Dna versus outlook: what science tells us about happiness

Have you ever wondered what the secret to happiness is? The ABC News article, “The Science of Happiness: What Makes People Happy,” dives deep into exploring what it is that makes us happy, and how business leaders can apply its findings to their own lives.

The article starts by looking at a study of identical twins raised in the same household who reported different levels of happiness. The study found that 40% of our happiness is within our control, and not predetermined by factors such as genetics or environment. It then goes on to explore the science behind why we feel happy, looking at research from neuroscience and psychological studies. It suggests that positive emotions such as contentment come from connecting with those around us, performing meaningful activities or work, setting achievable goals and challenges for ourselves, and taking care of our physical and mental health.

This article provides helpful insights for business leaders interested in improving employee satisfaction and productivity. Knowing that our level of happiness is largely within our own control should be empowering for managers and supervisors, reminding them that they have the power to make positive changes in their team’s work lives.  Encouraging employees to set achievable goals, taking regular breaks and engaging in meaningful conversations with colleagues are all simple actions that can have a positive impact on workplace satisfaction and employee engagement

Ultimately, the science of happiness is complex and individualised. However, understanding what makes us happy on a deeper level can help business leaders create more productive and

 

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Encouraging collaboration between employees, providing challenging tasks and goals while also offering support when needed, as well as promoting physical activity like yoga or meditation classes during lunch breaks can all help to create a happier workplace environment which will ultimately lead to higher job satisfaction amongst your workers.

In conclusion, while the science of happiness can be complex and unique to each individual, understanding its principles can provide helpful insights for business leaders looking to improve their team’s satisfaction and productivity. Encouraging meaningful conversations with colleagues, setting achievable goals together, and taking regular breaks are all simple ways business leaders can use these insights to.

Offering tools such as goal-setting plans, tips on creating effective teams, motivation techniques and stress management strategies this service is sure to give any manager or supervisor the resources they need to build an engaging workplace where employees feel valued and motivated.

Find out more in the original article here: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4115033&page=1

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

 

A short history of positive psychology

How does the science of happiness relate to business owners and supervisors? According to Harvard Magazine, it’s all about creating a positive work environment.

The article cites a study that found happy employees are more productive and take fewer sick days. It also points out that happy employees are more likely to be innovative and come up with new ideas.

So how can you create a positive work environment? The article offers several tips, including:

Make sure employees feel appreciated.  Regularly give feedback on their performance and provide recognition for their work.

Encourage collaboration. Allow employees to work together and share ideas. This helps them feel valued, which leads to a more positive workplace.

Provide clear goals and expectations. Helping employees set realistic goals helps them stay motivated and focused on their work.

Foster trust between management and staff members. Show that you care about  your employees by listening to their ideas and being open to new ways of doing things.

Create a comfortable environment. Make sure employees have the tools, resources and support they need to do their jobs well

 

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Finally, don’t forget about having fun in the workplace! Incorporate activities into the workplace that will help everyone

Encourage collaboration among co-workers.  Working in teams can help foster creativity and build relationships that will make employees feel more connected to the company.

Create a sense of purpose in your work environment.  Communicate the company’s mission and values to employees so that they feel invested in the success of the organisation.

Foster open communication between supervisors and workers. Let them know their opinions matter. By creating a positive work environment, you will be able to reap the rewards of happier and more productive employees.

Provide opportunities for training and development.   Investing in your employees will help them to stay on top of industry trends and become better at what they do. It will also show that you value their contributions and are invested in their success.

If you’re a business owner or supervisor, these are all things you should keep in mind. Creating a happy, productive work environment can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2007/01/the-science-of-happiness.html

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

 

What is the negativity bias? by Eleanor Shakiba

This video is part of a positive psychology series. Find out more about positive psychology in Eleanor’s free eBook, the Positive Psychology Toolkit.

Gain greater confidence in your ability to reach goals. Squash your negativity bias so you can build a vibrant organisational culture. The negativity bias is a natural tendency to focus on, remember and ‘learn from’ negative experiences more easily than positive events. In this video, master trainer Eleanor Shakiba explains that it is possible to shift your perspective using a few simple tools from positive psychology. Learn how to replace negativity with hopefulness and optimism.

This video on negativity bias is part of a playlist of positive psychology videos by master trainer, Eleanor Shakiba. If you’re looking for resilience videos or positive thinking videos, subscribe to Eleanor’s channel for regular updates. To book Eleanor to train your team, visit her official site at Think Learn Succeed. To purchase training materials on resilience, learned optimism and employee wellbeing, visit the Think Learn Succeed shop.

