My last blog asked if you were happy at work. I listed several reasons as to why we should be interested in increasing our happiness and why organizations should jump on board – quickly.
I received a request for research that would substantiate this claim. My first recommendation is to pick up a copy of the How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, 2007. Penguin Books. Sonja cites tons of research (including her own) and includes 40+ pages of notes. I am so impressed with this book that I created a home study based on it.
The second book is called Positivity. Here is the reference: Barbara Frederickson, PhD. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive, Crown Publishers, New York. Barbara’s research has shown that in order to flourish, we need a positivity ratio of 3 positives to 1 negative. (Even more at work!)
Last week, I came across a news article called, “Don’t worry, be happy – and live longer.” Researchers Ed Diener and Micaela Chan reviewed more than 160 studies on the connection between a positive state of mind and overall health and longevity. They found “clear and compelling evidence” that happier people enjoy better health and longer lives.
Here is the abstract for the article. The reference follows.
Seven types of evidence are reviewed that indicate that high subjective well-being (such as life satisfaction, absence of negative emotions, optimism, and positive emotions) causes better health and longevity. For example, prospective longitudinal studies of normal populations provide evidence that various types of subjective well-being such as positive affect predict health and longevity, controlling for health and socioeconomic status at baseline. Combined with experimental human and animal research, as well as naturalistic studies of changes of subjective well-being and physiological processes over time, the case that subjective well-being influences health and longevity in healthy populations is compelling. However, the claim that subjective well-being lengthens the lives of those with certain diseases such as cancer remains controversial. Positive feelings predict longevity and health beyond negative feelings. However, intensely aroused or manic positive affect may be detrimental to health. Issues such as causality, effect size, types of subjective well-being, and statistical controls are discussed.
Here is the reference: Diener, E. and Chan, M. Y. (2011), Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3: 1–43. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x
Enjoy . . . and be happy.
Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.