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Happiness, Exercise, Stress Reduction, Happier, Success, Energy, Productivity

Happiness Hack #5 Make Time To Exercise

Make Time to Exercise and You will be Healthier, Happier, and More Productive.

Our time is constrained and we don’t have time to get everything done as it is. But we should schedule time to exercise on a regular basis. Research by Russell Clayton and colleagues, which is due out in the next issue Human Resource Management, concludes there is a positive relationship between exercise and work life balance. Based on Clayton’s research, people who take the time to exercise feel more self-efficacy. In other words they are confident they can get things done. Completing a regular exercise routine, gives them proof that they are capable of handling bigger challenges, including getting major projects at work done and making time for a happy home life.

Exercise also makes you happier. It gives you more energy. It also provides a mental and emotional break from your daily stress. It gives you time to think and process information. Research has shown that exercise was more effective than Zoloft, an anti-depressant medication, in reducing the symptoms of depression. Exercise improves your brain’s ability to process information. Overall exercise helps you think more clearly, feel more confident, and be more energetic, all of which help you be better at your job.

So take some time out of your busy schedule to exercise. You will be able to get more done instead of less, and you will be happier and more successful.

Happiness Hack #4 – Practice Autonomy

Happiness Hack #6 – Find Flow

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How Optimism Can Help You Be Happier

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

 Optimism is a form of Positive Thinking that is focused on the future and how the future will unfold.  It helps improve our lives and make us happier.  Optimism changes the way we look at and remember our interactions in life because we put a more positive spin on our events and activities. Numerous research studies have confirmed the benefits of optimism which include better health, longer lives, faster recovery from illness, and even healthier babies.

Tali Sherot a leading researcher and teacher of happiness lists three reasons that optimism is a key component of our happiness:

How we interpret events matters. As we go through life, remembering a majority of our interactions with an optimistic and hopeful attitude gives us the feeling we are on the right path and things will work out for us.

  1. Anticipation enhances our happiness. By thinking optimistically about the future, we get excited about what we think could and will happen. We are as happy during those times of anticipation as we are when the event actually occurs. So our happiness lasts for much longer periods of time if we are optimistic and anticipate good outcomes.
  2. Optimism makes you try harder. If you believe an event is going to turn out positively, you may be surprised or disappointed when events start taking a negative turn. Consciously or unconsciously, we redouble our efforts to get life back on the right track. As a result, we create better outcomes through efforts we put forth because we are optimistic about the better outcomes.

Optimistic thinkers experience more positive emotions because they explain events in ways that help them feel good about themselves. Pessimistic thinkers take a negative approach and explain events in ways that make them feel worse about themselves.   The good news is that pessimism can be replaced with optimism.  Pessimistic thinking can be exchanged for optimistic thinking with a little effort and practice.

Some tips for creating optimism in your life:

 

  1. Visualize Your Best Possible Self – Visualize a future for yourself in which everything has turned out the way you want it. This can be a short timeframe, like the project is successful and everyone likes it, or a long timeframe, like how your life turns out more fantastic than you could ever imagine.
  2. Find a pessimistic thought and smash it – Keep a small rock or some other touchstone in your pocket or nearby. Whenever you recognize a pessimistic thought, visualize yourself smashing it with the rock and replacing it with a more optimistic thought.
  3. Put a quarter in a cup – put a coffee cup on your dresser or desk. Every time you consciously replace a pessimistic thought with an optimistic thought, put a quarter in the cup. When the cup is full, you can use the change to buy yourself a treat. An empty cup reminds you to keep finding ways to choose optimistic thoughts.

“Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier” – Gen. Colin Powell

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness in the Workplace

Happy employees enhance the overall performance of an organization.  However, studies show that only 1 in 5 employees (20%) actually report being happy at work.  So that means that approximately 80% of employees are unhappy at work and therefore, negatively impacting the performance of your business.  Companies are now beginning to recognize the changes in employee attitudes and are focusing on improving the culture of their company.

First of all, let’s start with WHY you should care about the happiness of your employees.  As mentioned above, happier employees are more productive and will provide higher benefits to your business.  Lately, probably for a variety of reasons including economic environment and world tragedies, employees are feeling more stressed, less secure, and ultimately less satisfied at work.  This environment adds up to higher absenteeism, less productivity, and higher turnover in your organization.  All of these issues have a negative drag on the business.

