Want to be happy? Live near a park. Researchers at the University of Exeter found that people living in greener areas were consistently more satisfied, and experienced less distress.
A nationally representative scientific sample of over 19,000 married and divorced people found that almost 35% of couples who married between 2005 and 2012 originally met each other online. The couples who met online were less likely to divorce, even after controlling for age, education, income, and race. Meeting over the web was also independently correlated with higher levels of marital satisfaction.
Interestingly, it matters where a couple first meets: in the wholesome, well-lit hotel ballrooms of Match.com and eHarmony? The banal, crowded corridors of Facebook?
This study says a lot about the different kinds of “neighborhoods” that people frequent online. Read more
[Image: Flickr user Patrik Jones]
“It was not just that they were taking the same job and feeling better about it, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and whistling. It was that they were DOING a different job … one said ‘I’m a healer. I create sterile spaces in the hospital. My role here is to do everything I can to promote the healing of the patients.’”
A Yale professor interviewed a group of hospital janitors about their job. Many of the workers griped about their responsibilities, but another group described the same job in completely different, completely positive terms. Amy Wrzesniewski calls this "job crafting": Creating the work you want to do out of the work you’re assigned to do
Yup, this writer’s theory is confirmed- chocolate is so good for you that it’s practically a vegetable (and red wine is pretty much fruit…).
[Image: Flickr user John Loo]
You’ve probably heard that a happy employee is a productive one who can boost the bottom line. But just how much?
Here are some numbers:
- 33% higher profitability (Gallup)
- 43% more productivity (Hay Group)
- 37% higher sales (Shawn Achor)
- 300% more innovation (HBR)
- 51% lower turnover (Gallup)
- 50% less safety incidents (Babcock Marine Clyde)
- 66% decrease in sick leave (Forbes)
- 125% less burnout (HBR)
Here, some tips for staying happy at work
How Coca-Cola Used Vending Machines To Try To Unite The People Of India And Pakistan
Relations between India and Pakistan are marked by many things—and happiness is generally not one of them. But Coca-Cola recently brought people from both nations together—or at least brought citizens of both countries face to face—over vending machines.
No ordinary vending machines, the Small World Machines, created by Coke and Leo Burnett, were equipped with full-length webcams that allowed participants to see each other and interact in real time. They were placed in malls—one in Lahore, Pakistan, the other in New Dehli, India—in March.
As part of its larger mission to associate its product with happiness
“Coke has always been a brand that’s about positivity and optimism, and we’re always talking about how we can provoke just a little bit more happiness in the world, and increasingly we’ve tried to create experiences to actually bring people together in intimate moments of connectivity,” Jantos Tulloch says.
“Telling this story through the lens of India and Pakistan really came from our team on the ground there who knows better than anyone that the people really want more positive connection and more positive communication between them.”
Why The Happiest People Have The Hardest Jobs
"The happiest people I know are dedicated to dealing with the most difficult problems," Rosabeth Moss Kanter writes for HBR. Whether reversing schools’ struggles, making unsafe water potable, or helping the terminally ill, “they face the seemingly worst of the world with a conviction that they can do something about it and serve others.”
Kanter pulls in a number of anecdotes, including that of her friend, the Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Goodman. Upset by the care her dying mother received, Goodman left her syndicated columnist gig to start The Conversation Project, which aims to get every family to talk about death and end-of-life care. While Kanter doesn’t quote Goodman in the piece, we can infer that Goodman is doing emotionally fulfilling work—which, as positive psychology tells us, is a key to enduring happiness, as opposed to the fleeting nature of pleasure.
A meaningful, happiness-generating career, then, will include a sense of engagement—or even devotion—to the work one does. And while engagement is a predictor of success on a global level, less than half of American workers have it.
Money isn’t what motivates these high achievers, Kanter writes; instead, engaged people pursue mastery, membership, and meaning. Money was a distant fourth.
Let’s be clear: money matters plenty—if you don’t have enough to feel secure, you’llact like an alligator. But as research suggests, once you clear the income thresholds of $50,000 to $70,000 a year, the cash-to-happiness correlation levels off).
"Money acted as a scorecard, but it did not get people up-and-at ‘em for the daily work," Kanter observes, "nor did it help people go home every day with a feeling of fulfillment."
But fulfillment doesn’t have hockey-stick growth. Kanter talks about the corps members of City Year who are working with at-risk students and seeing improvements and problems come in waves. But progress “isn’t linear,” she says—it may only be apparent after many long days, like when a D student raises his hand.
So, in our work, we need to be mindful of cultivating mastery of our skills, give our people a sense of membership, and look for where we can find meaning from what we’re doing.
"It’s as though we all have two jobs," Kanter says, "our immediate tasks and the chance to make a difference."
[Image: Flickr user Bob Vonderau]
Forget GDP: The Social Progress Index Measures National Well-Being
This new index tracks everything from opportunity to health to sustainability.
For many years, the powers that be thought that economic indicators were the ultimate measure of a country’s wellbeing. That’s starting to change. As we have discussed before, the general happiness of a country doesn’t always correlate with its wealth.
In fact, economic indicators don’t match up with a number of important indicators about well-being.
Hence the Social Progress Index, an initiative from The Social Progress Imperative and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter that examines how 50 countries perform on 52 indicators related to basic human needs, the foundations of well-being, and opportunity.
The top country: Sweden. The U.S. doesn’t even rank in the top five…
How One Company Taught It’s Employees To Be Happier And What Happened Next
Media agency MEC offered a happiness workshop to a group of workers in its Manhattan office. Co.Create looks at the thinking behind the effort and the results.
- Happy employees don’t stay in one role for too long. Movement and the perception of improvement create satisfaction. Status quo, on the other hand, creates burnout.
- There is a strong correlation between happiness and meaning; having a meaningful impact on the world around you is actually a better predictor of happiness than many other things you think will make you happy.
- A workplace is far likelier to be a happy place when policies are in place to ensure that people regularly get acknowledgement and praise for a job well done.
- Recognize that employees are people first, workers second, and create policies that focus on their well-being as individuals.
- Emphasize work/life integration, not necessarily “balance.”
Is your company a happy company? If so, why?
Fast Company and Workplace Happiness:
- How To Make Your Employees Happier
- The Corporate Pursuit of Happiness
- The Formula for Creating Happiness at Work
- The Sharp Drop-Off In Worker Happiness—And What Your Company Can Do About It
[Image by the Minimalists.com][Post by M.Cecelia Bittner]
“Being able to be truly happy at work is one of the keys to being happy in life.”
These skyscrapers are designed to make you happy if you work in them.
“Unemployment obviously reduces happiness, but not because of what you may think. It’s not the loss of income, but the loss of things like self-esteem and workplace social life that lead to a drop in happiness. High unemployment rates can trigger unhappiness even in the employed, who suddenly become fearful of losing their jobs. According to the study, even low quality jobs yield more satisfaction than being unemployed.”
“people are much more productive and healthy when they can connect their values with their work.”