health

The three second brain trick that will make you happier.

We’re living in an age where goldfish are now pitying humankind for our abysmal attention span (thanks smartphones).

So when experts spruik happiness tips and tricks that require 20 minutes of meditation or mindfulness? Ha ha ha. That’s cute. *Gets back to aimless scrolling of Instagram*

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Image: iStock.

Google’s former ‘happiness master’ Chade-Meng Tan has provided us with a ticket to feeling joy that won’t cost you money or time.

The former top Google engineer, who implemented mindfulness classes for employees and has since earned a cult following for his positivity preachings, has revealed a three second trick to happiness in his book Joy On Demand: The Art Of Discovering Happiness From Within.

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Image: Amazon.
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Yes three seconds, friends. The period of time it takes you to conjure up the thought, ‘I’m hungry’ is apparently all that’s needed to find inner contentment. We’re listening...

Tan recommends his “thin slices of joy” method to help reshape your mind.

“Right now, I’m a little thirsty, so I will drink a bit of water. And when I do that, I experience a thin slice of joy both in space and time,” he said to CBC News.

“Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.”

These ‘slices’ are probably things you consider to be wholly unremarkable in your day to day existence - getting a seat on the bus that’s usually packed, noticing you’ve got a text waiting to be read from your mum, getting praise from a colleague at work.

They’re the little moments in your day that seem insignificant, but by focusing on them and truly savouring them as they happen (an act that should essentially take three seconds, max) you’re familiarising your mind with happiness, and will come to expect it. (Post continues after audio.)

The brain exercise is based on neurological research about forming habits. Put simply, it involves a trigger (the joyous moment), a reward (feeling good) and a routine (noticing it to begin with): all key elements in creating a habit that sticks.

Noticing sounds trivial, but it is an important meditative practice in its own right… noticing is the prerequisite of seeing. What we do not notice, we cannot see,” Tan writes.

A “mindfulness exercise” that takes a few seconds and doesn’t involve hiking up mountains at sunrise or kale smoothies? Consider us in.

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To read more from Edwina Carr Barraclough, you can follow her on Facebook here. Image: iStock.