What does happiness mean to you? It can mean many different things and the adjectives we all use will vary when we describe our definition of happiness. So there is no one size fits all. But there is plenty of research that tells us how we can improve happiness and the impact it has on our lives.
We know that since 1950 GDP has gone up and life satisfaction has gone down. You have to ask yourself why…. We are producing more and more and we still feel unsatisfied. We are becoming a nation who strive for more but fail sometimes to just stop, be grateful, look up and smell the flowers.
We have seen an increase in mental health issues and we are working hard to help people when they are in trouble. By the time we are helping, the individual has dropped below a base level of happiness and contentment. How can we help people before they drop below the ‘happiness’ line?
We know that happiness gives us a better physical health advantage. Research tells us:
- We are less likely to catch colds
- We have better overall health
- We have a 50% lower risk of a cardiovascular event
- We have a 35% reduction to our risk death
- At work we are 12% more productive
There is also research that shows companies with a high level of happiness perform better overall. Drivers of happiness at work are:
Having the autonomy we need and working for someone we have a good relationship with will help us progress. The three things intertwined help us feel happier.
And on a final note, reflecting back, celebrating success and recognizing what we are grateful for puts our brains into a place of contentment. The feeling it brings, even if you just take 2 minutes to think about what you have achieved in a day will make you feel proud and smile inside. Do that every day and it has been proven that your happiness levels increase. 2 minutes a day… WoMos, even we can carve out 2 minutes a day!
Thank you to Vanessa King for her inspiring talk this week on Happiness. Vanessa is the creator of the Ten Keys to Happier Living (see below). She runs workshops and is on the board of Action for Happiness.