Another multimedia QOTD, this time from Shawn Achor at TEDxBloomington (~9:50):
What we’ve done is we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon, as a society. And that’s because we think that we have to be successful, then we’ll be happier.
But the real problem is our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage: which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed.
I’m intrigued at how much this sounds like something I’ve said over the years — “systems under stress perform poorly” — referring to people who seem to be effing up at work. But I spent far less time considering the corollary (which is kinda a duh … my bad!).
But I had an experience in January that changed this for me. I had been feeling fairly depressed, much of which I attributed to some post-holiday let-down and a lot of off-track holiday eating. Just four days back on track with my PHD eating and I had a major league ‘a ha’ about my situation that improved my outlook tremendously. And it struck me that I would not have had that insight had I still been slogging around on SAD foods and drink.
As a psychologist, Achor focuses less on diet and more on fairly simple strategies for raising positivity in the present, a couple of which (meditation and exercise) fit nicely in an ancestral health frame. Check out the video or his book, The Happiness Advantage, for more.