I Think This Means You Are A Unicorn

By AnnMarie Minichiello
August 20, 2013

I Think This Means You Are A Unicorn

7-year-old Shawn Achor was playing with his 5-year-old sister Amy, who just the week prior had broken her arm due to her older brothers rough-housing. Not learning his lesson, Shawn accidentally shoved Amy from the top of the bunk bed and watched as she crashed to the floor landing on all fours. In fear of getting in even more trouble he quickly attempted to ease his pained sister before she began to wail: “Did you see how you landed? Amy, I think this means you are a unicorn.” A face of horror quickly shifted to happiness as she bounced back up on the bed, excited to begin her new identity as a unicorn. Could the excitement and happiness from her brothers astute manipulation stop Amy’s pain from ever coming?
Shawn Achor researches people who are positive outliers- people who seem to be naturally well above average and positive. Studies show that it is not reality that shapes us, but the lens with which we view our reality. If we change this lens, we can not only change our happiness but every single business and educational outcome. Common belief is that we need to be successful to be happy, but it’s more possible that the formula is backwards. Achor says that if we are to look at all the external factors of a person’s life, we can only determine roughly 10% of their long-term happiness. What this means is that it is a common misconception that a person’s external reality determines their happiness.
Simple positive psychology can transform your organization. Awareness of the science of happiness can raise levels of engagement, productivity, creativity and happiness at work. There are many great resources for information about what Shawn Achor has discovered through his research. When you change the formula with which you view happiness and success, it is possible to change your reality. As a society, we believe that if were to be successful, we will be happier. However when a person is able to raise the level of positivity in the present moment, the brain develops what is known as “The Happiness Advantage.” This results in better secure jobs, better at keeping jobs, superior productivity, more resilient, less vulnerable to burning out, less turnover, and greater sales.
Here are 5 easy science-backed ways to be happier:.
1.  Exercise more- even just for 7 minutes-
Exercise has a monstrous effect on happiness and well-being. It is actually a proven strategy for overcoming depression. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine. Dopamine is know for it’s feel-good effects, but it also makes the brain function better. It turns on all the learning centers of the brain. Exercising regularly trains your brain that your heavier matters.
2.  Sleep more-
Sleep helps our bodies to repair and recover, but it also helps us to focus and be more productive. One study shows that sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions.
3.  Go outside- happiness is maximized at 57 degrees-
Spending twenty minutes outside in good weather boosts positive mood, broadens thinking and improves working memory. The American Meteorological Society found that current temperature affects happiness more than wind or humidity. Keep your eye on the weather, 57 degrees fahrenheit is the magic number.
4.  Meditate-
Meditation is a practice that literally clears your mind. Studies of the brain before and after meditation shows that it calms parts of the brain that have been excited throughout the day. In today’s speedy lifestyle, we train our brains with self-imposed ADHD. Meditation helps to focus on one task at a time, the task at hand.
5. Write down 3 gratitudes a day-
Everyday write down three new things you are grateful for. It will train your brain to scan your day looking for the positives in life. Recalling a positive experience in your life over the last 24 hours allows your brain to relive it in the present.

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