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Happiness is a Productivity Booster

Have you ever met someone at work - or in any other setting - who just makes you smile? It might be a virtual smile or a smile from someone right there in your work environment, but smiling and happiness are important.

Happiness is a productivity booster - here are 5 reasons why:

  • Happy people work better with others. Teams thrive with happy team members. Happy people are fun to be around - and research clearly demonstrates that this translates into better relationships between team members and between managers and direct reports. It also translates into more satisfied customers, increased service and increased sales.

  • Happy people are more creative. Teresa Amabile's research reveals that people who are in a good mood are more likely to offer creative ideas on any given day, as well as on the next day (see Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work).

  • Happy people fix problems. When people are happy at work and they run into a snafu, they fix problems instead of complaining about them. Research shows that happiness boosts problem-solving ability. People who are happy set higher goals, do better, persist longer.

  • Happy people have more energy. Happy people tend to be healthier and more energetic. They have a stronger immune system and increased tolerance for pain. Harvard Medical School supports the scientific connection between positive emotions, health and happiness.

  • Happy people are more optimistic. Martin Seligman's work in positive psychology supports the idea that optimistic people are more successful and productive. This optimism is contagious and creates an "upward spiral" that impacts the people around us (see Dr. Barbara Frederickson's research in her book, Positivity).

Here are 5 ideas that come from the research on positivity, happiness and engagement.

  1. Smile. It feels good and research shows that smiling actually changes the way our minds work. When you take your next break - look in the mirror and smile at yourself - and then smile at someone else.

  2. Set goals. Creating better "to do" lists, having a structured calendar and prioritizing your tasks boosts internal feelings of control and creates positive emotion; in turn, this boosts levels of productivity and positive emotion.

  3. Go out of your way to say positive and specific things to others. Offer praise and recognition, offer encouragement and support or just say hello to someone outside of your circle or team. Today’s the day to tell people what you appreciate in them and why.

  4. Heal strained relationships. Every person at one time or another has a strained relationship at work. Strained relationships wear on individuals and teams. Make today the day that you clean the slate and start fresh. Offer a sincere apology or express real interest in a person who is least likely to expect it.

  5. Be kind. Cultivate 5 random acts of kindness each day. You can do this at work or outside of work. The residual impact of the positive emotions that are generated will impact your team and your larger environment.

Cultivating positive emotions and happiness are an important way that we can support the productivity of our teams and our organizations.

Spread some happiness today!

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact for more information on motivational programs.

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