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

Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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via Matt Radick / Flickr

Joe Biden reversed Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military earlier this year, allowing the entire LGBTQ community to serve for the first time.

Anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. military goes as far back as 1778 when Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin was convicted at court-martial on charges of sodomy and perjury. The military would go on to make sodomy a crime in 1920 and worthy of dishonorable discharge.

In 1949 the Department of Defense standardized its anti-LGBT regulations across the military, declaring: "Homosexual personnel, irrespective of sex, should not be permitted to serve in any branch of the Armed Forces in any capacity, and prompt separation of known homosexuals from the Armed Forces is mandatory."

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