Happiness At Work #38 ~ this week’s highlights

AfH pledge pic v3

Happiness At Work – edition 38

Some of the stories included in the new collection, available from Friday 22nd March…

Here is this week’s new collection of Happiness At Work research, news, stories and practical ideas.

This collection features stories about the celebration of this year’s first ever UN International Day of Happiness on 20th March.

You will see that we have also collected and highlighted a number of videos we think are worth a listen in to.


Headline stories this week are…

International Happiness Day

UN International Day of Happiness, 20th March 2013

Take part in celebrating the first UN International Day of Happiness by doing something at home, work, school or in your community to bring happiness to others. Or join any of our Partner events happening around the world on 20 March 2013.

Happiness Celebrations Aim to Reach 100 Million for UN’s First #HappyDay

“Creating a happier society requires action at all levels—from political leaders and institutions to individuals”

A global #HappyDay celebration, which recognizes acts of generosity, kindness, enthusiasm and connection, is focused on spreading the message of happiness to 100 million people worldwide.

“We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon during a high-level meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York. “Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”

Led by Cheers, the world’s first happiness app, and Action for Happiness, a mass movement to promote happiness, the #HappyDay campaign encourages people across the globe to ACT:

A: Affirm the pledge – make a personal pledge to try to create more happiness in the world. Sign the pledge here: http://dayofhappiness.net/pledge

C: Cheer Happy Heroes – celebrate the people who bring happiness to you and others. http://www.chee.rs/celebration/happy-heroes

T: Take part – do something to mark the day and spread some happiness

Jeffrey Sachs: Happy Happiness Day

Sustained high-level happiness, says Matthieu Ricard, in line with the Buddha’s teachings, arises from compassion, altruism, and giving rather than receiving. This is not just rhetoric, either in Ricard’s own remarkable case or more generally. The power of altruism to promote happiness in the giver has been demonstrated over and over again. Even the neuroscientists have shown it in their clinical experiments.

Why Happiness Should Be a Global Priority

Happiness is a major determinant of the other goals that policy-makers care about. Personal resilience predicts educational performance better than IQ does; and higher wellbeing improves work performance and workers’ earnings. By contrast depression and anxiety account for 40% of underperformance at work, 40% of time off work and 40% of disability. Their overall cost amounts to some 10% of GDP. Greater happiness increases life expectancy; by contrast depression reduces life expectancy as much as smoking does. So happiness is a major contributor to many of our most important social goals.

Got Happiness? First UN International Day of Happiness

Since the 1960s, U.S. GDP per capita has doubled, but average happiness? It hasn’t budged.

Finally, people are starting to pay attention. Noting what a poor guide GDP has been, an international movement is underway to create metrics of progress that incorporate multi-faceted wellbeing. And, it could be game changer, if you consider this finding of the Gallup Millennium World Survey: Polling almost 60,000 people in 60 countries, Gallup ranked ten things that matter most to people. At the top were health, a happy family life, and a job, while “Standard of Living” — what the GDP supposedly captures — was one of the least important.

Nic Marks: Happiness Is A Serious Business

The human life is not just about surviving. It is also about thriving and leading a full life.

Indeed it can be very problematic when we ignore this. Communities that are filled with unhappy unfulfilled people become a breeding ground for social discontent.  The resultant cycle of conflict, crime and insecurity quickly spreads the misery around. Unhappy workplaces can get into similar downward spirals characterised by low productivity, sickness absence and ultimately poor customer service or low quality products.

Geoff Mulgan: Look Hard – Today’s Day of Happiness May Be Historic

One of the virtues of talking about happiness is it quickly brings you back to the everyday details of life. Today is as much about citizens – about us – as it is about the governments that make up the UN. It forces attention to the question of what we can do to improve the wellbeing of the people around us. How can we use simple devices like paying attention to thanking the people around us, taking care to notice nature, or looking after our own health and fitness. Some of these can have surprisingly powerful effects, particularly for people who spend too much of their lives glued to screens, or walking the streets hunched over their smartphones. Again and again in recent years cynical journalists have tried out the simple techniques that scientific research has shown to work in improving happiness, and, despite themselves, have ended up being won over.