While HAPPINESS can be defined in a variety of different ways and is comprised of many elements, Martin Seligman outlined the key elements impacting HAPPINESS… Pleasure, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.  If you can find a formula the leverages these elements, you will generally see that your employees:

  • love their work and find it meaningful
  • consistently give all that they can
  • work collaboratively with others

Resulting in a happier employee and stronger business.

One interesting note is that HAPPINESS becomes an ongoing circle for your employees and your business.  Happier employees are more satisfied with their lives, enjoy better health, live longer and have better relationships.  Additionally, HAPPINESS is contagious.  Happy employees on your team will drive others within the organization to be happier – thus continuously driving improvements.

While it has such an impact on business performance, like most things, establishing a culture that drives employee happiness isn’t rocket science; however, it does take a bit of effort and focus on doing a few things all of the time.

Here are a few broad areas to align your focus on – Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery, and Connection.

  • Purpose – give everyone a purpose and show how they link to the bigger purpose of the organization and beyond.  When people have a purpose, they are excited and driven.
  • Autonomy – give people the freedom in achieving their goals.  This doesn’t mean that we aren’t held accountable.  There is a balance.
  • Mastery – give everyone the tools and opportunities to be successful.  Tools can be coaching, equipment, training, applications, etc.
  • Connection – people need a level of connection and collaboration with others.  It is important that a team is well connected internally and externally.

The formula is to leverage a combination of these elements because focusing on just one will not achieve the greatest results.  For instance, if you simply provide someone with a strong purpose, but don’t give them access to the tools for success or don’t allow them to achieve their objectives, overall success will suffer.

 

 

Relationships – One of Seven Habits to Cultivate Happiness

 See Pursuit-of-Happiness.org for more info.

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved”  George Sand

 

One of the Happiness Habits is to build close relationships in which you can share your personal feelings and reveal your authentic self.  Ellen Berscheid wrote that “relationships constitute the single most important factor responsible for the survival of homo sapiens

 

People who have one or more close relationships appear to be happier. It doesn’t seem to matter if we have a large network of close friends or not. What seems to make a difference is if and how often we cooperate in activities and share our personal feelings with a friend or relative. Simply put, it’s not the quantity of our relationships, but the quality that matters.

 

People who have one or more close friendships appear to be happier and healthier as well.  A summary of research by Bert Uchino shows that positive relationships can have a positive impact on our health, recovery times, and even our longevity.    In their book titled Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener said that

“Like food and air, we seem to need social relationships to thrive.”    The “Grant Study” followed 268 Harvard students beginning in the late 1930’s and continuing through their lifetimes.   They discovered that those students who were good at forming relationships lived longer than those who were not. 

In 2002, two pioneers of Positive Psychology, Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, conducted a study at the University of Illinois on the 10% of students with the highest scores recorded on a survey of personal happiness. They found that the most salient characteristics shared by students who were very happy and showed the fewest signs of depression were “their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.” (“The New Science of Happiness,” Time Magazine, Claudia Wallis, Jan. 09, 2005).

In one study people were asked on random occasions about their mood. They were found to be happiest with their friends, followed by family members, and least happy if they were alone (Larson). Another study constructed a scale of cooperativeness, ie how willing people were to constructively engage in activities with others. This study showed that the cooperativeness of an individual was a predictor of their happiness, though it did not conclusively show if their cooperation resulted in happiness or the other way around (Lu). A study on the quality of relationships found that to avoid loneliness people needed only one close relationship coupled with a network of other relationships. To form a close relationship required a growing amount of “self-disclosure,” or a willingness to reveal ones personal issues and feelings, and without it people with friends would still be lonely (Weiss). A similar study found that some students who had many friends with whom they often spent time were still plagued by loneliness, and this seemed to be related to their tendency to talk about impersonal topics such as sports and pop music instead of their personal life (Weeler).

In their book Connected, Christakis and Fowler showed that you can influence a friend’s happiness by as much as 15% and you can influence your friend’s friend’s happiness by as much as 10%.

The bottom line is that nurturing positive relationships is good for your happiness.

 

Some activities to help you improve your relationships:

 

  1. List 3 relationships you should nurture.   What can you do work on those relationships.
  2. Write a letter of gratitude to one of the people on your list and share it with them in person.
  3. Ritualize your relationships – schedule a monthly lunch, a Bowling night, a revolving dinner party, or holiday tradition.
  4. Become a joiner – join a group that does activities you enjoy like reading, sailing, walking, etc.
  5. Help your friends be happier.

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