Discovering Where Happiness Comes From with Michelle Gielan
Our guest Michelle Gielan is a former national news anchor at CBS. After getting tired of telling negative news stories, she began studying how to deliver negative news in a way that empowers people and helps them see a path forward. What she discovered is that the messages we choose to talk about can transform how people view their world.
Dealing with Negative News
Maintaining a positive and optimistic mindset in the face of negative news or people is important. If someone is being negative around you, engage in a strategic retreat.
For example, if you are in an office environment and the person sitting next to you is engaging in a negative phone conversation, you could put on noise canceling headphones or reorient your desk. Small changes like these can really transform your day at the office.
The less negative and useless information you’re exposed to, the less you’re going to retransmit negativity to other people.
Transforming Negative Interactions with Other People
While as a society we tend to believe that we can’t change people, this isn’t quite true. You can transform your interactions with negative people by creating a string of positive experiences with them. As a result, you are effectively rewriting the narrative between yourself and them.
For example, if someone is constantly complaining about the boss, you are blessing the situation by engaging with them. If you steer them in the positive direction instead, this will foster less negative water cooler talk and more solutions-focused discussions.
Changing Your Mindset with Positive Habits
When we engage in positive habits, we can change our levels of happiness, optimism, and wellbeing. Simple gratitude exercises can change how you view the world. The key is to establish these habits and maintain them in the long term. To do this, keep exercises new and different to help establish a routine. Eventually these positive habits will transform your mindset and help you build new neural pathways.
Where our Happiness Comes From
- 10% of our long term happiness come from our external circumstances
- 40%-50% comes from our baseline level of happiness
- 40%-50% comes from how we process the world
More and more, studies are showing that how you think can influence how you experience the world.
Influencing Your Environment
People often wonder whether a negative or positive person has more influence in an environment. Studies show that it is neither – the most expressive person is the one who wins the battle for culture.
In a business environment, you can increase your chances of success by encouraging expressions of positivity in the office or in meetings. The key is to maintain a healthy ratio between positivity and negativity.
Start Your Day on a Positive Note
A recent study showed that watching just 3 minutes of negative news each day increases the likelihood of a person reporting their day as “bad” 6 to 8 hours later by 27%.
Don’t start your day with negative news
Instead, seek out for transformative news stories. These are solutions-focused stories that will help you start your day off on a positive note.
If you have a commute, craft this time into something that is fueling – listen to podcasts or audiobooks that help your brain get in the right state of mind for the day.
Michelle has a technique called Fact Checking that she uses to deal with stressful situations.
- Write the stress down
- Write down the reasons why you feel this way
- Write down some positive aspects of the situation
This short process calms the brain down and helps it transition from a default of stress to a default of thriving.
Top Lifestyle Tips to Create More Positivity
- Power Lead: Start conversations, emails, phone calls, and meetings with something positive and meaningful to set a positive tone.
- E-mailing Positivity: Before you look at your inbox, open up a new message and write a 2-minute email from your social support network and tell them why they’re meaningful to you.