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The Pursuit of Happiness

Whether your dreams are about professional success, deeper connection, purpose in life or spiritual fulfillment, its likely you desire them because you believe they will ultimately increase your happiness. But scientists are discovering the pathway to positivity takes a different route. One that is less dependent on reaching our life goals, and instead focuses more on the journey we take getting there.

Dee Eastman, Founding Director of The Daniel Plan, was selected to be an expert contributor to WELCOA’s employee facing Life On the Move portal for the month of September. Along with providing many other secrets to happiness, Dee has shared her three steps to a well-lived life drawn from the field of Positive Psychology.  Check them out to see if you’re on the right path to happiness.

“There is an unlimited reservoir of happiness right at our fingertips and all we need to do to tap into it is to cultivate daily habits that add replenishment to our life and expand our joy.” -Dee Eastman

Celebrate the small wins

It can be transformative to take notice and to celebrate our small wins along the way as where we put our attention determines how we feel. Acknowledging successes sparks the reward circuitry of our brains. When feel-good chemicals are released we get the feeling of pride, creating the happiness factor that makes us want to go further towards our next achievement.

Take Thomas Edison, the American businessman who invented the lightbulb. It took Edison, almost 10,000 attempts to create a lightbulb – and his response to his repeated attempts he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In other words, he was able to find success because his perspective was focused on what went right. It’s quite clear he had a mindset and positive perspective that allowed him to celebrate those small steps and see them as achievements.

Can you see what you’ve accomplished that brought you closer to achieving your dreams? No win is too small to acknowledge and while you may only see the tasks ahead of you, you’ll be happier when you applaud all you’ve achieved up to this point.

Develop a learner’s mindset

Every day we either win or we learn. As we’ve noted above, an experimenter doesn’t get upset when things don’t work right the first time because they know it’s all part of the process.  There is no shame involved. Failing needs to be redefined as an important part of learning a new way of life. Mistakes are simply learning experiences, they provide vital information we use to grow.

The key is to simply turn bad days into good data. Instead of being the victim of your life, be the scientist of your life and study it. Be inquisitive of what went wrong and determine the best supports and strategies to move forward.

Transform negative self-talk

Our uninvestigated thoughts can steal our happiness and derail our joy. Learning to question our thoughts and not to believe every negative thing we think has been shown to be as effective as taking an antidepressant medication.

Dr. Daniel Amen, one of the world’s leading psychiatrists has a simple exercise for challenging negative thoughts. “Whenever you feel sad, mad, nervous or out of control, write down what you’re thinking. Then question your thoughts. Is it true? Just those three words can cause a revolution in your life.”

Getting our thoughts right and short circuiting a negative spiral by questioning our thoughts can have a transformative effect on our outlook, our work performance, our relationships and our overall health.

No matter what you desire in your life, taking the journey with a positive outlook will bring you joy and fulfillment that you may have missed out on otherwise. Integrating these three mindset shifts promise to provide a great starting place to infuse optimism into your life, and the lives of those around you.”

Want to bring this article and more like it to your employees while encouraging them to move more, support their coworkers, set goals and engage in some friendly competition? Consider enrolling your organization in WELCOA’s employee facing Life On the Move program today. Each month in the program features a new health topic and weekly articles written by experts in the field.

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About Dee Eastman

Dee Eastman is the Founding Director of The Daniel Plan created at Saddleback Church by Pastor Rick Warren and three world renowned doctors: Mehmet Oz, Mark Hyman and Daniel Amen. In the first year alone, The Daniel Plan reached over 15,000 people who collectively lost 260,000 pounds, while experiencing numerous additional health benefits.  The plan has grown to reach millions of people, spanning 190 countries.

Dee completed her education in Health Science with an emphasis on long-term lifestyle change and prevention. Her experience in corporate wellness and Christian ministry has fueled her passion to help people transform their health while inspiring their faith.

She has co-authored and produced the “Doing Life Together” DVD-based Bible Study series, which sold over 3 million copies. She was a contributing author to the #1 New York Times Best Seller, “The Daniel Plan – 40 Days to a Healthier Life”, as well as “The Daniel Plan 365 Day Devotional” and “The Essentials Curriculum Series”.  Her and her husband Brett have been married 34 years and have five grown children. For more information about Dee and or The Daniel Plan go to