Shawn Achor, author of ‘The Happiness Advantage’ has long proclaimed the virtue of positive psychology and it’s impact on ourselves, our co-workers and the organisations we work for.
A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work actually fuels greater success. In fact, 75% of our job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by optimism, social support and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. By researching top performers at Harvard, the world’s largest banks, and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn discovered patterns that created a happiness advantage for certain individuals and this lead to them being the highest performers at their respective companies.
Happiness and optimism have been linked to:
- Increased energy and drive to succeed
- More rapid realisation of goals
- Solution focus resulting in greater productivity
- Higher immunity levels with less time off work on sick leave
- Better working relationships resulting in collaborative success
Our level of optimism and behaviour not only affects our performance, our attitude and our creativity, it is also contagious and can be generated.
Genuinely smile at someone for 7 seconds,
it’s virtually impossible for them not to smile back!
Many controlled experiments have shown being exposed to a person who is continually focusing on obstacles, risks and negatives can create pessimism in others. Just like bush fire, this pessimism can spread quickly, affecting everyone in its path.
Likewise, optimism is also contagious. Happiness is a choice and we can choose to implement strategies to accentuate it. If we can train our brains to focus on the positive, overcome hurdles and obstacles and identify opportunities, we too can benefit from the happiness advantage, and it doesn’t take long!
The following 2-minute strategies can be used to increase your happiness quotient:
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for
- Smile at someone
- Write down a positive experience (this helps to stamp it into your brain)
- Praise someone
- Write down 3 achievements you’re proud of
- Practice mindfulness – be in the moment for 2 minutes
- Send a positive text/tweet/email to someone
- Listen to music that pumps you up
- Have a 30 second dance party
- Focus on a happy memory
Longer-term strategies include:
- Sharing information, advice and views freely
- Focusing on positive intent in yourself and others
- Celebrating successes – milestones and end goals
- Identifying opportunities for social engagement and taking advantage of them
- Demonstrating and encouraging optimistic thinking.
- Building trust by consistently doing what you say and acting for the greater good