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Happiness is a Direction
Not a Destination

A Revolutionary Idea

A new truth promises to revolutionize how you live and work: You’re entitled to be happy. Right now. You don’t have to wait. In fact, you shouldn’t delay.

The Secret

It’s a truth revealed by an ever-expanding body of scientific research. It’s a truth that exposes the secret to both individual and organizational success: happiness. Yes, happiness. It’s a revolutionary discovery that counters conventional wisdom. Happiness doesn’t depend on achieving certain arbitrary milestones like wealth or status or awards or job titles. In fact, the opposite is true. Happiness is an ongoing state of mind, a way of thinking necessary for sustained success.

It’s In Your Hands (Your Brain Really)

The idea is powerfully simple. Most successful people and organizations put happiness first, realizing that only then will success follow. But attaining true happiness isn’t quite so simple. First you, quite literally, must change your mind.

 

The good news: it’s all within your control. Cutting-edge neuroscientific research confirms that we all possess the ability to wire and rewire our brains for happiness.

Meet Dr. Jay Kumar

That’s the powerful—and empowering—idea behind our company. We share a variety of tools, techniques and insights for tapping this remarkable reservoir of human potential.

The Latest

Business people at a presentation, clappingGratitude has been defined as a warmly or deeply appreciative attitude for kindnesses or benefits received. But gratitude is not just a “feel good” emotion when it comes to work life. It can benefit a company in many ways. When an employee believes his or her superiors are grateful for his or her work, the employee will benefit by having an improved sense of worth to the organization. This improved sense of worth can lead to performance improvement, thereby benefiting the organization.

Grateful behavior can facilitate positive interpersonal and community relationships that may in turn influence other key outcomes. Effectively applied in the workplace, for instance, gratitude may positively impact such factors as job satisfaction, loyalty, and citizenship behavior, while reducing employee turnover and increasing organizational profitability and productivity.

Grateful individuals report higher levels of life satisfaction and optimism and greater energy and connections with other people. Here are few strategies for expressing gratitude to help you get ahead at work.

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Thanksgiving quoteScientists now recognize that gratitude is one of the most powerful and healthiest of human emotions. Studies at University of Miami, UC Davis, and other universities successfully demonstrate that remembering to be grateful for what we have in life can greatly outweigh any sadness, stress, or challenges we might currently experience. In fact, new studies of the brain from neuropsychology show that gratitude is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to experience overall wellbeing.

So, how exactly does gratitude make us happy and healthy?

A 2009 study by the National Institutes of Health placed participants in fMRI machines to measure blood flow in the brain. The volunteers were told to engender feelings of gratitude. Those participants who felt the emotion of gratitude experienced more activity in the brain’s hypothalamus than those in the test group who did not. An active hypothalamus is helpful since it regulates sleep, digestion and metabolism. More importantly, the study concluded that people who regularly express gratitude are less susceptible to anxiety and stress.

Gratitude also has a powerful social benefit. It helps us to feel more connected to others. Just saying the simple words “Thank you” can lift us out of our own individual concerns and serve to remind us of the joy and happiness that others bring to in our life. Expressing gratitude not only benefits the recipient of our appreciation, but oneself.

However you choose to celebrate this Thanksgiving holidays, remember to give thanks and cultivate an attitude of gratitude for all the abundance in your life!

To learn more about the powerful healing benefits of gratitude and practical tools for developing greater health and happiness, please enjoy my e-book The Five Secrets for Achieving Authentic Health and Happiness.

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Unlocking your mindMany emerging studies have made one thing very clear;  the human brain is a social organ.  Its neurological and physiological responses are directly and profoundly influenced by social interaction.

Most of us experience work as an economic transaction where we exchange labor for financial compensation. The brain, however, experiences the workplace as a social system. The five social qualities that are required to minimize dysfunction in the workplace are: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness.

1) Status – status does not have to directly relate to title or income.  For example, the perception of status increases when people are simply given praise.
2) Certainty – people crave certainty.  Not knowing what will happen next can be profoundly debilitating because it requires extra neural energy.
3) Autonomy – when an employee experiences a lack of control, the perception of uncertainty is aroused.
4) Relatedness – the human threat response is aroused when people feel rejected, or cut off from social interaction.
5) Fairness – the perception that an event has been unfair generates a strong response in the brain, stirring hostility and undermining trust.

