What Constitutes Happiness?

What is happiness? Is it qualitative? Can we quantify it? It’s something we all seek, but not all of us know how to achieve it. However, we all know it’s something that makes a world of difference in the quality of our relationships in all areas of life. See some quotes about happiness from scholars and a former President:

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Earnest Hemingway

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination” Mark Twain

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Abe Lincoln

Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher, brought my view of happiness into a new light recently in a TED talk I stumbled upon from 2011. He discussed happiness in a new light- a light that compared happiness to production and success at work.

Our current model of happiness, according to Dr. Achor, revolves around working harder to be more successful, and the more successful you are, the happier you’ll be. Unfortunately, this math does not add up. He points out the problem with this model is that our targets for success always change- once we successfully reach one goal, we automatically change our goals and set new ones. It’s like a moving target- we can hit it, but the same shot won’t strike it again.

Dr Achor continues to point out that our brains are actually wired to work exactly opposite of our current business model views. The correct model, according to Dr. Achor is below:

****Happiness EQUALS significantly improved output and production
****Significant output and production DOES NOT EQUAL happiness

His advice for helping us achieve this happiness is 5 steps:

  1. Write down 3 positive things you’re thankful for each day
  2. Keep a journal or diary to relive happy moments each day
  3. Meditate
  4. Exercise
  5. Perform random acts of kindness

Can we apply this to our teams and ourselves to help give these quotes at the top a boot to the curb? Lets work together as a team of patients and therapists to make a great, happy environment and promote a happy, healthy lifestyle!

References: Shawn Achor Happiness TED Talk

Teaching you today what you need to know tomorrow!

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