Dr. Michael Mantell is fond of saying, "what you feed, you grow." When it comes to health, longevity, successful social connections and long-term loving relationships, personal and communal wellbeing, even physical fitness and finances, leading-edge transformational coaches know that optimistic, positive seeds are the no-longer-secret predictive ingredients to living life optimally. As I’ve taught in my coaching for years, “the link is what you think.”
We know today that compassion is the highest level of happiness, at least according to neuroscience. When you feel what others feel, understand what others feel, and want to help others, that's compassion. And that's the happiest state you'll ever achieve--again, according to neuroscience.
We know that those people who are authentically happy are markedly different than those snarky, angry, critical, distrustful, defensive, inwardly turned and insecure folks who don’t enjoy living in harmony and peace with themselves and others.
From my pro athlete clients, CEO’s, and everyday Jane’s and Joe’s, it seems that happiness is catching on as the newest sought after side-effect free medicine.
Perhaps it was Mahatma Gandhi who helped illuminate the path away from pharmacies to build happiness. He taught, “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
A client of mine recently told me he fell down the stairs and he realized that his transformational thinking has taken hold. “When I hit bottom I thought to myself, ‘Wow I hit the bottom of the stairs really fast!” No cursing, no anger, no frustration or shame. Just saw the good in what others would see as bad. This may sound a bit silly, but not for this senior executive at a mid-sized national company. His team reports he’s nicer to work with and productivity is up!
So what’s the key to achieving this type of positivity? Here are what I’ve found in coaching for 40 years, to be the most useful steps:
1. Talk yourself out of worrying. It’s the most unproductive thing you can do.
2. Turn your fears into faith? Most of the things you fear won’t ever happen. Change your negative perception into a “Even if it does happen which it probably won’t, I can handle it,” and you’ll stop scaring yourself.
3. You can’t ever cross a bridge until you come to it, so don’t try. And don’t put up your umbrella before it starts raining either.
4. Love genuinely, be mindful in every step you take, be intentionally purposeful, express gratitude, laugh and put your family first. Yes, those are more than just one rule. But they are important.
5. Why wait until you die to rest in peace? Find peace now and create it mindfully, so you can peacefully rest. Taking your problems to bed creates tension, not peace. Leave your problems in another room, and you’ll sleep better. Create deep, restorative sleep for yourself by the way you create peace during the day.
6. Run your own race in life. Compare yourself to others and you’ll end up in despair.
7. Stop reading the same chapter you didn’t like over and over again. It’s best to drive looking through the windshield, not the rear view mirror.
8. Be as fit and healthy in your mind and body as you can be—proper exercise, wise nutrition and rational thinking all help. So will staying away from anyone who smokes and avoiding any other toxins you can identify. You won’t get to 80 if you don’t live to 60.
9. Your frustrations and anger are rooted in your insisting that your life must be different than it is—this is the ultimate obstacle to taking positive steps forward.
10. Develop “regardless thinking,” so that no matter what happens in your life—and stuff will--you choose to be happy, nevertheless. That includes problems with money, relationships and jobs.

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 served on the faculty of UCSD’s School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry.

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. He is an Organizational Advisor to Fitwall, Rock My Run, amSTATZ, and speaks regularly for Rancho La Puerta in Mexico 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 longtime leadership and executive coach, strategic planning consultant and behavior agility mentor.

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 greatist.com’s 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”