The search for greater happiness is sometimes dismissed as trivial, but it is vital for our resilience to buffer against our daily difficulties and stress thereby reducing our risks of burnout or mental illnesses.
It works as a positive feedback loop. Building resilience helps create greater happiness, and creating happiness helps maintain our resilience. Using happiness to build resilience in this way helps to safeguard us from mental distress by reducing our stress levels.
When we’re happier, we’re less likely to take things the wrong way, to be offended by a careless remark or to dwell on what’s gone wrong. It’s easier to keep things in perspective and reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Being happy and in a positive frame of mind gives your immune system a boost and lowers the level of inflammation in the body, reducing your risk of getting sick or developing heart disease.
The benefits of happiness include:
- better physical and mental health
- stronger immune system
- stronger positive relationships
- a more positive affect (mood) associated with increased optimism, creativity, sense of wonder and curiosity
- less stress and greater resilience
- increased productivity and engagement at work
And it makes us more attractive to other people because we’re seen as being warm, empathetic and caring. Bonus!
Creating greater happiness in life and work
Many of us spend more time with our work family than our own family and friends, so knowing how to create greater happiness at work matters. Being unhappy at work because of overworking, toxic working relationships or lack of purpose, is a health hazard that spills over into our state of mind and into other areas of our life.
This is why I became a Global Partner with Woohoo inc., a company founded by Alex Kjerulf in 2003 to help spread the message that happiness at work is vital for health, wellbeing and good business. This is no secret.
A University of Warwick study, for example, confirmed that the happiest people at work are up to 12 per cent more productive, are likely to stay in their role longer, and take less time off for sick or stress leave.
As Alex Kjerulf explains, ‘The main drivers of unhappiness at work are poor leadership, constant busyness and overworking, and jobs with no meaning or purpose’.
Is this familiar to you?
Making happiness work better for us
We need to focus on what we KNOW makes us happy, otherwise we could end up chasing what has the opposite effect. We can easily drift into the negative, the what-ifs and if-onlys.
Stewing over what someone said to us (‘They were so rude!’) or did to us (‘Did you see how he cut right in front of me?’) keeps us in a negative loop, at risk of catastrophising, magnifying and infecting others in our misery party. Creating more happiness starts with:
- letting go of the small stuff. Easier to say, harder to do, though it does get easier as we age and start recognising what’s truly important to us and to let go of past failures. Hurrah, an advantage to getting older! There had to be one.
- doing the things that make us happy, tapping into what gave us joy as a kid and giving ourselves permission to play.
- focusing on positive relationships — with friends, family and our social network — to combat the sting of loneliness and cut loose from relationships that are toxic and harmful.
Are you investing enough time and attention to your relationships, or is busyness getting in the way?
Watch this amazing video by Scott Friedman on how to unlock happiness.