HR iNfoPost: Why happiness in the workplace matters …


The UN compose and issue a ‘world happiness index’ every year, and the UK measure ‘national happiness’ for economic indicators and strategies, while other countries and international organisations, from China to the OECD, are piloting their own well being measurement systems. Why? The old ways of measuring a country’s ‘health’ by GDP are outdated. It is now an accepted science that economic outcomes are inextricably linked to the well being of citizens.

And so the same model follows in the workplace – psychological health and well being is no longer an occasional HR issue. Your organisational well being is inextricably linked with with the psychological well being of your employees, and the culture and behaviours that their well being engender.

If you were to measure happiness in your organisation do you think you would be in the premier division? Happiness is the new productivity – not off in the future, but now, today, through practical and immediate skills.

For your information: I’ve been a little magpie on Tedx for you, selecting accessible quotes from the world’s leaders in the field of the science of positive psychology training and it’s benefits.  Enjoy….

martinseligmanMartin Seligman: the leading academic known as ‘the father of the positive psychology movement’ says that we can learn skills to be happy. The following is adapted from a Ted presentation:

“We can build well being, it’s not like psychotherapy for ‘what’s wrong’. It’s a theory of positive emotion. It’s not a ‘disease model’, it’s not about being sick or having a disorder, it’s about being happy. It’s for everybody.

For 60 years the study of psychology worked within the ‘disease model’ – ‘What’s wrong with you? Move away from the loony’. This new model has been developed as a science – what works to make human beings happy?

The old model created victimology (learned helplessness, it’s ‘being done to you’), and pathologised life. We forgot about improving ‘normal’ lives too, not just helping people in trouble and repairing damage.

Positive psychology is about interventions to make people happy, so being preventative of disease – building strength, making life fulfilling – not about ‘smiliness’, but about absorbtion. How do extremely happy people differ? They’re extremely social, they have engagement, have meaning outside of yourself, being part of something.”

shawnachorShawn Achor, the young psychology rock star from Harvard, and founder of The Institute for Applied Positive Research – says that science proves our brains perform better when in positive mode. The science proves that every business outcome improves – we have higher intelligence, creativity, and energy.

The following are Achor quotes from his most viewed Ted talk:

“Job success is 25% IQ, and 75% attitude – successful people have optimism and good social support, and understand and view stress as a challenge and not a threat.

… 90% of your long term happiness is predicted not by your external world, but by how your brain processes your world – it is not necessarily reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality.

… Dopamine turns on learning centres in the brain so that you can adapt to the world in a different way, rewire – the optimistic are more successful. Scan for positives first? Exercise teaches your brain to do that.

… Wellness training is NOT about depression, that’s ‘sickness training’, absence of disease and disorder is not ‘health’.

… Did you know that your brain is 31% more productive in positive mode than in neutral/negative/stressed mode? That you are 37% better at sales when your brain is in positive mode? That doctors are 19% faster and more accurate at diagnoses when in positive mode?”

…………………………………………….  t e d   t a l k s   —  m i n d  a n d  b o d y ……………….

tedxRory Sutherland, Ogilvy: Tedx Athens – The key to happiness? “The power of reframing cannot be overstated. Perspective is everything.”

Ilona Boniwell: PHD psychologist and founder of the European Network of Positive Psychology – Tedx – “it’s about learning to think, to consider evidence, to see reality. Depression is on the rise, we need to learn the skills of happiness and emotional resilience, and it can be learned.”

Alison Ledgerwood, Social Psychologist University of California: Tedx UCDavis on Getting Stuck in the Negatives and How to Get Unstuck: says we need skills to discover ‘how we think, and how to think better’.

Kelly McGonigle, psychologist Stanford University, Tedx Edinburgh – on the ‘new science of stress’ – “How you think of it matters, be better at stress. How you think and act changes your stress response, and creates resilience.

Scott Geller, Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, Tedx Virginia – on ‘motivation and empowerment’ and advice to managers on employee confidence: “give positive feedback and recognition – or your employees will be ‘failure avoiders’ (with negative reinforcement). Make them success seekers instead… It’s all in how you see it. How you communicate with yourselves and with others.”

See below an adapted extract from the foundation:

actionforhappinesslogoWHY HAPPINESS AT WORK MATTERS
(actionforhappiness is a new movement led by titans of academia and industry):

Our happiness and work are related. Emotions are part of being human and we don’t leave them at home when we go to work. We will all experience a range of different positive and negative emotions over the course of very single working day. Science is showing us that positive emotions are important, not just for how happy we feel. They can actually increase our capacity to generate ideas, increase the ways available to us to take action, and help build intellectual and social resources. They can also have an undoing effect on the impact of negative emotions.

Research shows that happier workers are more liked by their colleagues and co-workers, earn more money, are seen as performing better and as having more fresh ideas than their less happy colleagues. They stay with their employers for longer, are more likely to contribute beyond the requirements of their job and help out colleagues, have fewer sick days and are more punctual. And happy employees also help to make organisations more successful.

And it doesn’t stop there. Our psychological well-being can impact on our physical health, which again can impact our ability to perform at work. And our happiness spreads to others – within work, at home and in our communities.

… So, given these benefits, positive emotions at work can facilitate both individual and organizational growth. And if work can satisfy our psychological needs and other factors which are essential to our happiness as well as provide us with an income, and happier workers have many advantages over those who are less happy, it seems that increasing happiness in the workplace can pay for everyone – employees, leaders, trustees or shareholders alike. And in more than just financial ways.

My training solutions for improving happiness in the workplace:

The new science of happiness says that your mindset decides your view of the world, and that it can be strengthened to a positive rational framework. Your mindset is your ‘attributional style’, your self talk, how you explain the world to yourself. Human beings largely create our own upsettness with our bad thinking habits, and we can uncreate it –  literally learning new thinking skills through Cognitive Behavioural Training.

Studies (and my experience) show that this best practice training literally changes how engaged learners think and feel and behave to a positive framework. And as Seligman says, it’s for everybody for everyday.

Book a Science of Happiness seminar or workshop and see how it benefits your workplace:


Emotional resilience and self management skills can be learned, and bad thinking habits can be dismantled – and new neuroscience tells us the brain is more malleable than we ever knew, and can literally be rewired through ‘learning and doing’. That’s what Cognitive Behavioural Training is proven to do.

We ALL have hardwired bad thinking habits that result in inappropriate emotional and physical responses to some stressors – which result in self defeating, or self limiting, or self sabotaging behaviours. My workshops are accredited programmes for the National Register of Trainers with FAS and Enterprise, and use best practice psychotherapy models (in a fun non therapy experiential way) to teach strategies for understanding and examining and changing negative attributional styles to a calmer more realistic positive attributional style – in order to think differently and to feel differently and to behave differently – learning how to be happy. Try one.

  • Click HERE for testimonials
  • Click HERE for notes and stats on Employee Well Being.
  • Click HERE for a link to my group workshops for well being.
  • Click HERE for my iNfo newsletter on the acclaimed UK and Australian study ‘cognitive behavioural training to change attributional style improves employee well being.
  • Clike HERE for a link to the study on how even a one day CBT confidence workshop gives benefits that are shown to have stayed with the learner two years later.
  • Click HERE for a link to my article for the Dublin City Enterprise Board on ‘Companies on the Couch’.
Contact me, Veronica Walsh, at or at Ireland 086 8113031 to discuss further or to request a quotation.

A: Camden House, 7 Upper Camden Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
T: 00 86 8113031

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