 

 

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About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a specialist in positive psychology. Her passion is teaching talented people to use social and emotional intelligence to excel in business. These skills centre around building positive mindsets, proactive communication habits and purposeful leadership behaviours. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She is also the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners. This is a free resource for trainers and facilitators.

Coaches! Avoid this trap

Her head curled down and shoulders slouched, my new coaching client was a picture of despair. My first instinct was to ask, “What’s wrong?” After all, she looked like she needed sympathy and advice.

I chose to ignore my instinct, knowing it would trap us in a game of clients – coach collusion. Fuelled by the brain’s natural negativity bias, this type of collusion subtly focuses coaching conversations on negatives rather than positives. Ultimately, this makes solution-finding more trying. Great coaches don’t ignore negatives, but they do reframe them.

I base my positive psychology training and coaching methods on those of renowned hypnotherapist Milton Erickson. He was a master of positive reframing and his techniques are useful in resilience training, assertiveness programs and one-to-one coaching. His finely crafted language patterns subtly directed clients’ attention. Instead of asking about the past, Erickson asked about the future. He didn’t ask what was wrong. Instead, he encouraged his clients to picture how things might go right in the future. On the surface, Erickson’s techniques seem simple. The more you use them, though, the more you understand they are highly flexible and engaging tools for positive change.

As a trainer or facilitator with an interest in positive psychology training, how can you use Ericksonian language patterns to overcome the brain’s negativity bias? Here are a few of my favourite techniques, which I cover in my advanced level workshops for trainers, course creators and facilitators.

 

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Open your sessions with neutral questions

Asking what’s wrong subtly focuses attention on problems. Don’t do it! Instead, frame your questions in neutral, ‘clean’ language. Start your coaching sessions by asking, “How are you travelling this week?” Even better, remain silent and let your clients open the conversation.

Temporalise negative feelings

Great coaches don’t ignore negatives. This is particularly true when seeking to empathise with clients. However, really successful coaches know that empathy is different to collusion. When a coach speaks as though a negative emotional state will be ongoing, collusion occurs. The coach sides with the client’s negative expectations.

You can avoid doing this by adding temporal tags to your empathic statements. Despite the complex name, a temporal tag is a simple linguistic device. It is a short phrase which suggests a timeline or endpoint. For example, a savvy coach might empathise by saying, “Things seem bad right now.” The last two words of this empathic statements suggest the emotion is transitory.

Probe for counter evidence and counter examples

The negativity bias has been shown to influence what people remember. Put simply, brains remember negative experiences more clearly than positive experiences. This is why excellent coaches probe full counter examples when their clients raise problematic situations.

Promote self-efficacy

Negativity and learned helplessness tend to go together. They lead to states of overwhelm and pessimism, in which your cochees feel incapable of taking action. Your job is to highlight opportunities for empowered action. Do this by asking questions about steps your coachees can take to solve their problems and overcome challenges.

Mastering the art of positive reframing is an exciting way to boost your impact as a positive psychology practitioner. For more information about simple tools to transform your results, download the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners.

 

About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a positive psychology trainer and coach. Her passion is teaching skills for positive thinking, proactive communication and purposeful leadership. Her clients work in academia, education, IT, engineering, finance and health. Eleanor is qualified in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She’s the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners, a free resource for trainers.

Questions that make or break confidence by Eleanor Shakiba

When time are tough the tough get going…but the smart get questioning. In this video, master coach Eleanor Shakiba explains how the questions you ask yourself directly impact your confidence and resilience levels. Drawing on Meta Model questions from NLP, she explains how to overcome ‘learned helplessness’ by making simple changes to your internal dialogue. Watch Questions that Make or Break Confidence now.

 

 

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About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a specialist in positive psychology. Her passion is teaching talented people to use social and emotional intelligence to excel in business. These skills centre around building positive mindsets, proactive communication habits and purposeful leadership behaviours. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She is also the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners. This is a free resource for trainers and facilitators.

Is negativity bias destroying your culture?

Do people in your business tend to dwell on bad things and fail to notice the good? If so, your team is experiencing negativity bias. This is a natural tendency to focus on, remember and ‘learn from’ negative experiences more easily than positive events. There’s a substantial body of research in positive psychology which demonstrates the power of the negativity bias. Luckily, it is possible to shift perspectives, using a few simple tools from positive psychology. These tools are useful for leaders, resilience trainers and change managers.

A great deal of research has been completed on the topic of negativity bias. For example, studies by John and Stephanie Cacioppo and Jackie Gollan confirmed the theory that people tend to make decisions based on negative information more than positive information. Additional studies have concluded that when people are presented with a situation where they mainly gain or lose something, the potential loss has more of an impact on their decisions compared to the potential gains.

