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Happiness is the Healthiest Medicine

Happiness is the healthiest medicine...

Because while sometimes it may be dismissed as a ‘fluffy’ concept that has little to do with productivity and success, happiness is actually an important factor in everyday life, and plays a significant part in home-life and worklife relations. Here we look particularly how happiness leads to healthy staff in the workplace.

Happy people are productive people

We all know that happy people tend to be more pleasant to be around than their more downcast counterparts. But did you know that happier people may also be more productive?

University studies have been conducted, and noted that that watching a happy film clip increased productivity. Those who were shown a positive film clip before completing workplace tasks were 11% more productive than people who were shown a neutral film clip.

Happy people are also more creative, according to Professor Theresa Amabile:

“There seems to be a cognitive process that gets set up when people are feeling good that leads to more flexible, fluent, and original thinking, and there’s actually a carryover, an incubation effect, to the next day.”

Companies with happy employees are more profitable

Another study conducted by a Business School showed that companies with high levels of employee happiness tended to consistently outperform their local competitors. Such research has shown that higher employee engagement correlated with 22% higher profitability.

Happy people are healthier

Happiness can actually make you healthier. For the workforce that means fewer sick days and more productive work. The most worrying statistics of late are that 17% of the UK population have a mental health condition at any one time, and 15.2 million days of sickness absence are being taken in the UK, due to mental health. Recent figures demonstrate that mental health costs the UK economy over £70 billion per year, and the cost to employers is over £26 billion.

The average private sector employee takes 6.4 sick days per year. This figure is 9.1 within the public sector, and the average cost to the NHS is £1000 per employee per year, if you multiply that by 17% of the primary care workforce costs £2.97 million per year.

This review of over 160 studies showed that there is a link between happiness and better health and longer lives. Happy people are 50% less likely to catch a cold virus or suffer a cardiovascular illness. A 5% increase in staff working in positive teams is associated with a 3.3% drop in the mortality rate (around 40 deaths a year in an average acute hospital). The link between staff satisfaction and mortality rates held true for both non-clinical and clinical staff, with the strongest correlation among nursing staff.

Happiness enhances leadership style

An analysis of 25 different studies showed that positivity was a key factor in successful leadership. One of the findings was that happy people tend to demonstrate a transformational leadership style. Transformational leadership was first introduced as a concept by James McGregor Burns in his 1978 book, Leadership.

Transformational leaders inspire and encourage others. They excel at motivating their teams and make great mentors. They have a great sense of fairness, and while they have high expectations, they provide support and recognition for achieving those expectations.

Happiness starts with you.

Happiness is contagious. It’s hard to be around a consistently positive person and not feel more uplifted. When you as a leader are happy, it has a positive impact on your teams.

Happiness is a state; and it’s not long lasting. One moment you might rate your happiness as high on a scale of 1-10; the next you might rate it as low. Happiness is about letting go of the things in the past that inhibit you living in the present and progressing in the future. It is about accepting, reflecting, compromising, all of these are with yourself and your own thoughts.

One thing I’ve found with coaching clients, is that understanding your personal values and strengths can help you discover what energises you and makes you feel happy.  Some simple techniques that may help one to feel happier are:

  • Exercise, releasing endorphins "happy hormones", plus the feeling of achieving fitness, wellness, or even body shape change, can enhance the feelings of happiness.

  • Regular self-reflection, be your own critic, look at situations, and challenge the moments where your inner chimp won the battle of the brain.

  • Meditation, listening to calming sounds, sitting in a quiet place, yoga

  • Journaling, writing what it is daily that you are happy and keeping a gratitude diary

  • Practising gratitude, so offering praise and thanks to others for their commitment and performance

  • Making time for self-care, start by enjoying your own company, your own space, your own time to indulge yourself in creative thinking, try learning something new.

Your happiness starts with you

But there are lots of ways a coach or mentor can help you improve your happiness levels, I personally have a professional career coach, and she has been instrumental in facilitating a safe, comfortable, and open environment with the right level of questioning which allowed for me to reflect clearly, and resulted in me taking some bold and brave decisions because it mattered to my wellbeing and my happiness

Are you ready to take charge of your happiness and want to start feeling more confident, enhance your focus, and re-ignite the energy that’s been lacking for you at work?

You can book a session with me: