Sunday, 26 July 2015

Day 78

I caught up on some business work for the last couple of days. I am also in the middle of reading a pile of business books that I have been promising myself to read for the last year or so.

In particular, I have just finished "The Happiness Advantage" By Shawn Achor.

Shawn presents his research and conclusions that happiness actually fuels success and great performance at work, business and life, not the other way around..for example, if you have ever thought ....

"If only I had that great job, I would be happy" or even
"If only I could lose 20 pounds I would be happy"

Then according to Shawn you would be more likely to get that great job or lose the weight if you start off being happy....

So, regardless of the science (the dry bit of the book), the conundrum is "how do I get happy?"

Well, we have one answer don't we?

Put down the wine bottle.

Having such an absence of happiness (well, almost any emotion) on a constant basis for the last years - don't get me wrong, there have been moments of great happiness, but on average, there has been an absence of joy - I can testify to the great improvements in my work performance (and life performance) when I finally feel happiness, hope, curiosity, enthusiasm, contentment and love (both for others and myself)

If I were to do a short scientific study, my research would show the correlation between work improvements and my feelings of well being.

How do you continue to improve ?

Shawn has some suggestions :

1. A Gratitude Journal - this really does work, especially once you have gone through all the major things - your family, health, etc...and focus on the smaller, daily occurrences " I'm grateful for the man at the coffee shop letting me go first, because I was in a hurry"

It trains you to scour your day for the positive stuff, which in turn puts you in a positive frame of mind

2.Focus on the manageable goals, rather than the Big Picture (and you'll get there much quicker).

Again, we do this every day. I commit to not drinking today, and before I know it, I have 78 non drinking days under my belt, I feel a sense of pride and achievement. Happiness. If I fretted from Day 1 about the rest of my life not drinking, it's possible I would feel a nervous wreck = Unhappiness.

3. The Path of Least Resistance.
 It's easy to follow the same old path, and continue the old habits ....unless you make it difficult for yourself to continue the old habit...and easy to start the new one.

For us - throw out all the alcohol, and replace it with orange juice, or AF Beer
Throw out the junk food - fill your fridge with salad

Finally, Shawn says, we habitually will avoid alcohol and junk food - our new regime is our new normal....

4. Lastly, Social Investment .........building our support networks.

When we are feeling low, and helpless - we often retreat into ourselves. Over the last weeks, I've started reading blogs, and then suddenly they have been removed. Hopefully because people don't need them any more! Or, maybe, just maybe, they had a bad day, and ended up succumbing to the Wine Witch....

This is time when we need each other most.

It's easy to write an upbeat blog, and talk about all the advantages of being sober - our great new figure, happier lives, better skin......but what if we fall?

That's when we need to blog. To ask for help and support.

I am extremely grateful for the support I get from all of you. I am grateful that I have reached Day 78. And I am grateful (and happy), that if I should stumble, I would be able to reach out, and get virtual encouragement from all of you.

 And I will be right here, if you need the same.

Happy Sunday.

 P.s.  This is the link to Shawn Achor's Ted Talk


  1. Love this, WB - it all makes loads of sense! It fits with the 'attraction principle' i.e. happiness attracts happiness, and vice versa. Big hugs and huge congrats to you, SM x p.s. I assume that people who take down the blogs have fallen off the wagon. Otherwise they keep them up and just post more and more infrequently. I hate the fact that bloggers and readers disappear. I wish I knew how they were....

    1. Yes, me too. None of us is infallible. There's no shame in falling. Congrats to you too SM, hope you are enjoying Scotland.xx

    2. Me too. I find it sad when that happens. But I have learned to say a prayer for them and let it go. I wish there was some way to help everyone.

  2. Great post WB.I tend to fall into that trap. If only I could lose 10kgs I'd be happy. If I had this or that I would be happy. If only.... So I am always waiting and nothing ever happens. I'm learning that I have to be responsible for my own happiness. I like the idea of gratitude lists. A x

  3. I watched Shawn on Oprah and I really liked him. I completely agree that starting the day thankful and positive sets me off on the right foot.
    I truly agree. Most of how I feel is up to me. Being satisfied and accepting of what is. Santosha.

    I also liked that he agreed that depression is something g different and cannot be attitude or positive thinking away. Sometimes we need serious help.

    You are doing great., isn't life amazing?

    1. Absolutely agree. Depression is certainly very different and far more serious than "lack of happiness". It's interesting to me that alcoholism, or alcohol addiction, (or any addiction) and mental health issues such as depression are so misrepresented and misunderstood. And we see the shame and stigma even in safe communities such as this one - our missing bloggers who don't feel they can participate once they have slipped, and our own struggles with friends and family who just don't get it.
      However, we can celebrate each other, and I agree, life is truly amazing. Have a wonderful week xx