Research shows that “happy employees have, on average, 31% higher productivity; their sales are 37% higher; their creativity is three times higher.”*
That is quite a “happiness advantage” both for people who are “happy” and organizations who cultivate “happiness” in their employees.
In an article by Shawn Achor in Harvard Business Review*, he outlines three ways that individuals can cultivate their own sense of well-being – happiness. By the way, if you have never seen his TED Talk on happiness I highly recommend it. He also has a book entitled The Happiness Advantage.
1. Develop New Habits. Training the brain is not unlike training your body. For example, try starting one of these new habits every day to improve your happiness: jot down three things you are grateful for, take two minutes to journal the most meaningful experience you have had in the past 24 hours, or write a positive message to someone in your social support network. These have been shown to increase life satisfaction.
2. Deepen Your Social Support Network. Strong social networks correlate with a wide variety of positive outcomes including physical health as well as happiness. A strong support system is especially helpful in times of stress. Take extra time to make sure you are investing in the social networks that are important to you. We all want to do this, but it can be challenging to find the time. Consider making it a higher priority.
3. Change Your Relationship with Stress. Research shows that our attitude about stress can dramatically change our reaction to it. We know that stress can help us improve and develop, but it often does not seem that way in the moment. Next time you feel overwhelmed, Achor suggests an exercise in which you list all of the stresses you are under and divide them into two groups – things you can control and things you cannot. For the things you can control, chose one stress and come up with a small step to reduce it. This helps you move, even in a small way, in a more positive direction.
Try these suggestions and if you want more ideas, check out this blog series. The benefits of improved well-being are good for us personally and in our work lives. Start leveraging your Happiness Advantage today.
*Achor, Shawn. “Positive Intelligence,” Harvard Business Review, January-February 2012, pp. 100 – 102.