Research also suggests that negativity bias starts in infancy. Young infants pay more attention to positive facial expressions. By one year of age, the brain starts to respond to negative stimuli. Before long, negativity bias starts to creep in. If a team gets into the habit of focusing on the negative, the bias will soon be assumed to be an accurate representation of reality. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do about this. Here are some ideas for countering the negativity bias as a leader, facilitator or positive psychology trainer.

 

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Listen carefully

The words people use give you clues as to what they’re thinking. People who focus on negatives tend to use negative language. Words like ‘can’t’ or ‘never’ are clear indicators that people are filtering for what is not working in their lives, for example.

Use questions to help people reframe

Cognitive reframing is a very useful tool for helping people shift from negative to positive focus points. Ask people what is going right, what the advantages of change might be or how they benefit from a change. As you do this, they will slip into growth mindset mode.

Redirect attention

Make a conscious effort to redirect conversations towards optimistic, hopeful themes. Encourage your team to express gratitude or talk about what they’ve done to solve problems. This subtly programs them to pay attention to constructive feelings, ideas and events.

Positive psychology teaches us that negativity can be overturned. By replacing it with hopefulness and optimism, you gain greater confidence in your ability to reach goals. Positive psychology trainers can help develop these traits across your entire organisation. Contact Eleanor Shakiba today to discuss options for building positive team dynamics and vibrant organisational culture, using positive psychology.

 

About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor consults in culture-building and behaviour change training. Her customers are people who want to embed positive psychology in teams and organisations. Since 1994, she has been teaching talented professionals how to think, communicate and lead in ways that build success. Eleanor holds qualifications in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. Eleanor is the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners. Download your free copy here.

What are team dynamics? by Eleanor Shakiba

This video is part of a positive psychology series. Find out more about positive psychology in Eleanor’s free eBook, the Positive Psychology Toolkit.

Build a thriving team with positive dynamics. The term ‘team dynamics’ refers to the psychological factors that influence the way that a team collectively behaves and performs. Team dynamics directly influence the behaviours of every team member. You can bring together the brightest, smartest individuals to work on your team, but without the right group dynamics, that team might not gel. In this video, positive psychology trainer, Eleanor Shakiba, shares with us the factors and techniques that impact relationships and, ultimately, a group’s output.

This video on team dynamics is part of a playlist of positive psychology videos by master trainer, Eleanor Shakiba. If you’re looking for resilience videos or positive thinking videos, subscribe to Eleanor’s channel for regular updates. To book Eleanor to train your team, visit her official site at Think Learn Succeed. To purchase training materials on resilience, learned optimism and employee wellbeing, visit the Think Learn Succeed shop.
 


 

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About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a specialist in positive psychology. Her passion is teaching talented people to use social and emotional intelligence to excel in business. These skills centre around building positive mindsets, proactive communication habits and purposeful leadership behaviours. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She is also the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners. This is a free resource for trainers and facilitators.

When NOT to do team building

Two years into my facilitation career, I was invited to run a teambuilding session for a group of researchers who ‘weren’t getting on these days’. As an enthusiastic, rookie facilitator, I took the job on. Without asking questions or probing to find out what ‘not getting on’ meant. Let alone realising that ‘these days’ had been going on for five years!

Naively, I designed an interactive, action-packed teambuilding day full of icebreakers and self-disclosure exercises. The session was an epic fail. Why? Because this was a complex situation, involving years of conflict and team fragmentation. It was not something that could be sorted out in a day. All the clues were there during my needs analysis interview. Here are some of the red flags I missed.

‘It must be done ASAP. It’s an emergency’

The request for teambuilding was made two weeks before Christmas. Obviously, no planning had been done. Indeed, the manager claimed the teambuilding exercise was ‘urgent’. I should have enquired about what that meant! That way I wouldn’t have received a nasty surprise during the session. It turned out one member of the team had threatened to make a complaint about bullying. This had been ignored by the manager and blew up on the day. What did I learn? Don’t be bullied into handling ’emergencies’ without a full investigation into what created them.

‘Make sure you tell them…’

Ah. I hadn’t yet learned that poor leaders hire facilitators and coaches to deliver the messages they feel uncomfortable communicating themselves. In my scenario, the manager provided a long list of directives to pass on to her team. Most of these targeted inappropriate behaviours (which of course, could be construed as bullying). The manager wanted me to tell the team how to behave. When I suggested it will be wiser to involve the team in setting communication norms, the manager shook her head. She even told me they’d tried that before and it didn’t work. Looking back, I can see this was a clear sign trouble was brewing.

