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The Happiness Track

How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success

By Emma Seppälä, PhD
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  • Contains 10 key ideas
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The Happiness Track by Emma Seppälä, PhD

The Happiness Track (2016) outlines the simple steps you can take to become happier and more successful. Referencing the latest scientific research, these blinks debunk common myths about how to be successful and set out a concrete plan for you to reduce stress in your life.

Key idea 1 of 10

We focus too much on the future, but we can train ourselves to remain in the present moment.

What were you thinking before you started reading these blinks? Perhaps you were mulling over plans for the upcoming weekend or worrying about a work deadline.

Spending time thinking about the future may make you feel as if you’re productive, but often the opposite is true.

Why? Focusing on the future reduces your attention in the present moment, making you more likely to miss significant things that are happening now. This lack of presence can cause problems with relationships at work and home. What’s more, constantly thinking about what’s to come can leave you less productive today and worse, emotionally drained.

Staying fully present in the moment will help you perform better at work and may even make your job more enjoyable. And forget about the belief that multitasking is efficient. It isn’t. In fact, performing multiple tasks makes you complete each task much less efficiently.

One study, for instance, monitored people having conversations while driving. Researchers found that activity in the section of the brain dedicated to driving was reduced by 37 percent while the driver was talking!

Other research shows that people feel much happier when they are 100-percent engaged in a task, even if the task is relatively boring.

So how can you stay present in every moment, whether minor or major? There’s no shortcut. Being present is a skill you need to practice.

The first step is to remove unnecessary distractions. Try decluttering your workspace; also, block access to websites you like to browse on your laptop and silence your mobile devices while you work.

The next step is to focus on tasks in small time increments. Setting a timer can be useful. When you carve out specific, limited amounts of time to complete tasks, you’ll find yourself enjoying each task more, and additionally, your sense of achievement will skyrocket.

Practicing meditation is another way to stay in the moment. By letting thoughts go, you’ll become calmer and more attentive to the world around you.

In addition to boosting productivity and happiness, meditation can have other surprising results. Some people who meditate say they experience a world that appears more vivid, with brighter colors and richer tastes!

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