The Blog of Jake Kelfer
I’ve always been a happy person… for the most part.
But it wasn’t until the last quarter of 2018 when I started to take happiness really seriously. My good friend and fellow motivational speaker, Kyle Willkom, suggested I take a look at a guy named Shawn Achor.
Shawn Achor is an expert on positive psychology and after spending hours of time with him (yes, we became best friends through YouTube videos 🙂), I decided to try out a few of his techniques. I wanted to take his findings and figure out how I could apply them to my life on a daily basis.
Through his research, Shawn says there are 5 things we can do each day to live a happier life.
How do we do each one? Does everyone have to do the same amount? What is enough? Do we all get the same impact from each one?
I’ve spent a heavy majority of 2019 studying happiness taking courses and learning what it really means to be happier and throughout this year, I’ve experimented how these 5 things have made me happier.
Every morning as part of my morning routine I write out 3 things that I am grateful for. Sometimes it’s about my family. Sometimes, it’s about me. Sometimes, it’s for clean, drinking water or even the Taco Bell I had the night before.
Another way I practice gratitude is by taking a gratitude walk. I’ll walk around, preferably outside, and just think about everything I am grateful for, everything that I have, and the moment that I’m living.
Something that I recently heard from a colleague to practice gratitude was to send gratitude letters. It's a simple way of showing someone you care and it makes you feel great.
To wrap up gratitude, I’ve become very intentional with thinking about my blessings throughout every day. The more I become grateful for each moment, the happier I am in the situation. I recommend the same for everyone as it helps you stay committed and focused on the moment. Be intentional with your gratitude practice.
This has also become part of my morning routine. For me, I write about one positive experience that happened within the last 24 hours. The purpose of this is to prime my mind with positive thoughts and experiences so that it begins to search for more experiences like the one I wrote about and to see experiences as positives.
Maybe for you, journaling is about writing one page per day or expressing your emotions. The big thing here is to have your brain be on the lookout for positive experiences so you can replicate the emotions and thoughts.
I try to do physical exercise at least 3 times a week, preferably an activity that gets my shirt so sweaty that I need to change before getting back in the car. I love playing basketball so if that’s an option, I’m there. If you are ever in LA and want to play pickup, let me know.
On days that I don’t play ball or do something focusing on cardio, I make sure to stretch. As one of the least flexible people I know, I focus on a variety of stretches to improve my flexibility. During this time I also focus on core work and do a series of planks.
This is an interesting one. Some people hear the word meditation and are turned off. Other people hear the word meditation and want to do it just to be part of the popular trend of meditating for the sake of saying you meditate.
The key thing here for me is to focus on myself and my thoughts. It’s to clear my mind and get focused for the day to come.
The first thing I do before my feet touch the ground after waking up is to meditate for 3 minutes. Then throughout the day, I make sure to take a few deep breaths focusing on controlling my breathing.
I also try to meditate throughout the day if I am having a tough day or just need to recenter myself.
5. Random Acts of Kindness
I am currently taking a course offered by Yale called The Science of Well-Being and in it, the professor talks about random acts of kindness. She gives an example of a study that states people who do random acts of kindness throughout the day tend to be happier on average than those who don’t.
For me, I have a few ways I try to emulate this even if I’m at my desk for most of the day. I focus on doing what I call One Text. One Appreciation. which is where I go through my contacts and find someone to text/call and let them know I appreciate them and that I’m thinking of them.
Other times, I make sure that I give honest, sincere compliments. I always try to find a way to increase my social connection, add value, and share positivity with others.
There are so many ways to do random acts of kindness, but the key is that you do them. Give it a shot and see not only how it makes others feel, but how it makes you feel.
Happiness is something that I’ve become extremely passionate about and I’ve noticed incredible changes within my well being, even in the last 6 months.
Elevate in Action:
I am a motivational speaker on a mission to inspire people to achieve their own definition of success and reach the highest level of personal success and happiness.