Happiness Is A Choice
May 19, 2015
by Dan Solin
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We recently relocated to Jersey City, New Jersey., so my wife, a portrait artist, could continue her studies at the Florence Academy of Art’s newly opened campus.
I have the luxury of working from home. I try to run every morning around 8 a.m., on the boardwalk adjacent to the Hudson River. This route allows me to take in the New York City skyline, which makes my exercise regimen much more pleasant.
Over the years, Jersey City has become a major financial center. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers “reverse commute” every morning. As they disembark from their ferries and trains, dressed impeccably in attire favored by investment bankers, I run past them in my gym clothes.
Here’s what strikes me: As a group, they seem unhappy and stressed. A small minority puff away on cigarettes. A significant number are conspicuously overweight and appear unhealthy. Most frenetically text and check e-mails while rushing to their offices.
These are highly intelligent people with good paying jobs. Why are they acting in a way that is so obviously not in their best interest?
I notice similarities in my work with advisors. As a group, we aren’t happier than the population in general. The focus of my workshops and coaching sessions, however, is to help advisors convert more prospects into clients. And increasing AUM is a worthy goal. But does anyone aspire to be an unhappy advisor with a lot of assets to manage?
Happiness is within your grasp
A recent article in Time magazine set forth “seven easy happiness boosters” based on research from Harvard University. These tips were taken from a book authored by happiness guru Shawn Achor, entitled The Happiness Advantage. I will summarize it below.
I have written previously about the undeniable benefits of meditation. Meditation is the only subject I have researched where I could find no evidence of adverse effects.
If you have not begun the practice of meditation, this study in a peer-reviewed journal might motivate you.
Researchers found that after a relatively short period of meditation training (11 hours), participants experienced positive changes in their brains. These changes improved the ability of study participants to regulate their thoughts and emotions, which made them happier.
If you are unhappy (and even if you aren’t), you should seriously consider meditation.
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