Brilliant Harvard psychologist explains how to achieve happiness in this popular TED talk.

Anytime you look at the news, it's about death, destruction, abductions, natural disasters...

That kind of thing can mess us up. It makes the world look scarier than it is. It's like wearing [the opposite of rose-colored glasses].


Feel like you've fallen into the Matrix yet?


It's time to stop giving awfulness the power to bend our lens. Here's how.

Shawn Achor studied happiness at Harvard.

When he tells people this, they say: "Shawn, why do you waste your time studying happiness at Harvard? Seriously, what does a Harvard student possibly have to be unhappy about?"

But the crazy truth is, Harvard kids are as unhappy as anyone else. What's going on in your life — from health, to money, to relationships, to prestige — predicts only about 10% of your happiness.


So ... if I had a million dollars ... I wouldn't be any happier?

Shawn's work flips our understanding of happiness inside out.

You don't get happy by achieving success. You achieve success by getting happy.

Dopamine, which your brain makes when you're happy, has one important side effect: It makes you smarter. A positive brain is 31% more productive. It's better at sales, faster and more accurate at diagnosing problems.

So how can you up your dopamine?

Take two minutes every day and do one of these things:

  1. Write down three new things that you're grateful for.
  2. Journal about one positive experience you've had in the last 24 hours.
  3. Try meditation, to teach your brain to focus.
  4. Use the first email you write every day to praise or thank someone you know. Spread the happy.

And it wouldn't hurt to disrupt the endless barrage of bad news by sharing this with your friends, right? Everyone needs a little more happiness.

Remember...

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.