December is here, the last month of the year. December is a mixed month. We have Hanukkah – that’s over now. And we have Christmas – still to come. There’s the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. I’m always happy when the winter solstice arrives because each day after we get 3 more minutes of daylight. This makes me happy.
Happiness is a field of study which did not exist when I was in university. I just might have studied it because I find the subject fascinating. The best book I have read on the subject is Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar. I read it years ago. The book includes instructions and exercises to be happier. It’s not a read-through book; more of an instruction book with logical backup to support the activities.
Shawn Achor has also written about happiness. His book is The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life – well worth the read. If you prefer video over written material, TED.com has a Shawn Achor talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor It’s 12 minutes long and there is a gem near the end. One of his suggestions is a 21-day exercise which takes less than 5 minutes a day. I have done it a few times and have recommended it numerous times to friends, colleagues and family. I have asked my partners to do the exercise prior to our retreat in January. I recommend it to you.