Like many of us, you might think success or attaining a goal will lead to happiness – once I earn more money, or get that job or promotion then I will feel happier.
But research into the science of happiness shows the opposite is often the case – that how happy you are can have a direct impact on your success.
Harvard happiness science researcher Shawn Achor calls this the “Happiness Advantage” – which essentially says your brain works better when you’re happier and more positive compared to when you are in a depressed or neutral state. This can in turn lead to higher workplace productivity, better engagement, greater resilience to stress and improved health.
Achor also says 90% of our long-term happiness comes not from the external world but from how we use our brains to process our reality.
How we can be happier
Achor recommends some daily practices to improve internal happiness. These include positive journaling, mindful cardio exercise, two-minute meditations and random but conscious acts of kindness or thankfulness.
The theory goes that as these actions become habits, your levels of happiness will increase. This includes not only beating depression so that you shift to a ‘neutral’ level but rather moving into the positive side of the equation.
What workplaces can do
Workplaces can also help raise happiness among staff by cultivating positive work environments. This might include fostering connectivity, encouraging empathy, offering authentic praise and recognition, practising positive leadership, and educating workers in happiness.