Practicing Your Way to Happy

Practice? You talkin’ bout practice? If a Philadelphia 76ers fan is reading this, they’re likely having flashbacks of Allen Iverson’s famous 2002 rant. For the rest of us, we are most likely thinking about the verb. Practice is defined as “the repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire proficiency in it”. Or as mom likes to say, “practice makes perfect.” But is it possible to actually practice your way to being happy? Current research says yes.

Did you know that you are actually totally in charge of at least 40% of your mood? How you feel right at this very moment is up to your own intentional activities. 50% of your mood, alas, is due to genetics or our DNA. In other words, it is how we are “hard wired.” The other 10% of your mood is due to the life circumstances you find yourself in. The exciting news is that current research shows, if we get really good at our intentions to be happy we can actually rewire our brain and learn how to be happier!

What does practicing your way to happy actually look like? Those intentional activities are where the secret lies, and they are totally up to you. An intentional activity can be a quiet walk, meditation, puzzles, exercise or whatever makes you smile. What’s important is to practice the effort to improve your mood.

Happiness is a skill set and you can acquire it through practice. It will help you survive the hard times and thrive during the good times. Oh, and for you 76er fans… it is ALL about practice!

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