Did you know that there is actually a day dedicated to happiness? March 20th is World Happiness Day.
A lot of us work hard in the pursuit of happiness. We think that being successful and doing really well in our job can make us happy. However positive psychology suggests that the opposite might be true. If you are happy you are more likely to do a better job and be successful and productive.
Let’s look at why this is…
Happiness produces physiological changes. Certain areas of the brain are more active in functioning. A neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the body that makes you feel good. There is a lower level of cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for us feeling stress, so you feel less pressured as well.
You can think clearly: When you’re happy, you feel relaxed and you are in a good mood. You are able to think more clearly and come up with creative ideas to handle your work.
You are less worried about making mistakes: You feel less pressured and so make less mistakes. If you do make an error, you simply take responsibility for it, look at ways of fixing it and learn from them.
You have more confident and positive thoughts: There is less unnecessary fear and anxiety coming from negative thoughts like, “I cannot do this, I am going to make a mistake, etc”. Because you are less stressed, you do not function from fear and panic. You have more optimistic thoughts and are hopeful about the outcomes and your future.
You have good work relationships: You work well with your team simply because happy people are more fun to be around.
You feel more capable and energetic: Your immune system works better. You are less likely to fall sick and are more energetic to handle a busy day.
There is a clear link between happiness and productivity. It might work both ways, but either ways, happiness works best!
According to Positive psychologist Martin Seligman, there is a distinction between immediate happiness and long term happiness.
Immediate happiness that comes from things that gives an immediate boost and makes us feel good instantly, like appreciation, constructive feedback, a good conversation with people at work, a nice cup of coffee, a job well done, friendly colleagues, doing a little exercise etc.
Long term happiness includes a feeling of contentment and fulfillment in life. Having positive feelings about our past and our future as well as doing things that make our life meaningful and purposeful.
Seligman suggests that we can choose to be happy. You can increase your level of daily happiness by identifying your strengths and using it every day in the main areas of your work and life.
If there is something coming in the way of your happiness, you might find it helpful to discuss it with a counselor.