Building Better Habits: Harnessing Happiness
Welcome to LifeSpeak’s total wellbeing guide to building better habits!
Every week in January, this guide will tackle a different area of wellbeing and offer strategies to help you and your employees build the skills to support their continued personal and professional growth.
Healthy life skills are the foundation of a happy life. It would be easy if we could snap our fingers and suddenly have a consistent sleep routine or a nutritious diet. But we can’t. The good news is that forming a new habit isn’t impossible either. With the right support, anyone can do it.
Week 1: Harnessing Happiness
The start of the new year is a great time to focus on raising overall happiness levels. As science proves, happiness helps boost resilience, lower stress, and improve health.
In her LifeSpeak video Introduction to the Science of Wellbeing and Positive Psychology, psychology expert Louisa Jewell references numerous studies correlating optimism with better cardiovascular health.
Studies even show happier people live longer.
Harvard researchers followed people over 70 years and found that happier people were healthier and performed better in their careers and other areas. Happier people have better coping strategies and, in times of stress, are less likely to rely on drugs and alcohol, or other unhealthy activities. In the workplace, happier people are more likely to be perceived as friendly and competent and to persevere longer.
With simple strategies and expert guidance, anyone can improve their happiness levels.
For example, an all-too-common approach to happiness is called the “I’ll be happy when” syndrome. This line of thinking says, “When I get x or accomplish y, then I’ll be happy.” But focusing on positive thinking inverts this paradigm. It uses happiness to promote success rather than relying on success to achieve happiness.
Another way to improve happiness is to improve relationships. A tool Jewell recommends is active constructive responding. This simple tool can be used by anyone when someone comes to them with good news.
Jewell gives the following example: “Your spouse comes to you and says, ‘Oh, I just got this great promotion,’ and you say, ‘Oh my gosh, congratulations! You have worked so hard for this. This is wonderful. So how did they do it? Did they make an announcement? Who was there? What did they do? Oh, we have to go out tonight, and we have to celebrate.’”
Positive thinking and active constructive responding are two easy strategies to boost happiness and become more resilient.
Simple strategies to build better habits in all areas!
Check back here every week for more strategies to build better habits. This guide will tackle mental health, physical wellbeing, family caregiving, and substance use support.
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