The good news; happiness is starting to consistently make headlines. The bad news; not everyone is happy. More good news; there are a lot actions you can take to become happier.
Happiness at Work
From a recent New York Daily News article:
Workplace morale heads down: 70% of Americans negative about their jobs, Gallup study shows 'Bosses from hell' are giving U.S. workers the Monday blues. Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace report had grim findings, including that 70% of those surveyed either hate work or are completely disengaged, and perks don't help.
A Harvard Business Review blog offered some hope by explaining how to create a happier team.
“Happy, engaged employees are good for an organization. Research shows they are more creative, produce better results, and are willing to go the extra mile. What's more, happiness is contagious; it creates a virtuous cycle that leads to further engagement. To bring more of that into your team, focus on what psychologists have identified as the three pathways to happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Consider whether you are actively encouraging these things in your people. Do they enjoy their relationships and their environment at work? Do they laugh? Do they fill roles that fit their skill sets and offer appropriate challenges? Do they feel they're a part of something that matters? If the answer is no to any of these questions, brainstorm how you can adjust the team environment to bring more happiness in.”
Jonathan from Advance Life Skills gives us some insight into productivity and happiness. It seems we all want to be more and more productive. The problem is we don’t know when we are productive enough. We interfere with our happy and relaxing times by trying to be more productive so we can have more happy and relaxing times. This sends us into a downward spiral of unhappy productivity. Being productive helps us feel accomplished and good about ourselves. The challenge is we have to create balance. We are being productive so we can have time to be happy. To be happy we need to identify times to stop being overly focused on productivity and just be happy and in the moment. Set your priorities and know when to step off the productivity merry-go-round and enjoy the moment, time with your family and friends, and all that you have accomplished.
Happiness from Giving
Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, authors of the recently released Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, offer some ideas based on their research of giving money away. They offered participants either $5 or $20 and gave them one of two possible scenarios. Spend the money on themselves before the end of the day or spend it on someone else. They measured the participants’ happiness before and after they spent the money and found that the people who spent the money on someone else were much happier than those who spent it on themselves. It didn’t matter whether they got $5 or $20 spending the money on someone else made them measurably happier. Dunn and Norton and offer several tips for how to spend money and become happier including; Buy Experiences, Make it a Treat, Buy Time, Pay Now – Consumer Later, and Invest in others. You can read more here and here.