The science of happiness has never been more important in guiding us towards actions that make the biggest difference – whether at home, or in the workplace. Here are 5 science-based ways to boost the happiness of you, your colleagues, and your customers.
- Put happiness first. Happiness leads to great work, not the other way around. So choose strategies that support the growth of wellbeing and contentment amongst colleagues, customers and partners.
- Be kind. We can all remember powerful examples of the presence or absence of kindness at work. People who were treated kindly at work have been shown to repay it by being 278% more generous to coworkers. Be kind, too, to yourself – especially at times of crisis.
- Get outside. Nature is good for you. People who have a higher degree of connectedness to nature not only report greater pro-environmental behaviour, but are also more satisfied with life, happier and more positive. A dose of 2 hours a week can be enough, and fits with our current ‘physical distancing’ requirements.
- Be grateful. A grateful mindset predicts greater happiness, life satisfaction and optimism – and lower envy, possessiveness, anxiety, and depression. Reflect on what you are grateful for yourself. And when you are more physically disconnected from colleagues, increase the praise and recognition.
- Set goals for happiness. You are likely to be happier if your performance goals encompass the welfare of others; increase autonomy, competence or relatedness; and are intrinsic – e.g. deeper relationships, greater responsibility, new learning and development.
- People who were treated kindly at work repaid it by being 278% more generous to coworkers compared to a control group (Chancellor et al 2018)
- Kindness creates less loneliness, with stronger immune system and overall health (Post 2005)
- Volunteers aged 55 and up who volunteer for 2 or more charities have 44% overall reduction in likelihood of death (Oman et al 1999)
- Helping others protects from heart disease twice as much as aspirin (Post & Neimark 2007)
- People who have a higher degree of connectedness to nature not only report greater pro-environmental behaviour (e.g., Gosling & Williams, 2010), but are also more satisfied with life and have higher happiness and positive affect (Mayer & Frantz, 2004; Tam, 2013).
- Individuals have both lower mental distress and higher well-being when living in urban areas with more green space (White et al 2013)
- Combined views of nature & daylighting can improve productivity & absenteeism up to 6.5%. (Ihab M.K. Elzeyadi, 2011)
- Types of goals are most associated with happiness: non-zero goals which encompass welfare of others; goals that increase autonomy, competence or relatedness; intrinsic goals – e.g. deeper relationships (not extrinsic – ie stuff).
- A grateful mindset predicts greater happiness, life satisfaction and optimism – and lower envy, possessiveness, anxiety, and depression. More pro-social leadership, greater relationship satisfaction and cooperation, more generous behaviour.
- Research at the Greater Good Science Centre has shown that the single biggest happiness boosting practice can be a ‘gratitude letter’. It’s a powerful way to reflect and show appreciation and reverence for someone…could you try it?
- Kudos to the Greater Good Science Centre, and their certificate in the Science of Happiness.