Did you know that most of the people you know, including yourself very likely, find it easier to work than to enjoy free time? Becoming successful, it seems, trumps developing happiness. This is what Shawn Achor relies on when he writes about the “Happiness Myth,” namely the myth that hard work leads to success, and when people become successful, then they’ll be happy. Nonsense.

The so-called Puritanical Work Ethic, “work hard and you’ll be successful,” is a myth as well. It omits the “X” factor—simply working hard does not necessarily lead to “success” and it surely doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness.

Data suggests that if people have a “happiness mindset,” if they are already happy, then they are more successful. If not, fortunately, happiness can be grown and developed.

How? The link is what you think, and that leads to increased self-motivation, positive mental attitude and self-talk, superior concentration and grit, uncompromising self-confidence, effectively changing to better habits, improved social connections, and that all improves your ability to grow from any experience in positive, healthy ways.

So what does weight or do pounds have to do with replacing negativity? Ohhhh, you thought I meant THOSE lbs.? No. I meant another set of lbs.

Here’s exactly how to reduce your negativity, and it actually has nothing to do with what you eat, or don’t eat. In fact, moving from negativity to positivity, preventing stress and anger associated with negativity, may improve the way you do eat.

Let go. You know exactly what or who you need to kick to the side of the road. Is it a dead end job, a relationship that’s dragged you down a bit too long, an educational program that’s leading nowhere, a “DIEt” that’s not producing results, a fitness trainer or therapist or massage therapist that’s failing you? Can’t do anything more to improve a situation and it still leaves you down? So move forward with confidence and trust, free of predicting something bad happening to you when you take action and leave it behind you. Your windshield is larger than your rear view mirror for a reason. A friend helps you up when someone knocks you down. A best friend says, “Stay down, I got this.” If that’s not what you have, let it go. Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care. It might mean that and that’s ok too. People can be a part of your life but not your destiny. Steve Maraboli observed, “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

Beliefs. What you say, you see. And what you think, you say. See? It all comes back, always, to your thoughts, your beliefs. Instead of inflammatory thinking, catastrophizing, demanding and commanding that you, life and people be different, replace those negative styles and patterns of thinking with positive ones. Your beliefs often are a reflection of who you think you are in this world. Listen to the thoughts that float in your mind. What names are you using to describe situations? Do you hear yourself saying, “OMG, the most horrible thing happened today, I thought I lost my cell phone!” or do you hear yourself thinking, “What an idiot he is for driving like that—he oughta pull the heck over and let the rest of us pass!” Hear the inflammatory, demanding thinking? What goes right? What positive things do you believe about yourself and others? Keep those your main focus. See the difference. J.M. Barrie, of Peter Pan fame, noted, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

Support. Sure it’d be great if we all had people around us who don’t judge us, talk about us and instead support us unconditionally. But start with yourself. Do you think you are that person for yourself? Before you can get through to others, you have to get through to yourself. What is your personal support system saying to you right now? Shhhh, it’s silent so listen carefully. Always be ready to respond positively should that personal support system fail you and instead fill you with negative messages.

There you have it. Your lbs can certainly reduce your negativity, promote your positivity and prevent you from stressing yourself out. That’ll only lead you to actually believe you “need” ice cream or a few of slices of pizza or think those cupcakes are calling your name. They aren’t. It’s your lbs that are failing you and need to be beefed up. Come to think of it, this might be the only time that adding lbs can be helpful and healthful. Just remember which lbs I’m talking about.

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. After 40 years of diagnosing and treating mental illness, he has retired from clinical practice---and as he describes, is now “reFired” and “reWired.”

He provides advanced behavior science coaching for sustainable strategic outcomes in mindful, values driven and positively adaptive ways to business leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, individuals, families and organizations to reach breakthrough levels of success and significance in their professional and personal lives.

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 travels the world speaking with fitness and health professionals to provide the most current thinking and tools for behavior change. He has been a member of SAG/AFTRA since 1981, having appeared regularly on Good Morning America, as well as numerous talk shows and weekly appearances on TV and radio news.

Michael is an Organizational Advisor to Fitwall, Rock My Run, amSTATZ, speaks for Rancho La Puerta and the Asia Fitness Conference and Expo, in addition to numerous other fitness-health organizations throughout the nation. He is interviewed frequently for fitness and health magazines including Details Magazine, Men’s Health USA and UK, Women’s Health US and UK, Weight Watchers, Shape, Natural Health, Real Simple, Women’s World, MetRx, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of others in the health/wellness/fitness world. He has written for, and spoken for the International Council on Active Aging, the Medical Fitness Association, Athletic Business, IHRSA, and a host of other professional organizations in the health and fitness fields. He has been a keynote speaker for the University of California FitCon and UCLA “Stress Less Week.”

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.” Heis listed in greatist.com’s 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” His fourth book is due out soon.