I’ve owned my own business since I was 11 and I enjoy it very much.
My husband works for a mega corporation and has pretty much always worked for a variety of big corporations since he first entered the work force.
So it is always very interesting to observe the not so subtle levels of happiness or lack thereof, in the workplace and it’s influence in our lives and vice versa.
At first I was going to title this “A Yearly Bonus Isn’t What Makes A Happy Employee”. Then I thought, the truth is, anybody whether an employee, employer, entrepreneur or housewife – we just want to be happy, but not everyone gets happiness from the same things.
So how can we tap in to what makes us truly happy and then find more of that?
Here are the top 5 ways I find work best and studies repeatedly show these contribute to a measurable level of increased happiness generally.
1. GRATITUDE. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley in collaboration with the University of California, Davis completed a 3 year research on Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude in 2014. Their findings proved people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Stronger immune systems
Lowered blood pressure
Higher levels of positive emotions
More joy, optimism, and happiness
Acting with more generosity and with compassion
Feeling less lonely and less isolated
The operative word, however, is consistency.
Those who did not do this on a regular basis had significantly less (albeit still a slight increase in happiness) than those who had a daily practice of finding 3 different items to be grateful for.
They would keep a daily log and each day add 3 new items to their “gratitude journal”. This is where the significant results in happiness were experienced that seemed to have been the catalyst for the original study being taken on.
2. CELEBRATE. aka “The Doubler”. The action is to find 1 positive event (doesn’t matter the size or significance) and describe the details and feelings of the event for at least 2 minutes, in writing.
Studies have found that taking one positive experience and writing about it for at least 2 minutes acts as a re-experiencing of the positive effects all over again.
Any positive experience can be relived repeatedly gathering more details and stronger positive feelings as you write about the details.
Some wrote of the birth of their child, receiving an award, positive feedback at work, and so on.
Significant and immediate positive effects on the happiness level of those in the study were noted. (Once again journaling is involved)
3. FUN. 15 minutes of active mindful fun every day.
This study showed that when a person takes time every day to do something they love and enjoy their level of happiness increases.
Well of course, right? But the study also noted that one persons fun may not be the same as another. Take the case of an office setting where the boss decides on a big ol’ paint ball shoot fest to bring office morale up, it’s possible you will have half the office who would prefer to garden or visit a museum, so this isn’t going to work. To qualify as FUN you have to like it.
One person’s fun is anothers’ anxiety attack. So never force co-workers or employees or ridicule someone if they choose to bow out of the company “fun” day.
Here’s a little bonus questions for you – what do you consider fun? If you are an employer, do you know what each of your employees consider fun?
Give yourself permission to enjoy the type of fun, whether it’s sky diving, pottery or reading a good book just for the pure pleasure of it.
4. SMILE and “It was my pleasure”. I love this one. The action is to smile consciously at least 3 times a day. The moment I start getting serious about things, even typing an article, I stop and smile.
When I do that – it’s a sign to my body to relax. Breathe. This can make a difference in your life as well as others.
The Ritz Carlton showed high marks when they implemented this one action. Instead of saying “you’re welcome” to guests and fellow employees, they would say “It was my pleasure” with a smile.
5. MEANINGFUL SOCIAL CONNECTION. On the days I am on deadlines for a book or article and have no real social connection, I can feel drained.
Charge your battery with meaningful social connection, laughter and enjoyment. Petty criticism or rumor mongering around the water cooler doesn’t count.
Genuine appreciation and empathy has been shown to be life saving. A sense of belonging increases happiness like no other.
While social media is here to stay it’s not a substitute for meaningful social connection.
While I’m certain most folks don’t mind the annual bonus, it just won’t make up for a year of lack of happiness in the workplace.
Whether you want to reduce your turn over rate or you want to feel more satisfied in your job, one or all of these small doable steps could make a big positive difference.
Try one or all of them to increase your happiness and let me know how it goes!
Much Love, Stephana