How to Rediscover Happiness

May 15, 2020


Paula Monthofer

At this uncertain time, when many are feeling an extreme loss of control, REALTOR® and real estate instructor Paula Monthofer, GRI, offered suggestions Thursday for shifting your mindset and even discovering happiness. “You can change your expectations as things go forward,” said Monthofer, who led the session “Finding Peace in Turbulent Times” during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings.

Although many people think the key to happiness is their level of productivity, science finds the opposite is true: Increasing your happiness will actually boost your productivity, she said. It’s important to seek positivity in the midst of a pandemic and beyond.

Monthofer, who served as president of the Arizona Association of REALTORS® in 2017, described the elements of finding and maintaining inner peace as a kind of three-course “buffet meal.” You can choose the things that resonate for you and skip what doesn’t. Here are some of the choices you can make:

  • Grace. Don’t be so hard on yourself while life itself is especially hard. “Are you holding yourself to pre-coronavirus standards right now? Because that’s not fair,” she said. Find beauty in the mistakes you make and view them as learning opportunities.
  • Gratitude. Remind yourself of the things you are passionate about. That will help you to stay motivated in your daily tasks, which might include parenting, pursuing business leads, or both. Daily affirmations can help you lessen your anxieties and reach goals, but what she calls “afformations” may be more effective. In Monthofer’s networking example, she explained that while an affirmation is asking someone, “Let me know if you know someone looking for a house,” an “afformation” is more direct: “Who do you know that is looking for a house?” This communication style can trigger synapses in your brain, changing the mind’s pathways to bring more positive thoughts. You are more likely to get satisfying results using the “afformation” method, Monthofer said.
  • Growth. In order to be at peace, you must practice peace. Balance the negative news you read with good news. Search for the hashtag #covidkindness on Twitter to flood your feed with “paying it forward” stories that will leave you with a smile. Check out the REALTORS® are Good Neighbors Facebook page to learn about your peers making a huge difference in their communities and around the world through volunteering.

Taking part in acts of kindness, even if it’s simply smiling at people you pass on the sidewalk, will raise your serotonin levels. “Little acts make the biggest difference in people’s lives” and your own, Monthofer said.

At a time when many are living socially distant from others, it’s important that the interactions we do have are making a positive impact on our well-being. Evaluate how you feel about your relationships; lean into those bringing you good energy and back away from those who don’t.

Monthofer’s bottom line: Cut yourself some slack while your daily duties have shifted dramatically and concerns about your financial, mental, and physical well-being have escalated. “We need to prioritize our self-care,” she said. “We need to be kinder—and to start with ourselves.”

Visit Monthofer’s website for more resources on taking care of yourself during these stressful times and beyond.