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Do we need a special day to remind us to be happy?

Posted by Joanne on March 20, 2014 Comments Off

Today is International Day of Happiness, established by the United Nations in 2012 to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as a fundamental human goal. It is a great reminder, but do we need a special day to remind us to be happy? It made me think about happiness, what it means to me, and what it takes to create a path of happiness in life and at work.

Do for yourself – Think happy

As a teenager, I remember having an AHA moment when I realized that I had two grandmothers with very different ways of living life. I call it The Tale of Two Grandmas. Both my grandmothers overcame hardship, and yet one was happy and a joy to be around, and the other seemed to drain the joy out of life. I decided I would choose to be happy because I wanted to be like my happy grandmother. I carried this thought into parenting where I often told my children, “You have a choice. You can get up in the morning and be happy, or you can be miserable.” I carried it into my relationship where I recently celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. And I carried it into my business where my mission is helping create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces.

In Habits Of The Most Resilient People, Denise Brosseau talks about a client who referred to the negative self-talk in her head as the “itty bitty shitty committee.” Another described it as two wolves inside her head – one wolf is positive and the other is negative – and the one that she feeds is the one that wins.

I know that life and happiness in not that simple, but I do think that when our minds wander down the path of negative self-talk, we can correct it and train our brains to think happy and be happy.

Do for another – Understand happiness

But sometimes happiness is not as easy as choosing to correct our thoughts. My own mother (and most likely my grandmother) suffered from depression and she once described it as “being in a deep, dark hole, with no glimmer of light, and no way of knowing which way to claw yourself up.” I had a hard time understanding why my mom couldn’t just change the way she was thinking especially when she was surrounded by a family that loved her. I was reminded of her description when I watched Why we choose suicide a talk by Mark Henick at TEDxToronto.” Mark referred to depression as one where the mind focuses on a narrow and limited perception or thought, much like a CD stuck in a rut, playing the same thing over and over again. Only this time it plays thoughts of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sadness. This is when help is needed to pull the individual out of the deep dark hole of limited perception. In this case, telling someone to choose happiness does not work. Understanding that attaining happiness is not as easy as a choice and some people will need help.

In the workplace, educate yourself on watching for the signs of depression or addiction in your team. HR and management should never act as a counsellor. They should facilitate and encourage an individual to seek the help they need through company employee assistance plans, group health plans, and community services.

Do for others – Spread happiness

Happiness is contagious. You can help spread happiness and fill up the happiness tanks of those around you. Use the Losada Line to guide you. Marcial Losada’s research found that it takes 2.9013 positive interactions to counteract one negative interaction, and it takes six positive interactions to every negative interaction for teams to produce their best work. Keep that in mind when trying to motivate your team or an individual.

Do your part in life and in the workplace by stopping disrespectful, bullying or gossiping behaviour. Don’t participate in it and be a leader in modelling behaviour that promotes happiness.

Have some fun. In honour of International Day of Happiness do something fun. Take a break in the workplace and do Ben Aaron’s Time to Dance Walk Baby!

What are you doing to bring happiness into your life and into the workplace? Please share your comments,

Spread your sparkle, Joanne

Joanne Royce creates happy, healthy, and productive workplaces through HR, recruiting, and training initiatives for organizations that invest in people to invest in success.

Other blogs on happiness you might be interested in:

Do you suffer from the dreaded tetris effect

A formula for balance and success

It’s okay to be happy at work

What is the happiness quotient at your workplace

Happy holsteins give more milk: Lessons for the workplace

What do you do about Charlie (Sheen) Part 1 of 3

Do you bring your sunshine to work?






 Joanne Royce



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