A Platform for Happiness
In the month of March the 'International Day of Happiness' is an official UN day that “recognises the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”. But the term happiness is more than just a having positive seemingly happy mood, it also encompasses leading a life that is meaningful and fulfilling. The science of happiness has grown out of the 'positive psychology' movement, Martin Seligman largely attributed as it’s pioneer. He developed a systematic theory about why people are happy and more over used scientific methods to explore the theory.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ―Dalai Lama XIV
It is generally accepted that happiness is a product of a combination of factors including genetics, happiness-relevant circumstances, and happiness-relevant activities and practices. [i] Empirical evidence indicates the best opportunity for achieving sustainable increases in happiness is through happiness-relevant activities and practices. There is substantial overlap between resilience and happiness resources in terms of specific activities and practices.
Personal Resilience: - a person’s habitual, physiological, and psychological resource capacity to deal with excess pressure demands and have the ability to call upon and access a reservoir of energy and coping mechanisms to meet the challenge effectively and efficiently – Koru International
For example, resilience interventions for increasing activity, energy and flow are effective in reducing 'happiness saboteurs' such as tiredness, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and anger. These interventions can promote psychological and physiological resilience, which creates a platform for happiness. [ii] However there is more to increasing happiness through building personal resilience than just feeling subjectively happy.
The following specific benefits are examples: [iii]
· Improve focus and creativity
· Lower blood pressure
· Slow the aging process
· Elevate emotional clarity
· Improve nervous system and hormonal balance
· Lower stress and anxiety levels
· Facilitate brain function
· Strengthen the immune system
· Promote optimal physical performance
The good news - Resilience and happiness can be learned behaviour. “It’s not reality that shapes us, but the lens through which our brain views the world that shapes our reality. If we can change the lens, then not only can we change our happiness, but we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time”. – Harvard University ‘happiness researcher’ Shawn Achor [iv] Richard Branson in the Trinidad &Tobago Guardian [v] said that the question that new entrepreneurs often ask me is about how should they should treat their staff? He is reported to have replied that a "business is a collection of people and a happy employee is a productive employee, and it’s an entrepreneur's job to ensure that they are caring for their staff."
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." Albert Schweitzer.
Do you think you need a 'happy' and resilient workforce to be a successful organisation?
I. “World Happiness Report”.
II. “World Happiness Report 2016 Update”. (20 March 2016)
III. The Heartmath Solution: The Institute of Heartmath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence. (February 2011) by Doc Lew Childre & Howard Martin: HarperCollins Publishers >pg 3
IV. The Happy Secret to Better Work”, TED Talk May 2011. Harvard University ‘happiness researcher’ Shawn Achor.