People who feel betrayed or unrecognized at work such as when any of the five social qualities are threatened  — will experience these things as a neural impulse. Not only does the employee’s brain become much less efficient, the ensuing reaction is usually to internalize feelings, and consequently limit commitment and engagement at work. They become purely transactional employees, reluctant to give more to the company.

Leaders who have the ability to intentionally address the social brain in the service of optimal performance will be able to create an environment that supports collaboration, fosters productive change, and effectively engages an employee’s individual talents.

Read more on the social brain at work.

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Postcard.jpgIf you’re looking to manage stress and benefit from greater happiness at work, school, or home, click on the image to discover five proven, science-based tools that can help you start tuning in to and boosting your brain’s built-in “H-spot”.

What exactly is your H-spot?  It’s an area in your brain known as the left pre-frontal cortex—located just above the left eye—that brain research suggests is the locus of happiness.

Whether you call it happiness, wellbeing, or engagement, it’s affirming to know that science research supports how we all are capable of developing these empowering qualities. Learn more about your H-spot and the unharnessed potential of the brain in Dr. Jay’s e-book  “Five Secrets for Achieving Authentic Health & Happiness.

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Pleasure Fades Happiness Endures

“Pleasure has a limited shelf life; happiness has no expiration date.” (Click to Tweet)

It might be surprising to discover that science now affirms — the quest for authentic happiness begins within.

While pleasure comes and goes, happiness is a feeling that is long lasting. Think of happiness as an emotional and spiritual quality while pleasure is physical and sensory.  Too often, TV, film and glossy magazines present happiness as leading the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Of course, one only need watch an episode of the “Real Housewives” to witness that purchasing a sports car, designer gown or mansion does not guarantee happiness!

So why do so many of us seek pleasure over happiness? It’s what our society tells us to do.  We are bombarded with commercials, billboards and movies that reinforce the falsehood that money and materialism will make us happy.  Consumer culture and conspicuous consumption may boost the economy, but it doesn’t boost our happiness.

Happiness can certainly be influenced by external situations and circumstances in our life: a beautiful home, a good education or a loving family, but genuine, “absolute” happiness can flourish within us independently of any of these. Pleasure, on the other hand, is entirely dependent on a specific experience, at a specific time and specific place.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying pleasure. It is wired into our biology. The problem happens when seeking pleasure becomes a way of life. Too often our search for pleasure is a form of escapism, a coping mechanism or addiction that eventually sabotages our happiness.

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Full open suitcase on tropical beach backgroundA very real phenomenon taking place in North America is “vacation aversion”. A study from Acadia University on people’s relationship with their work has found that the main reasons people aren’t taking all of their vacation days is because they don’t want to appear replaceable, they dread the pile of work awaiting them when they return, and they feel no one else can do what they do at the office. These people suffer from what the researchers called a “work martyr complex”, believing that they’re the only ones who can do their jobs. Compounding workers’ fear of taking time off is the perception, based on America’s work culture, that being away from work means we’re bad employees.

We’re not using our paid time off. In fact, we’re leaving 429 million days of time off unused each year, and it’s detrimental to our personal health, business productivity and the American economy. This unused leave costs the U.S. economy $160 billion in spending—$67 billion in direct travel spending—that could support 1.2 million jobs across industries.

It’s time for a cultural shift in how Americans view time off—not as frivolous, but essential to strengthening families and improving personal health, a business investment with proven returns and an economic necessity.  Companies that encourage their workers to take paid time off  have happier, healthier, and more productive employees.

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Multitasking businessmanWe are living in an age of unprecedented opportunity and temptation to multitask. While we may think that we are being more effective and efficient, the opposite is true. It has been scientifically demonstrated that when focused on a single task, the right and left sides of the prefrontal cortex area of the brain work together to coordinate messages with other brain systems. Studies suggest that when you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.  In addition, multitasking lowers your IQ, reduces brain density. Multitaskers are in fact, slower at switching from one task to another and  have more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information. To improve productivity, slowing down and rediscovering the power to focus on one thing at a time may be the best thing you can do for your career and your brain!

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Smiling male chef with cooked food in kitchen “The road to success all begins  by changing the direction of your thoughts.”  (Click to Tweet) 

Over 100,00 employees participated in a study which had them review ten job factors, including “relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and control over the work one does on a daily basis” to determine which jobs were ranked as happiest.  The results were quite surprising.  The top five “happiest” jobs all had these three elements in common.

 

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Quote of the Week

“No external conditions are required for happiness. Happiness is who you are!” —Dr. Jay Kumar