When it comes to marketing, we are all about making our clients happy. But, what about us? It’s not just a handy saying that people are more productive when they are happy. Researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, authors of the Progress Principles, have proven it be true.
“Whether we looked at entrepreneurial startups or large, established enterprises, the same holds true: People are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions. In fact, we found that, if happier on a given day, people were not only more likely to come up with a new idea or solve a complex problem that same day but also to do so the next day,” they relate in Employee Happiness Matters More Than You Think.
Being of service to others not only helps them – it makes you feel happy that you could make a difference.
So, how do achieve happiness nirvana? According to David K. Williams in Eleven Things Science Shows Will Make You Happier Every Day, there are some simple, scientifically proven steps that will help you reach the big H … Happiness.
1. Exercise more. While hitting your target beats per minute on the treadmill may not make you jump for joy at that second, exercise is proven to affect the happy factor.
“Statistical results were very important. On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated, says Jo Coulson, Research Associate in the University of Bristol’s Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences was quoted as saying in People who Exercise on Work Days are Happier, Suffer Less Stress and are More Productive.
Plus, who doesn’t love playing outside or that endorphin rush we get from activity? If you are an outside exerciser, spending time in the great outdoors is also a proven happy booster.
2. Sleep more. Finally, you can tell someone that you have to sleep in because it’s science! Turns out a good night’s sleep can really keep the blues away.
“Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories get processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine,” relate authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in the book, NutureShock.
3. Help others. Nothing makes you stop thinking about your problems like … thinking about someone else’s. Being of service to others not only helps them – it makes you feel happy that you could make a difference.
4. Smile already. In the blog, 10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed by Science, author Belle Beth Cooper cites research that proves smiling can actually alleviate pain.
“A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts – such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital – improve their mood and withdraw less.”
5. Be Grateful. Even when deadlines loom and sleep is just a fond memory, we have something to be grateful about. It can be easy to focus on the negative (see #2), but acknowledging the things that are going right can go a long toward an attitude adjustment.
So, slap a smile on your face, take a walk and get some sweet, sweet sleep – it will go a long way toward your lifelong happiness. For more about the science behind the suggestions, check out Cooper’s comprehensive blog.