Book Review: Broadcasting Happiness
What positive psychology can do for you in your everyday life
August 11, 2015 at 11:58 am
Raise your hand if you’ve complained on Facebook. Or if you’ve walked into work with a terrible attitude. Or if you’ve focused on all the things that bother you about your partner. I’m willing to bet everyone has their hand raised.
I’ve been guilty of this; we all have. But it wasn’t until I read Michelle Gielan’s Broadcasting Happiness that I recognized the constant negativity that invaded every aspect of my life, from home to work to social media, and its strong effect on my mood. It all boils down to positive psychology and the profound impact it has on everyone in their everyday life.
Gielan was a news reporter for CBS when she realized that she no longer wanted to perpetuate the negativity focused on by the news. She left the business, got her degree in positive psychology, and founded GoodThink, a consulting firm dedicated to creating positivity in the work force. With Broadcasting Happiness, Gielan culminates all she’s learned about positive psychology and helps her readers change their everyday lives.
Broadcasting Happiness sets out to give the reader tools that will change the amount of positivity in every aspect of their lives. From delivering bad news at work to dealing with people you don’t like to creating a stronger relationship with your partner, Broadcasting Happiness and the power of positive psychology can change everything around you. But you have to take the first step by becoming a happiness broadcaster. I consider this the strongest aspect of the book: that it can be applied to every area of your life.
Another attractive aspect of Broadcasting Happiness is that making these personal changes isn’t hard. You don’t have to purchase expensive retreats or subscribe to any annoying newsletters. It’s a mental change that starts with you and expands outward towards your external environment. I can say with confidence, and with experience, that once you introduce these ideas to your life, you will see a change. People are more at ease around you, and your happiness is contagious. I experience a lot less negativity in my life which brings my stress levels down and makes me more productive at work and at home. Gielan argues that by setting yourself up with a positive attitude before taking on any challenge, you’re giving your brain an advantage. “When our brains are focused on the positive, we get the ‘happiness advantage’ — our brains move into the high performance zone.”
Recently, positive psychology reached me at the time when I had the most need for it. On July 26th, I had to put my dog, Zoey, to sleep. She had advanced cancer with no viable treatment options. It was a shock to my system, as she had been a constant in my life for the past 6 years. That evening, I broke the news on Facebook to all my friends. I very carefully concentrated on the good things about Zoey instead of my pain. It was difficult for me in the beginning. But that changed with the incredible outpouring of support from my friends, both those who knew Zoey and those who did not. Through all of the overwhelming sympathy my friends showed me, the best and most helpful support came from the people who took the time to send me old pictures of Zoey, shared funny memories, or told me how much she meant to them. Focusing on my wonderful memories of Zoey rather than pitying myself for my loss has helped me tremendously. Whenever I miss her, I can go back to Facebook and see all the positivity that my loved ones sent my way and I feel better.
Broadcasting Happiness is a wonderful book. Because of her background in journalism, Gielan knows how to make her subject matter compelling but not difficult. A lot of her messages resonated with me and inspired me to take action. I’ve already notices a positive change in my life after implementing Gielan’s strategies, and I know you will too.