days, different situations. Get creative.  In this hectic season there are oodles of opportunities. You can do it.

Gratitudes – daily and letters 

Write three gratitudes a day, savor them for 30 seconds each and presto – you get happier! Simple and true. 

Want to make others happy, and yourself in the process? Write a gratitude letter to someone special in your life.  Click here to get started.

Forgiveness – T’is the season . . .

Studies show that resentment is associated with increased blood pressure, heart disease, increased cortisol levels and neurological changes in brain structure. Research is now showing that forgiveness can be a powerful antidote to resentment.

Fee like it’s time for a change?  Click here to get started. 

There is so much more in the series.  Big things that will radically change your life, and little bits of knowledge such as ballroom dancing (Episode 3, 36.30 min.) is great for balance, motivation, self-esteem, brain (mirror neurons) and social activity, cool huh?

Take a look for yourself. 

Check out the Making Australia Happy web site, and if you have the time, watch the last few minutes of the last episode: Happiness (Episode 3, 48.00).  I bet just watching it will make you feel better.  

Have a wonderful weekend. I look forward to sharing more about OTAT and your one thing on Monday, and on Wednesday, I will share tips for making the most of holiday gatherings with family.

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