Happiness At Work

Henry Stewart: Want a Successful Company? Make Your Staff Happy

What is the secret of business success? Some will focus on creating a truly innovative product, others on strong leadership, some on a great sales team, on negotiating great deals or on in-depth knowledge of finance. But there is increasing evidence that you can get the most effect by simply focusing on making your people happy. With today being the first UN International Day of Happiness, it is a good time to take a closer look at this.

Communication is Critical to Fun at Work & Employee Engagement

Communication Drives Workplace Fun, Employee Engagement, and Job Performance

Research shows that the #1 thing employees say their boss could do to make the work experience more fun is better communication.  This isn’t emails or memos – it’s a desire for dialogue and common understanding.

Let’s face it though, bosses are busy people…The solution?  Call your boss…

How Do You Find the Elusive Happiness At Work? (video)

Is happiness at work important to you? I’m guessing the answer is yes. It probably is very important. After all, we spend so much of our life working. But after a weekend, do you feel excited about going to work on a Monday morning, or does the thought make you feel ill?

Hear Alex Kjerulf’s recent practical talk about why happiness matters so much at work and how do make it more of a constant part of our working lives…

News: Work Is Biggest Cause of Stress in People’s Lives

According to a study of 2000 people conducted by mental health charity Mind, work is the most stressful factor in peoples’ lives, with one in three people (34 percent) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful, above debt or financial problems (30 percent) and health (17 percent)…

But three in five people said that if their employer took action to support the mental wellbeing of all staff, they would feel more loyal, motivated, committed and be likely to recommend their workplace as a good place to work.’


Innovation: Five Keys to Educating th Next Generation of Leaders

The best way to predict the future is to create it. Peter Drucker

Blink  . . .  and ten years pass by.  It’s now 2023.  A brand new generation of business and institutional leaders is taking the reins.  The world has continued to shrink and is much, much smaller.  Technology has continued an unabated, unchecked progression; what is now futuristic has become commonplace.  Complexity is the daily norm, and change the only constant.  Opportunities, problems and grand challenges abound.

Will this new generation of leaders be innovators, or followers?  Strong, resilient problem solvers, or servants of the status quo?  The answer has everything to do with education  . . . or how education is adapted to the realities and wonderful opportunities of the not-too-distant future…

  • Language….
  • Leadership….
  • Authenticity….
  • Breadth….
  • Resilience….

Uplifting Music Can Enhance Cognitive Abilities

New research suggests upbeat or uplifting music (especially the first movement, “Spring” of Antonio Vivaldi’s concerti known as “The Four Seasons”), can enhance attention and memory.

Happiness & Wellbeing

The History of Happiness (video)

Treat yourself to a long luxurious listen in to two of our favourite authors, Darrin McMahon (The Pursuit of Happiness: A History from the Greeks to the Present) and Sissela Bok (Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science) talking to psychologist Dan Gilbert about what we can learn from from the history of happiness thinking.…  (best using headphones because the sound quality comes and goes)

Seeking Greater Happiness?

What makes you happy?

Over the last few years, there have been a lot of fascinating studies done to try to figure out what makes people happy, and how other people can tap into that “happiness factor” for themselves.  If you’re wondering how you could increase your happiness, here are some simple strategies that have been suggested based on research…


Creativity - Maya Angelou

How To Use Conflict To Unlock Creativity

Sudhir Venkatesh asks, “Are you talking a good game on disruption, or are you actively embracing the power of conflict in the creative process?”

The more dangerous the idea, the calmer I present it…“Ok, you care deeply. Great. But you squeeze an egg hard enough and it will break. I find creatives sometimes forget that the client is the one taking the real risk. It’s their money. Your passion needs facts. Anticipate their worries. Prep yourself.” Otis D. Gibson

“Creativity arises when you consciously seek opinions from those who are different.” Shaun Abrahamson

You’ll never do anything creative if you’re not prepared to be wrong.” Sir Ken Robinson


The Pursuit of Happiness

Listen to The Pursuit of Happiness is a team piece performed by the poets of Writers Never Die from Simeon Career Academy…

Steve McCurry’s Blog: The Healer’s Art (photos)

New photos that tell a million stories from the masterful Steve McCurry…


Ways for More Happiness At Work

Most of us spend 40 hours or more each week at work – often spending more time there than we spend with our families. If your workplace causes you significant stress and anxiety, your ability to find happiness will suffer. It’s very hard to be happy if you’re often dealing with stress at work.

