The ROI of Happiness

Happiness is part of your bottom line equation

Years ago when I offered self-esteem training for teens and their parents, we did muscle testing to show the connection between what you were thinking and your physical strength. When someone felt good and thought about things that made them happy, their arms were strong. I could press on their outstretched arm, and it was solid. When they focused on complaints or fears, their outstretched arm collapsed with the smallest of pressure.

Happiness leads to success.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of more than 200 studies on 275,000 people from around the world. “…happiness leads to success in nearly every domain, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy.” (1)

Let’s take a look at just your physical health and ROI (return on investment). 

Researchers measured the happiness of a group and injected them with cold virus. The individuals who were happier fought off the virus better — as measured by doctors in terms of sneezing, coughing, congestion, and inflammation. (2)

No wonder unhappy employees take an average of 15 extra sick days per year. (3)

If you cannot change the situation, change your attitude about it. Shawn Achor, New York Times bestselling author and Harvard psychologist, recommends in his book The Happiness Advantage seven actions to consider adding to our routine to improve your happiness:

    1 – Meditate – the more difficult you find slowing your mind, I’d suggest the more you may benefit from it. I speak from experience. Meditating is the most difficult thing that I do. But sleep research shows that you need mental breaks throughout the day so your mind will turn off when you go to sleep.  Start small with only sitting for a few minutes and work yourself up to a longer daily practice.

   2 – Find something to look forward to – when times get tough, plan something awesome around the corner. An overnight with your spouse. That book you’ve been wanting to take time to read. A painting night. A ball game.

   3 – Conscious acts of kindness – make a decision to do something nice for someone else. Ask someone to dinner and treat them. Offer to mow a lawn or shovel a driveway.

   4 – Infuse life with positive – I like a good murder mystery as much as the next person but maybe it’s time to reduce the violence you witness and soften your surroundings. Choose a non-violent drama or comedy to watch tonight. Add photos of loved ones to your desk. Sign up for a positive email message that brightens your morning.

    5 – Exercise – move your body. Walking, yoga, spin class, karate. Whatever gets you moving.

    6 – Spend money on experiences, not stuff – the emotional high lasts longer when you invest in experiences instead of things. In fact, there is often a let-down feeling after you get your new items home.

    7 – Do something you’re good at – go swimming, paint, write, read.

Whether you’re concerned about the bottom line of your business, your career, or your quality of life, make a shift. Tell me about your investment in happiness and success this week.

Catherine Doucette MEd, CTDP is a Training and Performance Consultant who delivers customized business communications and leadership programs that produce measurable results. 

(1) Psychological Bulletin, 2005

(2) Psychosomatic Medicine, 2003

(3) Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index, 2008

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