If you could identify 4 beliefs or values that would change your life for the better, would you try them? When I say ‘for the better’, I mean 4 keys to happiness that would lead you to your best life.
You may already be living these keys to happiness without be aware of it.
The secret is to become aware of how the keys show up. Then place them in a certain order to achieve success. This week I will help you to discover the keys, live “keys aware”, and how to order them to increase your happiness.
I came across an article this week published by researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health, and South Korea Chung-Ang University  about values and happiness. They note that values are your beliefs, principles and ideas that are important to you. The researchers discovered 4 categories of personal values that contribute to your wellbeing and happiness. Within these 4 are subdomains of values, but for clarity the main 4 are:
What the researchers found was, it’s the order of priority we give to these values that impacts on how we feel about life and whether we are happy and content. They found by focusing on spirituality and social connection with family and friends, we will be happier.
On the other hand, when we focus on external achievement such as status, money and recognition, we are less happy. If you’re like me, this seems intuitively correct, I mean who likes to be around a selfish person who only seeks their own needs? But it’s so easy to focus on outer success and reaching external goals, while taking for granted the people we love.
Every week on this site, I start with a topic word that relates to happiness. This week I want to ask you to reflect on your values and how they impact on your thoughts, emotions and actions at home and work, with the people you care about (and the ones you don’t). Your values are your base layer. They are the guide for all decisions you make, whether this is conscious or not.
I encourage you to become ‘keys aware’ as you go about your day and even your mundane tasks. What are you thinking about most? What do you do with your time?
I’ve fallen for the lie that material success and achievement will make me more happy. I’ve always been goal focused and pursued study and achievement at work. But I noticed recently I was making myself more busy. My mind was often on tasks and what to do next while I was with my kids relaxing at home. I’m still overcoming this.
A study I came across by researchers at the University of Nebraska, Omaha  looked at how certain values contribute to destructive leadership. They found that when leaders came across an ethical dilemma or decision to make, their values contributed to the decisions they made. Specifically, when a leader placed value on self-interest, they made more rash and destructive decisions. On the other hand, when the leader valued the interests of the group, they made more balanced and healthy decisions and were better liked by their colleagues.
This finding is in line with the first paper I mentioned where an emphasis on social connection and a collective outlook builds not only a happy life, but better work decisions.
So what’s the answer? do you have to get rid of any goals that serve your own success in order to be a giving, social and spiritual person? Not at all.
The trick is, not to eliminate your goals for external success , but change your emphasis.
This week we have looked at how your values in 4 key areas impact on your happiness. Prioritising goals of self-interest is great for outwards success and that’s not a wrong pursuit, but by placing personal success above spirituality and relationships we may miss out on the happiness we have access to. Today in your journal aim to write for no more than 5 minutes on the following;
 Lee, M.A, Kawachi, I (2019) The keys to happiness: Associations between personal values regarding core life domains and happiness in South Korea. PLoS ONE 14 (1): e0209821. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209821
 Illies, Jody J. and Reiter-Palmon, Roni, “Responding Destructively in Leadership Situations: The Role of Personal Values and Problem Construction” (2008). Psychology faculty Publications. 61. https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/psychfacpub/61
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I’m the creator of Minutes to Happy and your go-to counsellor and wellness coaching companion.
I’m here to guide you in becoming your bravest self (no matter what wellness worries and chronic health challenges are plonked in your path).