Yes, I'm the same Michael Mantell who promotes “the link is what you think” and who believes, OK, thinks, that every emotion we ever have, ever, is first conceived and then anchored in the way we think. It's ALL in your head. Simply put, you not only won’t - but actually can’t- ever have an emotion unless you first think about an event, person, place or situation in a way that creates that emotion. Think otherwise? Try it. See? The link IS what you think!

Happiness is important enough that the General Assembly of the United Nations declared March 20th as “International Day of Happiness.” This day is designed to promote healthy relations worldwide. But happiness increases positive emotions within each individual first. It decreases depression, anger, anxiety, stress, heightens well-being and promotes, positive moods, improves physical health – not bad for smiling more, huh?

Research suggests that happiness is possible through mindful, purposeful positive habits. Data informs us that 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances and 90% is based on our inner lives, with 50% of our happiness level coming from our genes and about 40% being accounted for by our intentional daily activities and the intentional thoughtfully guided choices we make.

So you want to be happy? It’s the highest form of health we know. We’ve long known that creating a good feeling inside of yourself with pleasurable physiological and psychological sensations, being fully immersed in and flowing with an activity you enjoy, and doing good for others are three wonderful pathways to contribute to your happiness.

We also have long known that buying lots of things, being young and physically attractive and even having children – though a definite source of fulfillment and enjoyment -- things many think bring about happiness, don’t, according to science.

How do you know if you are really happy? You exercise including time outside, you get enough sleep, you enjoy spending time with your family and friends and voluntarily help others (science tells us that the ideal amount of time is 100 hours a year helping others), and you even meditate and mindfully maintain a sense of gratitude. Sounds like you are doing it perfectly!

So we add mindfulness, focus and a positive mindset to gratitude and expressed appreciation for others, along with physical activity and other forms of self-care, a heavy dose of self and other compassion and altruism, authenticity and forgiveness, social connections and vulnerability from strength, and faith and we have the perfect formula for happiness.

I want you to create a 30 second “elevator speech” all about you. If you only had 30 seconds to tell someone about you, what do you say? What’s your credo, the essential set of guiding principles by which you live your life? If your credo includes not sweating the small stuff, looking forward with positive anticipation, celebrating the success of others, taking care of mind-body-spirit, dedicating yourself to continuous learning and being filled with gratitude, then undoubtedly you are on life’s happiness track.

When you genuinely understand that happiness is an “inside job,” that you are the only person who can “make” you happy, the choice for you to make is clear, isn’t it?. It’s time to stop blaming our feelings of unhappiness on external things and take responsibility for them ourselves.

Acknowledge the good in your life every day. Imagine not having some of the wonderful things and people in your life – that turbocharge your gratitude and love for them? This will help you connect with others in a positive, altruistic and compassionate way.

Someone treating you poorly? When you come from happiness, you are able to walk away, smile and continue being you.
Someone not acknowledging your talent or contribution on a project? When you come from happiness, you understand that your value is not based on their evaluation, but rather yours.
Someone telling you that you are living life incorrectly? When you come from happiness, you understand that it’s all about spending the time you have on earth the way you want.
Someone not living up to your expectations? When you come from happiness, you understand the less you expect the better life is.
So if it’s longevity you are after, know that positive emotion is highly correlated with longevity. If it’s marital fulfillment you are seeking, happiness is linked to that as well. In fact, the science is clear and compelling: all things being equal, happy people live longer and experience better health than unhappy folks do. As has been observed, there is no true health without happiness.

Take the United Nation’s pledge: “I will try to create more happiness in the world around me.” See? It’s already working. Let’s create a happier world together!

Author's Bio: 

Michael R. Mantell earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. at Hahnemann Medical College, where he wrote his thesis on the psychological aspects of obesity. His career includes serving as the Chief Psychologist for Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and as the founding Chief Psychologist for the San Diego Police Department. He also served on the faculty of UCSD’s School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry.

After retiring from practicing clinical psychology for 40 years, he has become a highly sought after transformational behavior coach and power mentor for professional and elite amateur athletes, senior executive business leaders, and trains the nation’s top leaders in fitness in transformational leadership. He has worked in the media for nearly 40 years, appearing on every major talk and news show, and has been interviewed in, and written for, every major health and fitness magazine.
Michael is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Science for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, and served as the Senior Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise.

Michael is an Organizational Advisor to Fitwall, Rock My Run, amSTATZ, Outburst Mobile, and speaks regularly for Rancho La Puerta and the Asia Fitness Conference in Bangkok, in addition to numerous other fitness-health organizations throughout the nation. He has been a keynote speaker for the University of California’s system wide “FitCon” and for UCLA’s “Stress Less Week” as well as for the Transformational Leadership Council.

He is a best-selling author of three books including the 25th Anniversary updated edition of his 1988 original “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, P.S. It’s All Small Stuff,” and his 1996, “Ticking Bombs: Defusing Violence in the Workplace.” He is listed in’s 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” His fourth book is due out soon.