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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

stack-20241_640According to a new report released by Hudson, ‘work life balance’ tops the list of priorities for Australian workers in 2015. No longer just a buzz word, work life balance is sought by 70% of professionals interviewed. Whether it’s working parents hoping to spend some quality time with their children, or people with time-consuming hobbies, workers make no secret of the fact that they may like their job, but time to pursue their ‘real life’ is important too. Work life balance now beats out higher salary or career advancement to be the aspect of employment considered the most important.

A feeling of belonging, or fitting in to an organisation’s culture also ranks high for workers at all levels, actually topping the list for senior executives. It seems workers at this level appreciate the sense that they are in the right organisation, and find more fulfillment in their jobs if there is no stress from workplace cultural clashes.

A good benefits package is also in the top five things job seekers look for in prospective employment. Generally workers are seeking to better the deal they currently have, whether it be receiving a higher salary, switching to a more prestigious brand or  earning a more impressive job title. Aussie workers like to feel that they are heading towards the top, and many will part ways with a company if they get stuck at the same level for too long.

If the cultural fit is not right, or the work life balance is off kilter? The report says 8 out of 10 workers have an up to date CV ready to show recruitment firms and headhunters, even if they are not actively job seeking.

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I recently watched a TED Talk by Shawn Achor called “The Happy Secret to Better Work” but it could equally well have been called “The Happy Secret to Life.”

Apart from the fact that he’s a gifted storyteller, he caught my attention when he really got into the nitty gritty of his reasoning.

He says that “…it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

He argues that our external world is not what makes us happy, otherwise once we have things shaped the way we like them, we would always be happy. Instead, we find things to make us unhappy – the weather, workloads, family demands. He tells us that 90% of our long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way our brains processes the world.

What he is saying is that if we look for the negative, that’s all we see and it colours everything else around us. If we look for the positive, it changes us for the better.

“…dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions. Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.”

Shawn goes on to tell us that we can train our brains to look for the positives and that will open up a new and happier world for us. Watch the clip to find out how to do it.

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Woman and young girl outdoors embracing and laughing

In a world that thrives on telling the bad news stories more than the good, then repeating them frequently, it’s easy to sink into sadness without even realising it.

Often we too, can get caught up in sharing only the negative or bad things that happen to us, either because everyone else is doing it, or it doesn’t feel write to share the good and happy when it seems like those around us are sad and down.  It can become a perpetual, downward spiral with no light at the end of the tunnel.

There are, however, many ways to stay happy. You could practice gratitude daily, or look for the silver lining in everything that happens to you.

Whilst good, there are some ways of just living that will enable you to be inherently happy most of the time.

1. Be Present

Whilst a little clichéd, it really is a good reminder to remain present regardless of what’s happened.  It’s easy to be in the midst of a situation and remember horrible things from the last time something similar happened, or to think ahead, generally the worst case scenario about “what if” if whatever is going on isn’t sorted there and then.

Stay focussed on what’s happening in the moment; thinking back or ahead will only cloud your judgement and distract you from finding a solution.  Keep your mind in that moment, and focussed on what’s actually happening.

It is a much less stressful way of being, and can help resolve things and allow you to make decisions much more effectively.

2. Be Happy With What You Have

Remember that song with the line “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with”?

Like ‘being present’ it’s a helpful mindset to have.  Often we sit in the place of hating our jobs, lack of income or our lives in general.  Working with what you have, in the moment, will remove much of the negative ways of thinking and allow you a feeling of contentment and happiness.

3. You Can’t Be Happy All The Time

One of the fundamental points in remaining happy is that you can’t be happy 100% of the time.  Life is full of hurdles and quirks, ups and downs, good times and bad times.

It’s okay to feel sadness, to grieve, or feel frustrated or angry.  These are very normal reactions and processes to go through at times, and not doing them is not at all good for your wellbeing.

If things go wrong, or something bad or sad happens, go with those feelings and avoid telling yourself “I’m supposed to be happy!”

Feel what you need to, and apply the two previous tips as best you can as they help you to cope with and manage whatever situation you’re in at any given time.

Finally, one bonus tip: smile big, smile often, and give away your smiles to those who look like they need it.

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