Best-selling author, speaker and life coach Valorie Burton discusses how women today can "have it all" and unlock their personal happiness in her latest book, Happy Women Live Better. In this book, Burton explores 12 happiness myths every woman should know and reveals 13 unique, scientifically proven happiness triggers that can measurably increase one's happiness on a daily basis. Burton gives SheKnows the inside scoop on how women can activate their happiness triggers to improve their resilience.
Happiness is intentional
Burton debunks the myth that says happiness is about what happens; only 10 percent of your happiness is dependent on your circumstances, she points out.
"The majority of it is what you choose to do every day," says Burton. "The triggers are things that are known to make you happier in a tangible way that you can choose to do, and anyone can do them."
Burton wrote this book as a tool for women to use.
"It’s a conversation starter about the things going on in our culture that tend to make it harder for us to be happier today than 40 years ago. I think it’s very empowering to know that a very large part of your happiness is about the choices that you make every day."
The 13 happiness triggers
In Happy Women Live Better, Burton explores the following 13 happiness triggers that you can activate to boost your joy immediately:
- Financial savvy
- Winning words
In her book, Burton describes these happiness triggers as skills. Whether you're a mom, career woman, student, wife or all of the above, activating these happiness triggers on a regular basis won't require a lot of your time. For example, to activate the anticipation happiness trigger, Burton recommends creating something to look forward to and savoring the moment, whether it's treating yourself to a piece of chocolate cake or watching your favorite television show. For the financial savvy trigger, she suggests living below your means or giving money away to bless someone in need. Burton says the three immediate happiness triggers are gratitude, service and movement, which could be activated by simply appreciating what's in front of you, giving someone a hug or taking a 20-minute walk.
Recognize your personal and power triggers
What happiness trigger do women struggle with the most? Burton says out of the thousands of women who have taken the test, one of the most common bottom triggers is relaxation. "A lot of women don’t rest and they worry a lot, so they don’t relax. They don’t get enough sleep. My definition in the book is not just about rest. It’s also about being able to let go and not worry. And that seems to be the one that women struggle with the most.
Burton encourages women to take her free online Happy Woman Test, which will reveal their top three "personal triggers" and bottom three "power triggers," as well as a happiness quotient to determine how actively they use all of the happiness triggers.
"I created the happiness triggers test to help women figure out their triggers, and one of the reasons I did that was because the triggers work for anyone. There are personal triggers we use a lot, and then there are some that are power triggers that are the bottom three. Those are the ones that you don’t use often. So you have to figure out what your bottom triggers are and be more intentional about using them to increase your happiness."
Having it all
Alpha women are associated with being career-focused and goal-driven, but is there a belief that professionally successful women have made personal sacrifices along the way and aren't really happy?
Burton doesn't believe this is true. She points out that there are so many opportunities for women today and expectations of what their lives should look like compared to 40 years ago, which can cause women to feel pressured to do it all. She advises women to be intentional in every area of their life.
"I think it’s very unfair to say that a woman who has a career and does not have a family has sacrificed that," says Burton. "If you want marriage and a family you need to be as intentional with your personal life as you are with your professional goals and career."
Maintain the right attitude
Take control of your life today by making the choice to be happy.
"You can choose to be happier. There are times when we’re going through difficult things and we won’t be happy about those things, but we can choose our attitude. It’s about how you choose to think about your everyday life. You can go through something miserable, or you can choose to go through it and have some joy," says Burton.
Burton encourages women to think of happiness as "an important goal that will strengthen you."
"The book is called Happy Women Live Better because happy women are less likely to get sick, they're more likely to live longer, more likely to get married and be happily married, and more likely to get promotions. Happiness also makes you more resilient. I love women who understand that being happier makes you stronger."
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