 

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‘Can you do it in half a day?’

This question usually comes from someone who has no idea what team building involves. That was very true in my scenario. I was told that heavy workloads and budget constraints limited the time available for the session. In my naïve eagerness to please, I failed to set boundaries. Indeed, I agreed to the half-day format and then tried to work out how to use accelerated learning to reap the desired results. It didn’t work.

‘All the conference rooms were booked…but we have a board room’

When I asked the manager to book a large, suitably ventilated room for the session, I was told this had been handled. It turned out this wasn’t true. The team was crammed into a poorly lit, overheated, stuffy boardroom. There was no room to do all my groovy accelerated learning activities – and barely room to breathe.

Fortunately, I am a much wiser facilitator these days. I now complete a full needs analysis before taking on team building gigs. Typically, this involves using positive psychology training models to design pre-session questionnaires and custom-designed group work processes. I involve team members in the needs analysis conversations and follow up. And most importantly, I listen for subtext when taking a manager’s initial brief. It’s often what is not said that reveals the true situation. By listening carefully, savvy facilitators can gather the information required to design robust interventions that will deliver positive results.

If you’d like to find out more about using positive psychology principles in your team building sessions, download Eleanor Shakiba’s free e-book, Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners.

 

About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor specialises in positive psychology and NLP. She works with HR and L&D teams create vibrant organisational cultures, by delivering training that makes a difference. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. Her passion is fostering the success of ‘positive deviants’ in the workplace. Download a copy of Eleanor’s free ebook Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners.

The science of aha moments by Eleanor Shakiba

If you want to solve problems more confidently and creatively, this video is a great introduction to the science of insight. It explains what goes on in your brains when you experience an ‘aha’ moment. It also explores ways NLP and positive psychology techniques might work with those brain functions. Curious? Find out more in The Science of Aha Moments, by Eleanor Shakiba.
 


 

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About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a specialist in positive psychology. Her passion is teaching talented people to use social and emotional intelligence to excel in business. These skills centre around building positive mindsets, proactive communication habits and purposeful leadership behaviours. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She is also the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners. This is a free resource for trainers and facilitators.

What are team dynamics and how do you ‘build’ them?

You can bring together the brightest, smartest individuals to work on your team. However, without the right group dynamics, that team might not gel. Savvy leaders and L&D professionals know that team dynamics matter. Simple steps – such as increasing a group’s positivity ratio – can reap huge rewards when it comes to team building. Before beginning to work on team dynamics, though, you need a thorough understanding of team dynamics theory.

The term ‘team dynamics’ refers to the psychological factors that influence the way that a team collectively behaves and performs. These factors impact relationships and, ultimately, the group’s output. Positive psychology trainers suggest using the following techniques to boost positive psychological capital when working on team dynamics.

Create a clear vision and foster hope

Without vision, people feel lost. They will then react fearfully. Great leaders are experts in setting a clear picture of what the future will look like. Doing this makes everyone feel like there’s something worthwhile they’re working towards.

Track positivity ratios

Positivity ratios are something positive psychology trainers talk about a lot. The basic positivity ration is a ‘measure’ of the number of positive emotions someone experiences in a given timeframe, compared to the number negative feelings they have in the same period. Get your team focused on building a positivity ratio of at least 5:1.

 

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Establish support mechanisms

To flourish, people need individualised support. This can come in the form of peer coaching sessions, resilience training, professional supervision, regular meetings with the boss or even access to external employee assistance programs. The point is to allow people to bring their authentic selves to work. It’s important, of course, to ensure that the support provided is positive. Therefore, it is usually best to engage qualified positive psychology coaches and trainers when helping individuals thrive.

Allow room to experiment

Learning is not an instant process. It requires consistent focus and reflection. This is particularly true when an old habit needs to be unlearned. Factor in time to experiment into daily workloads. Create practice fields where people can access coaches and trainers so they can make mistakes without disrupting the change agenda.

Team dynamics directly influence the behaviours of every team member. Leaders are accountable for the dynamics in their teams. With resilience training from experienced positive psychology trainers, anyone can learn how to build a thriving team with positive dynamics. Contact Eleanor Shakiba today to discuss team building strategies for your organisation.

 

About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor specialises in positive psychology training and coaching. She works with HR and L&D teams create vibrant organisational cultures, by delivering training that makes a difference. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. Her passion is fostering the success of ‘positive deviants’ in the workplace. Download a copy of Eleanor’s free ebook Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners.