A Simple Recipe For How To Be Happier

Food bloggers and cookbook authors have the best jobs.

They prep and pair seasonal and fresh ingredients, choosing each with judgment and intention.

Alone, a single ingredient might smell and taste amazing. Yet combined ingredients create a lovely and memorable taste experience.

With fresh produce and summer recipes on my mind, I decided to share a timeless recipe that anyone can cook up.

It’s not a dinner recipe.

It’s not a dessert recipe.

It’s a recipe for happiness.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Success

Shawn Achor is the author of Before Happiness. He is an expert on the connection between happiness and success with a mission to bring more positivity into the world (Watch his TED talk):

“We’re finding that it's not necessarily reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single business outcome at the same time.” –Shawn Achor

His happiness recipe is refreshing, simple and delicious. It comes together with just five ingredients. When combined, the outcome is “Lasting positive change.”

The Happiness Recipe

Gather and blend the following ingredients every day for 21 days. Mix the after-effects in a large, open vessel, such as your heart. Feel happier. Share generously.

1.     Three Gratitudes. I grew up with a mom who made us send thank you cards after Christmas and birthdays and guess what? I’m grateful to her for instilling that habit. Today, I love to send thank you notes because it feels so great. How about you? Try to focus your attention from what you don't have to feeling grateful for all that you have. Then, something powerful happens. Gratitude feels like a beautiful, resonant note. Say thank you three times purposely and thoughtfully and pause to soak in the positive vibe.

Feeling #gratitude is like a beautiful resonant note. (click to tweet)

Ideas to get started: Order some beautiful, handmade thank you cards and keep them handy. Send to anyone who’s made a positive difference in your life. Thank your kids’ teachers, bus drivers and coaches. Thank your spouse for emptying the garbage. Download the Gratitude App and capture thoughts, quotes and inspiring pictures.

2.     Meditation. Everyone’s talking about it and here's why: It’s proven to reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase awareness. As a single ingredient, it boosts happiness all by itself. If you have five minutes to spare, then you have time to meditate. Don’t worry; there’s no way to “fail” at meditating.

#Meditation is the new black. (click to tweet)

Ideas to get started: Download a free guided meditation app on your smartphone. I use this one everyday. One of the best outcomes of meditating is developing an ability to focus, which can be elusive in our hyper-connected world. With guided meditation, you can’t uphold the excuse “I don’t know how” because the app leads you through a session. 

3.     Exercise. In my mind, this is the holy grail of how to feel good. And feeling good in my body makes me happy. Did you know that as a general guideline you can reap the benefits of exercise if you exercise moderately for just 30 minutes a day? You already know you should be doing it, right? There’s no doubt about it, when you move your body, you move your mind—to a better place.

Exercise is the holy grail for how to be #happier. (click to tweet)

Ideas to get started: Decide to “just do it.” A few minutes a day of walking will improve your mood. If you have a scheduled phone call, place it from your cell and go for a walk. Do a walking meeting. Take the stairs, not the elevator.

4.     Journaling. Journaling can be simple and easy (read how to keep a one sentence journal). Improved communications and ignited creativity are just a few benefits of journaling cited in this HuffPost article. You don’t have to go for a Pulitzer; simply capturing a stream of consciousness is enough—no punctuation necessary.

Journaling just one sentence a day will make you #happier. (click to tweet)

Ideas to get started: Buy a beautiful notebook (I’m loving these journals). Join 750Words.com and capture thoughts on a computer. Don’t have a lot of time? Simply write one sentence a day. Learn more about why writing one sentence daily leads to greater happiness here.

5.     Random Acts of Kindness. Of all of the ingredients, this one might be the most challenging mainly because the reward is in the action not in an expectation of something in return. Here’s an example of what I did this morning: I… {drum roll} …turned on my husband’s coffee maker for him! It was super random and Mr. Northey was pleasantly surprised (given my usual grumpy morning demeanor). Here’s the trick: the easier you make it, the likelier you will be to do it.

Your random act of #kindness makes the world #happier. (click to tweet

Ideas to get started: Make an anonymous donation. Bake cookies for the delivery guy/gal. Send an encouraging email. Give someone a compliment. Smile at a stranger. Let the car merge in front of you.

If done 21 days in a row, your brain will be rewired. You will also enjoy superior productivity, be more resilient and feel less burned out.

Action for you: Write these five ingredients down on paper and post where you’ll see it every day. Or, set a reminder on your phone or computer. Do for 21 consecutive days. See what happens.  Take notice of your ‘before’ and ‘after.’ Send me an email and report back. I would love to share the conversation and my experience because today (June 11), I’m at day two and can’t wait to see where I end up.

 “Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed.” -Shawn Achor

Comments, tips or know of another ingredient? Fill us in. Thanks!

(This post may contain some affiliate links. All links point to things I've tried and adore. I simply want to share them with YOU.)

Banner photo by Lukas Budimaier