So what do Albert Einstein, Paul McCartney and Emile Brontë all share in common? They all recognized the power of a creative mind and the importance of regular downtime. Many of the greatest achievements known to humankind from the Theory of Relativity to the greatest pieces of literature appear to have been Delivered in a Daydream. So how can letting our minds meander benefit us at school, work or on the field? More research on the brain affirms how regular afternoon naps, walks in the park or mini-meditations enhance productivity, boost concentration and augment memory. Enjoy these helpful tips on how your brain benefits from more fun and play in our popular blog series in the Huffington Post.
A growing body of research now believes the powerful idea that because humans evolved in nature our brains must also be wired to connect with nature. Do you ever wonder why spas, yoga studios and online meditation videos often play sounds of chirping birds, ocean waves, or soothing rain? It has to do with the remarkable concept that our brains are “naturally” happy and thrive in the great outdoors.
Alarming statistics indicate that American kids on average spend more time in front of a TV or computer screen (1,023 hours per year) than they do learning in school (900 hours per year). The situation has become so dire that researcher and author Louv has appropriately coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” to capture the seriousness of the problem.
It is a curious sign of our times that even as young people are more adept in using Facebook, Twitter and the Internet than their parents or older relatives, they are also becoming more dependent on that very same technology to the point of social isolation.
As our world becomes more connected via technology, we’re increasingly disconnected from people and our planet. We now live in an overconnected world where cell phones, the Internet, text messages, emails, tweets and broadcast media bombard us and consume our lives.
Research on brain and behavior concludes that we find greater happiness and joy in sharing experiences with others rather than receiving things. This groundbreaking research shows that our brain is a social organ. In other words, it’s designed to connect us with other humans.
Personal connections can serve as an antidote for many of the ills modern societies face, including isolation and entrenchment in ideas and habits. So, let’s make 2015 the Year of Connection!
Happiness can be measured not only at a company level but a country level, and as everyone in business knows, you manage what you measure. National leaders and Economists are increasingly talking about measuring a country’s status with other metrics – even an airy concept like “happiness.”
Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK caused quite a stir in recent years by unveiling plans to measure national well-being by creating a National Happiness Index to provide quarterly measures of how people feel.
Many things of value in life cannot be fully captured by GDP, but they can be measured by metrics of health, education, political freedom, and such. So although the replacing-GDP discussion may seem a little abstract, its growing credibility in important circles could give it a real impact on economic policy. Boardrooms across the globe are also making efforts to use new metrics to measure overall success. So it would seem the concept of “Happynomics” is something worth exploring.
Emerging research from neuroscience, psychology, and economics makes the link between a thriving workforce and better business performance absolutely clear. The bottom line is – a company with a happy workforce is a motivated workforce, which drives profits and company success. Not only does happiness breed loyalty to the company, an individual’s happiness at work will create happiness throughout all areas of their life.
An annual review on employee happiness and satisfaction shows that the most content workers in the U.S credit their happiness to 10 key factors. Work-life balance ranks highest, along with one’s relationship with boss and co-workers, the work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and job control over daily work.
Find out who the movers and shakers are on the list of America’s top 50 happiest companies honoring the top companies – as voted for by their own employees – dedicated to creating happier work environments.
Research indicates that in general, people are made happier by spending money with the intention of acquiring life experiences than by spending money with the intention of acquiring material possessions. What does that mean, exactly? The material possession, in other words, seems like a better investment. But when it comes to increasing our happiness and sense of well-being, research suggests just the opposite.
According to a growing body of social science research, the best way to increase the enjoyment, satisfaction and general happiness of your loved ones (not to mention office mates) is to give them real-life experiences. All you need is a reasonable sense of what your intended gift recipients like (or might like) to do with their time. Depending on the gift-receiver in question, it could mean almost any kind of in-person activity, adventure, or escapade, from concert tickets to restaurant meals, from guitar or cooking lessons to museum or amusement park passes, from rafting trips to factory tours to island getaways. “The happiness we get from our experiences give us more enduring pleasure.”
So before you rush out to the mall to purchase the latest electronic gadget for the kids, or a new sweater for your great aunt, consider giving an experiential gift. Even better if you are able to participate in the experience with your loved one!
Gratitude 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.
Scientists 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.