What Makes Us Happy? At work, home or any time?


In fact what makes us feel anything. What creates our mood? Our state. How we are in any given moment.

Three things.

What? Just three things.

Yes. I believe so.

Three things that support how we feel in any given moment. First up


What we decide to pay attention to in any given moment. Let’s use an example to re-enforce this. What we pay attention to will determine and contribute to the mood that we’re in. Take me for example. I recently tore my meniscus in my left knee. I could pay attention to the fact that now I can’t go to yoga, or complete my certification process just yet. That I can’t drive or can’t move around town as quickly. Or…. I could pay attention to and focus on the fact that at least it’s not broken, or a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or that I can get around pretty quickly on crutches or that I can still use my right leg pretty well.

Paying attention to the first set of things will lead to one mood or state, and paying attention to the second set of things will lead to a different – more empowering – mood.

And next up we have


The meaning that you assign something affects how you feel- your mood. If the meaning I assign to my injury is that my body is weak, I’m not skilled enough, I’m always getting injured, life isn’t fair. How will I feel about that? Does that serve me at all?  Or… I might assign a different meaning. I might decide (and yes, it’s a decision) that is means that I need to slow down, or that I need to be more creative in how I now exercise, or that I should focus on building my upper body or working harder and not spending as much time exercising. Whatever really. But the meaning I assign it will be crucial to how I feel about the event.

Just like the meaning I assign, the words I assign also matter as if I say something like “I really buggered myself up and my stupid knee has given up on me!” Does that sound like something that’s going to make me feel good? Whereas, if I said “I’ve got a bit of a challenge that I’m working through with my fitness right now, but it’s improving all the time.”  Sure, it conveys a similar message. Things aren’t great, but the language I’ve assigned to describe it alters how I feel about the experience and the mood I’ll end up in.

Finally, we have


The kind of actions that you make. With your body, face, voice, movement and posture will affect your mood. If I decided to stay chair-bound and leg up on the couch with my head down and looking all depressed. I’ll probably get there. Whereas, if I stand (as best I can) upright, purposeful and in fact move my body as best I can – be that on crutches, or swimming or even bobbing up and down to some music – that’s going to put me in a much better mood. How you move your body and your posture literally affects your hormones. Good posture can reduce cortisol and increase testosterone[1]. You may already be familiar with a popular TED Talk by Amy Cuddy[2], a social psychologist from Harvard who speaks about how are mood, state moment to moment is governed by the physical actions our body is taking. Be that a power pose, arms up or shrinking away. It affects us.

So, if you want to feel happy and you’re not, think about what are you paying attention to right now (bills, screaming kids, miserable boss, missed promotion), what meaning are you assigning to it (broke, bad parent, not good enough, unfair laddering system) and how are you acting in your physical body? Are you slumped, looking down, sitting? Whatever you are doing, start doing something else.


The Three Things That Dictate Your Mood or State

The Three Things That Dictate Your Mood or State

A shift in any of the three areas of ATTENTION – ASSIGN – ACTION can result in a change of mood.

Notice what’s going on for you and you’ll also realise just how powerful this tool is for creating any mood you want.

What do you think? Does it make sense to you?

[1] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-you-can-become-more-p/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc

What do you think?