SOUNDS ODD by Elizabeth Holmes
Fun Facts on the Science of Sound
8. Come On, Get Happy! Here's Why ...
In honor of the traditional blessing we bestow on each other at this time of year – Happy New Year! – here’s some food for thought from the field of positive psychology.
Note: If you are unfamiliar with this branch of psychology, think of it as the flip-side of the pathology of human behavior. Instead of studying why things go wrong in our lives, positive psychologists study why things go right.Let’s start with the popular notion that "Success leads to happiness.” It turns out that we need to flip this idea around. In fact, the opposite is true: "Happiness leads to success.”
Recent studies in the field of positive psychology have confirmed that:
"…Happiness gives us a real chemical edge on the competition,” says author Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage.
"How? Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels. They help us organize new information, keep that information in the brain longer, and retrieve it faster later on.
"And, they enable us to make and sustain more neural connections, which allows us to think more quickly and creatively, become more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things.”PROVEN HAPPINESS BOOSTERS
If you’re not ‘naturally happy,’ don’t despair. Happiness can be learned!
Achor cites the following ways to improve our moods and raise our levels of happiness. These techniques have been verified in multiple studies:
Find something to look forward to.
Students who took tests that were critical to their advancement and future opportunities consistently outperformed their peers when they thought about the happiest day of their lives just before their exams.
THE HAPPY AUDITIONER
See if you don’t improve your audition win-ratio using this technique, similar to the pre-exam boost the students used in the study above.
I stumbled across this a couple of years ago when I did a call-back with a production company I really wanted to work with. (And yes, I got the gig!)
Before you perform your next audition, listen to your favorite upbeat music. It will raise your mood, boost your confidence, and inspire a superior performance. I listen to the same music on my ‘long drive home’ to counter post-audition doubts, but I’m still figuring out the whole "It’s selection, not rejection” thing.
Experiment with lifting your mood before and after your auditions. It may help with the roller-coaster nature of winning and losing voice-acting jobs.
Seriously. In 2013, think about putting more Happy in your New Year. You’ll be glad you did. The rewards are enormous.
For more on the science of happiness, read The Happiness Advantage – The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor. Achor’s advice has been rigorously tested in both academic (Harvard) and international commercial settings, he writes well, and he’s funny. Recommended reading for your voice over business – and for your life!
Elizabeth Holmes is a writer, voice actor, and staff editor at VoiceOverXtra, based in Northern California. She is also editor of VoiceOverXtra's book division, including Voice Over Legal, by voice actor / attorney Robert Sciglimpaglia. For earlier columns in this series, please type "Sounds Odd" in the SEARCH box at the top of this web page.
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success