Many experts have studied how happiness can be achieved, and many of them look at it from different perspectives. Let’s look at three different experts, all of whom studied changing ourselves in different ways in order to finally reach a state of self happiness and content.

1) Managing Stress

Stress is commonly affiliated with being bad for you and your body (and when you’re stressed, you’re not happy). Well, Kelly McGonigal thought so too. McGonigal, who is a Health Psychologist, has for 10 years been preaching how stress was bad. But she’s changed her mind. The current study on how stress affects the body – with the right mindset – can make you healthier. She says that when we believe that stress is bad for us, they lead to negative effects from stress, like heart attacks, hypertension and many others. McGonigal says “When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s responses to stress”. Therefore if we believe that stress is good for us, our bodies will use the stress effects as a mechanism to prepare us for the challenge.

2) Control your body

Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, believes happiness is attained in nonverbal expressions as it can help shape the best in us. She says that “Our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves” and believes that we should use it to change our lives in meaningful ways. This can be realised in making simple gestures or acts with our body that help our mind think that we’re in control. When we fake powerful acts, our mind perceives us to be powerful, and does the necessary hormonal change to place us in that situation, enabling us to handle such authority better.

For example, taking 2 minutes before an interview to power pose (superman or superwoman) in the bathroom can make your brain think you’re in a powerful situation. It makes you more confident and will lead to you performing better during the interview hence increasing your chances in getting that job you always wanted.

3) You can give yourself happiness

Shawn Achor, an Educator on Positive Psychology sees that we don’t need to be successful to be happy, but instead be happy to be successful, by making our brains work the opposite direction. He adds that 90 percent of your happiness comes from the way your brain processes the world by the typical way of chasing success in order to be happy. But what can work better for us is if our brain was already in a positive state to begin with.

Increasing the state of positivity of someone at present (just the way they are), creates an experience called a “Happiness Advantage” according to Achor and thus makes you perform better than usual. If we find a way to become positive in the present, our brains then work even more productively and successfully, indirectly making us happier.




Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.