If you find that your job brings you significant stress, and you aren’t in a place to look for new work, here are four strategies you can try that will make work more fun:

  • A Job Can Be Just A Job….
  • Make Stress A Game….
  • Create Work Fun and Events….
  • Plan Events Before and After Work…

How To Be More Optimistic at Work

Studies show optimists experience significantly less stress, less depression, and heal faster than pessimists,” notes Dr. Nelson. “Not only that, but optimists outperform their own abilities. You may be good at something, but if you’re an optimist, you’ll be better at it. No matter what you undertake, you’ll experience more success and joy by the simple decision to become an optimist.”

So how can you become more optimistic at work in 2013?

Sleep consolidates memories for competing tasks

Sleep plays an important role in the brain’s ability to consolidate learning when two new potentially competing tasks are learned in the same day, research at the University of Chicago demonstrates. Other studies have shown that sleep consolidates learning for a new task. The new study, which measured starlings’ ability to recognize new songs, shows that learning a second task can undermine the performance of a previously learned task. But this study is the first to show that a good night’s sleep helps the brain retain both new memories.


Why Neuroscience SHOULD Change the Way We Manage People

In the last fifteen years, there has been unremitting neurological research which reveals fundamental insights about how we humans function.  This information is not arbitrary – it’s factual.  These studies impact everything about how we structure work. They show how brain functions affect perception, emotion and conscious thought.

While the growing  body of neuroscience  must stand the scrutiny of further research, we can begin to see applications in the workplace. The following are the BIG FIVE ideas that should change the way we manage people, with implications for all management practices:

  • Managing Expectations.…
  • Emotional Contagion Is Real….
  • Suppressing Emotions Costs….
  • Creativity Needs Cultivation….
  • Learning Mindfulness….

Praise vs. Criticism: what’s the right amount to give employees?

Research reported in Harvard Business Review’s blog measured the “effectiveness” of strategic business unit leadership teams using the “financial performance, customer satisfaction ratings, and 360-degree feedback ratings of the team members.”

The number one determing factor between the least successful teams and the most successful? – the ratio of positive comments to negative comments.

From the research:

“The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 (that is, nearly six positive comments for every negative one). The medium-performance teams averaged 1.9 (almost twice as many positive comments than negative ones.) But the average for the low-performing teams, at 0.36 to 1, was almost three negative comments for every positive one.”


What’s Your True Definition of Success?

Don’t let other people determine how you think about success. Define it for yourself.

Entrepreneurs really don’t like to make it to the goal, because once we do we are looking for the next climb. All too often we focus too much on “making it” and don’t take the time to enjoy the journey. It’s in the journey and the creation that an entrepreneur is truly the happiest. This we must all be reminded of often.

8 Ways To Nip Procrastination in the Bud

Putting things off is career hampering, stressful and bad for your health. Here’s how to get working:

  • Change your scenery
  • Don’t expect perfection
  • Quit waffling between projects.
  • Tell someone you respect when you’ll finish

When Your Beliefs Hold You Back: Release Them To Avoid Regret

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~lan Watts   

Plus many more…

Enjoy and enjoy our first March week of the year.


Click here to go to the latest Happiness At Work collection:

Mark Trezona & Martyn Duffy

BridgeBuilders STG Limited

… helping people to be happier at work, to thrive on change and to inspire the people around them …


We hope you enjoy these collections and we wish you success and happiness with all that you are making and making happen…

Happiness At Work is a weekly collection of the best ideas, stories, links, tools & techniques for improving Happiness & Wellbeing At Work for Individuals, Leaders and Organisations, curated by BridgeBuilders STG Limited 

The collection is refreshed with new stories every Friday, and we welcome any suggestions of links you would like to see included in new collections.

This means that this same Happiness At Work link will always connect you to the latest collection.

The stories all remain permanently in this site, and you can see links in previous collections at any time by clicking on the Archives menu in the top left of the screen, and choosing an earlier Friday back to the first edition published 6th July 2012.

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