~ Voltaire—writer, historian and philosopher
Do you know about TED? No, not the foul-mouthed teddy bear with the former Marky Mark as his sidekick! TED is a nonprofit organization hosting conferences dedicated to Technology, Entertainment and Design. Its tagline is “Ideas worth spreading.” Can’t make it to a conference? Not a problem! Just log onto www.ted.com to view any of the more than 2,100 video presentations from past conferences.
And that is what I recently did.
Looking through the category “most popular talks of all time,” I found a presentation by Shawn Achor, psychologist, CEO of Good Think, Inc. and author of two books on happiness. The title of the presentation is “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘who wouldn’t want to know this?’ and so I watched the video presentation, which runs about 12 minutes, and has been viewed more than 12 million times since it was filmed in May 2011. (Click here to watch the video.)
The crux of Shawn’s message is that the traditional formula for finding happiness—if I work harder, I will be more successful, and if I’m more successful, I will be happier—is “scientifically backwards.” Why? Because with each success, our human tendency is to set a higher goal—“good” leads to a need for “better” and “better” leads to a need for “better yet.” This is often a never-ending cycle, so, as Shawn says, “… if happiness follows success, our brain never gets there.”
What Shawn recommends, instead, is that we raise our level of “positivity in the present,” which he refers to as the “happiness advantage.” If our brain (that is, our outlook) is positive, we will perform better because our intelligence, creativity, productivity, and energy levels will rise. And so by becoming positive in the present, we increase our chances of success.
So, Shawn Achor (and others, by the way) suggests that happiness is the road to success. Makes sense. Well, what about Voltaire, who observed that happiness is the road to good health?
I Googled “connecting happiness and health,” and as you might have guessed, there are literally millions of entries (8.8 million+) on this topic. I’d like to share a few with you:
- “Want to feel better and improve your health? Start by focusing on the things that bring you happiness. Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help make life longer and healthier. Lowering stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of heart problems.” (The Happiness-Health Connection, Harvard Health Publications, 2012)
- “Happy people recover more quickly from surgery, cope better with pain, have lower blood pressure, and have longer life expectancy than unhappy people. Studies also show that happy people may have stronger immune systems—they’re less likely to get colds and flu viruses. And when they do, their symptoms tend to be mild.” (Happiness and Your Health, ShareCare.com)
- “A review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found clear and compelling evidence that—all else being equal—happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.” (Happiness Improves Health and Lengthens Life, ScienceDaily.com, 2011)
Shawn Achor concluded his presentation by saying that small changes in our behavior ripple outward, and create lasting positive change, and with these positive changes, we will be happier and more successful. To this, I would add, “and healthier.”
All of this is embodied in Bio-Touch, that simple and unique technique that connects people to one another, lowers stress, and helps people feel cared for. After a session Bio-Touch recipients are breathing more deeply and their pain is reduced, which promotes their being happier and healthier. And this just happens to be our goal at Bio-Touch: to help everyone achieve their birthright—to be happier, healthier and loved!