The Happiness Connection  

Life is changing again

Just as we’re getting used to social distancing and living with a pandemic, life is getting ready to change again.

Schools will be back in session soon, and experts are advising us to shrink our bubbles as the weather changes and we’re forced to spend more time indoors.

With no school-aged children and an already smallish bubble, it looks like more of the same is in my future. My energy is slumping and I’m finding it more difficult to stay motivated.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this situation. Normally, I’d fall into my favourite way of adding some excitement to life. I’d fly or drive off to visit friends and family in England or the States.

Because I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, I had to find a new strategy.

Instead, I’ve turned to the self-determination theory, established by Richard Ryan and Edward Deci. It states that people are driven by three basic psychological needs:

  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness
  • Competence

In other words, people like you and me can increase our motivation through self-empowerment, personal growth, and social connection.

By upping any or all of these areas, you can improve your state of well-being and increase your zest for life.

Autonomy – choosing for yourself rather than being controlled by others.

When you find your circumstances changing without any input from you, it’s easy to feel that life is happening to you. When this happens, focus on the things you can control in your life and maybe add some new ones.

When I broke my ankle, I chose to honour the three speaking commitments I already had. I couldn’t prevent my ankle injury and surgery, but I could choose whether to let it stop me.

Take control of your fitness, find projects you want to complete in your house, or choose not to do anything that’s on your to-do list.

Empower yourself by taking charge of aspects of your life and giving them your attention.

Relatedness – feeling connected to others and the world around you.

Positive psychologists have been studying the relationship between social connection and happiness for decades. Studies show there is an overwhelming link between them.

Happy people have more connections and connecting with others makes you happier. Connection is about feeling you belong or have a bond with another person even if it’s short-lived.

I’ve connected with people I’ve met while travelling on the bus, train, or tube. When the journey is over, I may never see them again, but the time we spent together linked us and left me feeling good.

Competence – being good at what you do. This comes from personal or professional growth.

Humans are designed to be continuous learners. It makes us feel good. Sadly, not everyone takes advantage of this fact.

You don’t have to take courses or gain certifications. Acquiring knowledge through books, taking up a new hobby, or stepping out of your comfort zone are all good ways of increasing competence.

Listening to podcasts or online summits is another great way to foster personal growth.

I was asked to speak at the Awakening Joy Summit that will be aired online from Sept. 19-30. Twenty-five experts are sharing how to master the art of joyful living.

If this is something you might be interested in, you can sign up for a free ticket. The intention is to give back by helping people add more happiness into their lives.

This is a triple whammy. You can find ways to boost your happiness, improve your level of motivation, and receive a lot of free resources from the speakers, all at the same time.

I’m giving away my book To Know You is to Love You: a guide for self-love. The only way to get a copy is to join the summit.

The conversation about motivation is also applicable to anyone who has school-aged children. Use the self-determination theory to help your students as they transition back to school.

Help them foster growth, connection, and empowerment.

Try to focus more on what they’re learning rather than the grades they’re achieving. Learning and grades are not always as closely linked as you might think.

If they feel isolated, build connection into other areas of their lives. Share the fact that it’s more about the quality than the quantity of friends you have.

Make sure your children have some level of autonomy. This may start with what they wear, or what they take in their lunch bag. As they mature, increase what they get to choose and have responsibility for.

It can be hard to relinquish control when you want to keep your children safe and you believe you are older and wiser, but it’s important for everyone to have control over some areas of their lives.

If you feel a need to increase your motivation, create a strategy to increase empowerment, social connection, and personal growth.

I’m going to spend some time today making an action plan. If you want to increase your zest for life, I suggest you do the same.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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