I recently saw a TED Talk on happiness that was very powerful and life changing. My name’s John Bielinski from CME4Life, and our whole goal is to help you maximize your mind. Welcome to this month’s Q-Wave.
Now, I want to ask you about happiness within your life. On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy are you, like where do you live? On a scale from 1 to 10, are you a 10, kind of elated all the time? Are you a 1? Where do you oscillate? Where do you stay? And clearly, this changes with different phases of our lives, but I got to thinking, where does happiness come from? Meaning, is happiness an external trigger, or is it an internal trigger? Like, am I happy if it’s sunny outside? Am I happy if my boss gives me a raise? Am I happy if my significant other is treating me in a way that I want to be treated? Is that where I get happiness? And partially, external life does affect my happiness, but studies show it’s only about 10 to 20%.
What really encourages and fuels my own happiness is what’s going on within me, what’s inside of you, how we look at the world, and how we prophylactic ourselves against the world. Literature has shown there are five triggers to increase happiness. And, if you’re reading this Q-Wave, and have followed any of my studies and teachings, you now clearly realize I’ve shifted a little bit from medicine to how to optimize your life. Maybe that’s just the phase of life that I’m currently in, with 23 years in the wonderful practice of medicine, and now I’m in a bit of a different realm. I love it, wouldn’t change it for the world. So I see things a little bit differently, and now I’m hoping to add value in a different way.
There are five triggers that the literature has shown to increase happiness, and I’m going to give you a 21-day challenge. I’d like to suggest looking at your degree of happiness now and then doing this 21-day challenge. Do it for 21-days, and then see how your baseline happiness is affected. For me, it’s been very effective. So, the pneumonic is germs, G-E-R-M-S, G-E-R-M-S. Not the greatest pneumonic during a pandemic, but that’s the best I can come up with, germs,
What does the G stand for?
G stands for gratitude. Gratitude. Here’s what you have to do. At the end of the day, you will put pen to paper on three things that you’re thankful for from that day. So, as you go through the day, you have to acknowledge, notice and pay attention to three things you’re going to put on that list. What happens, ladies and gentlemen, is you start doing that, your radar starts looking for things you appreciate. It could be the smile from a baby. It could be a ladybug. It could be the sunrise. It could be anything that you focus on. What is wrong in life is always available to you if you want to look for it, but so is what’s right. This will be an opportunity to spend 21 days to start training your brain, look at good things, and be optimistic. That’s the G.
The E is exercise.
Exercise. You have to work out. I have to work out if I want to be happy. If I want happiness to be a priority, and that is a high priority in my life, I have to exercise. I want to be a happy person, so I have to work out and, guys, whatever that means to you. That could mean a 10-minute walk, three times a week. Now, this is supposed to be done 21 days straight. So, your exercise could be two walks around your condo development. It could be going up and down the stairs at work once. Whatever you decide it is. So E is exercise.
R is an acronym that I came up with called raok.
Raok. R-A-O-K. That’s a random act of kindness. That means you want to do something nice for the world or someone else. For me, I often pick up garbage. But according to the studies, all you have to do is send a letter of appreciation to another person. That’s all you have to do, send a letter of appreciation. And let me give you a key about appreciation. Oftentimes, we tap people when we appreciate them. We tap them, T-A-P. We compliment them on a thing, we compliment them on their appearance, or compliment them on a personality trait. “Oh, I really like your hair. Oh, wow, you’re very nice.”
But what we really want to do is tape it to them. So sure, you want to talk about the thing, their appearance, or personality trait, but you want to give them…Experience. The E stands for giving them experience. Give them something that you saw in them that you could actually point to, to say, “Hey, this is why I’m saying this. This is why.” Like the gentleman today who bagged my groceries, he was so attentive to detail it was crazy. And I had to say to him, “I’m watching how you are bagging my groceries and the attention to detail of how well you’re double-bagging and where you’re finding space in my cart. You, sir, are a very, very detailed-oriented person. I really appreciate it.” So, you want to give what your experience is, the evidence for you giving that compliment, and that strengthens the feedback.
M is meditation.
Meditation. It means trying to still your brain, trying to quiet your brain. There are a bunch of apps out there, but what you want to do, and at least I do, is close my eyes and set my timer for five minutes. And there’s a couple of meditation timers that give you gongs. I try to either focus on a particular phrase, for example, I often use a biblical phrase, or just my breathing. And here’s the deal, guys, you cannot do meditation right, and you cannot do it wrong. You just have to do it. And if while you’re trying to meditate, your mind drifts off, go, “Oh, wow, my mind just drifted off,” and then watch it go by and come back to your study, the meditation. You almost want to sit there and look at your thoughts, kind of like a cat would look at a mouse hole for a mouse to pop out. You might even want to ask the question, “I wonder what the next thought is that’s going to pop in my head?” And then pay attention to it.
S is scribing.
Scribing is at the end of the day when you have picked the three things you are thankful for, we are going to ask you to relive one of those. We want you to actually write down one of those experiences in a little more detail, so you can try to relive it.
Colleagues, my experience is that happiness is a discipline.
It’s not something that just happens to me. I have to seek out happiness. Each morning I have to wake up and get myself into a state so I can really work to appreciate the world because I find that everything that I am striving for is to get me to a place of peace and happiness; peace with myself, peace with others, happiness within me when I’m by myself. So, this GERMS pneumonic has been very helpful, and I hope it will help you as well. And if you do the 21-day challenge, I want to hear from you. I want to know how it worked for you. So, if you do the 21-day challenge, reach out to me and let me know how things go.
Good luck and God bless.