Eloise Marie Valadez | July 29, 2013

Author and positive psychology expert Shawn Achor travels the world to spread his messages on achieving happiness.

Achor, cofounder of the Institute of Applied Positive Research and founder of Good Think Inc., was recently in Chicago to speak about his work on the link between happiness, success, and productivity.

He’s the author of “The Happiness Advantage,” and his latest book “Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change” is due out in September.

Achor, who taught a course in happiness at Harvard University, said his interest in research on the topics of positive psychology and happiness was sparked while he looked at the lives of the Harvard students.

“Their workloads and stress levels were very high and (their levels of) happiness plummeted,” he said. Achor added people’s low levels of happiness aren’t just about their environments or their genes but also about the activities they decide to do on a daily basis. It’s a choice as well.

Achieving happiness, he explained, should be a “priority.” It’s also a “mindset shift,” he said, adding that a person must make a conscious effort to cultivate happiness and “try to find it in the present.”

According to Achor, it doesn’t take that long to develop healthy or positive habits. Even small steps at a time will help.

“You can train the brain to be happier,” he said. Achor said taking a few minutes to try to find a few things you’re grateful for is often a good start to looking at the positives in your life and changing your outlook.. In his “Happiness Advantage,” Achor offers readers the challenge of doing a positive exercise for 21 days in the attempt to train the brain to be happier.

As a child, Achor said he was pretty positive and had positive parents.

While Achor’s talks, books, and thoughts on achieving happiness can apply to all aspects of one’s life, he’s also made it a priority to bring his message to the world of business and the workplace in an attempt to help people achieve success on the job.

His upcoming book “Before Happiness,” looks at what must be done before achieving a more joyful life.

“First you have to perceive a reality where you believe change is possible,” he said. One of the concepts in the new book, he said, involves what he calls “noise cancelling.”

“I can not work or be productive when I have a lot of negative noise or internal noise going on in my world,” he said. It gets in the way of creating success.

The positive researcher, who does about 110 talks a year, said he enjoys helping others. Through his work, he said, he’s not only attempting to spread happiness but “hope in the world.” {end}

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