I was recently invited to present at a breakfast meeting. My audience was a wonderful group of bright professionals, and our topic of discussion was “Positive Psychology–Positive Leadership.”

Leadership is not situated solely in the professional domain. We are all leaders, and therefore, we need to show up daily, as the best version of ourselves. How do we do this? Positive psychology, which is the science of optimal functioning and wellbeing can offer some answers.

In fact, did you know that you have a lot of influence on your happiness levels? Research indicates that 50% of the difference between your happiness levels can be explained genetically. A further 10% is linked to your individual circumstances. The remaining 40% is influenced by your intentional activities to increase your happiness level. This means that you can increase or decrease almost half of your happiness level, through your choices and attitude.

Intentional activities include.

  • Generating positive emotions, because, when you feel good, you are open to more opportunities and able to perform at your best. Positive emotions have far reaching mental, emotional and physical benefits.
  • Practice flexible and realistic optimism, when imagining your future.
  • Know your strengths, and find more opportunities to use them. When you use your strengths, you will feel happier, more confident, whilst also improving your resilience.
  • Practice self-compassion, be kind and show empathy to yourself, when you have missed the mark or you are suffering. This will help you break down any negative and harmful self-talk and generate wellbeing.
  • Smile! Smiling is a natural and instantaneous way to shift yourself into a positive mood. Take up a challenge, start the day on a positive note and smile consciously for 30 seconds upon waking. The muscles you use to smile let your brain know that you are happy. It’s contagious!
  • Gratitude is a quality of being thankful and a willingness to return kindness and be appreciative. Gratitude is linked to an improvement in mood, physical health and resilience. A gratitude journal teaches your brain to notice positive experiences. I invite you to start a journal today and increase your natural positivity, by noticing the abundance of daily gifts that life presents to you.

My challenge to you now, is to incorporate these simple activities into your day and become the best version of yourself, with the 40% influence you have on your happiness.