[If you want to listen to this post, instead of reading it, click the audio file below]
Do you want to be happier? Want to find the Secret to Happiness?
Sounds like a ridiculous question, but so many of us these days still have not found it.
Why is that? If you’re reading this article, you probably have more physical wealth than a great deal of the people on Earth. You have a phone, or computer, or both, an internet connection, and the time to read or listen. Why aren’t we happier?
I think it’s because we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the key elements of happiness. We’ve been duped by people trying to sell us STUFF for so long that we’ve come to think that the key is more crap, more things, more money, bigger houses, faster cars, blingier jewelry, fancy clothes, and ten televisions.
Bullshit. No it isn’t.
You want to know the secret to happiness? I’m gonna tell you, and this isn’t going to be one of my long articles, because it doesn’t take long to give this one away.
Gratitude is the Key to Happiness
Yep. I said it. Practicing gratitude is the silver bullet, the Holy Grail of Happiness.
“But only happy people have anything to be grateful for!” you say.
That’s what I thought, too, but it’s incorrect. The inverse is the truth; people who practice gratitude become happier. Period.
Yes, happy people tend to practice gratitude more, but it is the cause and effect that we have gotten wrong. We’ve turned them round the wrong way; gratitude PRECEDES happiness, not the other way round. Once you’re happy, you will be more grateful than ever, so it creates an awesome feedback loop, but it is gratitude that comes first. This isn’t a chicken and egg thing.
Where I Found the Grail
I came across this idea, first, in a book by Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken, in which she mentioned the work of Martin Seligman and other positive psychologists, and I was stunned by the simplicity of the idea. So stunned, that it took me a year or more to realize that I really needed to APPLY the knowledge. It turns out, that just knowing where the Grail is, isn’t the same as drinking from it. You have to actually DO IT, i.e., practice gratitude, in order to get the benefit of happiness. Duhhh!
So, I finally did, and it was Jane McGonigal, again, that set me on the right path, because she mentioned an app in her book that helps to keep you on track when it comes to practicing gratitude, aptly named, The Happier App! Go figure.
Happier App: The Holy Grail of Happiness
The free app—which you should be downloading already—was developed by an awesome lady, Natalie Kogan. It’s very simple to use. The layout is similar to Facebook. You are encouraged to post small moments of gratitude throughout your day, and share them with your social media outlets: Facebook and Twitter, as well as people who follow you on Happier. You can then comment and ‘smile’ at other people’s moments. In fact, I just shared my 400th Happier Moment, this Morning!
On the left is a screen shot of one of my Happier posts from last week, when I was working on my front porch on a beautiful spring day, and realized, “You know, this is pretty fuckin’ awesome!”
There are also ‘courses’ in gratitude, some of them free, that you can opt into, that help to explain the core ideas of living a more grateful, happier life. Natalie’s courses are the best, I think. So I would strongly recommend the Happier App, if you really want to be, well, happier.
Trust me, it works!
You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, whatever. You’re just one of those ‘naturally’ happier people.”
WRONG! If you want to know where my mind was a few years ago, just read my first blog post: My Negative Life: a Positive Twist, and you’ll see the arc of my journey from a very negative space to where I am today: a happy man. And the Happier App played no small part in that transformation, as well as the latest app I’ve been raving about…
Anchor: My Favorite Happiness Tool
There’s one more app you should download, too, if you have an iPhone: Anchor.
Anchor, as I’ve mentioned in some earlier posts, is an audio, social media app and community. I’ve never been in a more positive space than the Anchor community. Never. It is simply amazing. Trolls are all but non-existent. Instead, you get a group of complete, at first, strangers, who are creative, supportive, and caring. I’ve experienced nothing like it in all my years on the internet, let alone, on my phone.
And one of the key topics on Anchor, is Gratitude. This week, in fact, the Anchor-team of developers, along with a friend of mine, Chris Palmore, have been promoting gratitude as the main theme, following an event last weekend, called Gratitude New York, that Chris has been championing on his website, Gratitude Space. It was this push that inspired me to write this short blog article.
And we’re done! Bet you never thought Steve Bivans could get to the fuckin’ point that quick?
So, do you actually want to be happier? If you don’t, that’s okay; go curl up in the corner and have yourself a self-indulgent cry. But if you do want to find happiness, download the Happier App, and Anchor, RIGHT NOW!
Then make sure to find me on both, and follow me. I will follow you back. Let me know you read this article, so I will make sure to do that.
SEE YOU THERE!