Tag Archives: Gratitude

Kindness Recycled

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama

There are everyday stories of kindness, compassion, warmth and love that fill our hearts with inspiration and hope. We are an amazing community of Happiest Minds where we can be kind to one another, grow together and spread ripples of kindness throughout the world. Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty.

I learnt lessons on kindness from my father…in his carrying goodies in the car to give to people at traffic lights, in giving blankets to the homeless who live on the streets, in providing the means for education to many, many financially challenged children, in giving an unused pair of spectacles to an old lady at a traffic signal after she bumped into the car because she could not see and also taking her to the optician…there are many such instances….the list continues to grow.

I learnt to be kind and gracious by just looking at his life…I am still learning…

No act of kindness, no matter how small…is ever wasted (Aesop)…they always return to you…

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Measure Your Happiness

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what s/he is (Erasmus).

Self-awareness is an important step, as part of our happiness framework, in building your capacity to be happy.

Edward Deiner of the University of Illinois, believed to be the father of happiness/well-being research, designed a simple 5-statement scale that measures happiness.

On a scale from 1 to 7, indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements, with 7 being strong agreement.

1. In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
2. The conditions of my life are excellent.
3. I am satisfied with my life.
4. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Total score: 31 to 35: you are extremely happy with your life; 26 to 30: happy; 21 to 25: slightly happy; 20: neutral point; 15 to 19: slightly unhappy; 10 to 14: unhappy; 5 to 9: extremely unhappy

Practicing Gratitude

Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes on  the importance of practicing gratitude!

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Practicing Gratitude can make us all Happier. Research finds that people’s happiness levels can increase by 25% by practicing gratitude. Such an increase in the set point for happiness can be sustained over a period of time, contrary to the held notion that our ‘set point’ is frozen at birth.

In his book,  Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nov 2008), Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, shows that a systematic cultivation of this emotion can measurably change people’s lives. He describes research he carried out with three experimental groups over 10 weeks.

  • The first group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that had happened in the last week for each of the 10 weeks of the study. This was called the gratitude condition.
  • The second group were asked to write down five daily hassles from the previous week. This was called the hassles condition.
  • The third group simply listed five events that had occurred in the last week, but not told to focus on positive or negative aspects. This was the events or control condition.

Some grateful conditions that emerged: Sunset through the clouds; the chance to be alive; and the generosity of friends. Those in the ‘gratitude condition’ group were more optimistic about the future and felt better about their lives than those in the ‘hassles’ or ‘events’ condition.

In a second study, Emmons and McCullough asked people in the control condition group to list ways in which they were better off than others. They were making positive comparisons but not necessarily thinking gratefully. Again, the results showed that those in the gratitude condition were significantly happier than those making positive comparisons between themselves and others and those focussing on daily hassles.practicing-gratitude

In a third study that lasted 21 days, Emmons and McCullough recruited adults who had neuromuscular disorders as people with this condition have a good reason to be unhappy with what life has dealt them. Participants in the gratitude condition were found to be more satisfied with their lives, more optimistic about the upcoming week and crucially, were sleeping better.

Happiness 3G

Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes about the 3 Gs of happiness.

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Grateful

Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude. ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

Happy people live in a constant state of gratitude, consciously recognizing the many blessings they receive.

They also unabashedly and generously demonstrate their gratitude, truly and appreciative of the people and opportunities that come their way.

Let us make a habit of outwardly showing our thankfulness.

Giving 

Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it. ~ John Templeton

Random acts of kindnesses – saying hello to someone we have not met, helping someone cross the street, paying the toll for the person behind us in line – make us feel good.

The warmth in our hearts last long after the deed is done.

It is not self-sacrifice; it is an effective way to see that selfless deeds, do, indeed, have extraordinary impact.

Let us give of our time, our talent, our treasure.

Graciousness

When you become the conduit for graciousness, you get stronger, truer, freer and more fiercely alive. ~ Danielle L.

When we choose to be gracious, we find ways to say what we really mean in ways that resonate with who we are.

Being gracious is being kind, respectful, courteous and considerate.

It means really listening to others who have differing points of view because it makes them feel valued.

It is being considerate of others who may not be acting graciously!

Let us treat one another graciously and with kindness.

Employee Recognition Is A Must

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group, Espire Infolabs, speaks about one of the best practices of the industry – Rewards & Recognitions.

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Some of the best Rewards & Recognition strategies are those that cost the least. The behavior that is recognized and rewarded is always the behavior that is repeated and widely spread by word of mouth, Simple Virtue.

This is a part of the global Recognitions & Rewards that energizes and engages employees to achieve your strategic goals. Employee recognition is a communication tool that highlights the most important outcome employees create for your business. When you reward your employees, the action and behavior you wish to see more frequently in your employees is inevitably repeated.

Reward programs prove more beneficial to the company than to the employees. Companies which have an effective program in place realize an increase in the average return to shareholders as opposed to companies which do not have ways to recognize employees. Only one in three Indian employees is working at full potential.

Dos & Don’ts: Designing a process in which managers get to select employees who will receive recognition might not be the best thing since the selection would inevitably happen on the basis of favoritism. A Process that single outs an individual, upon the individual contribution you made in the company’s growth, for instance, “Employee of the Month” or “Individual Contribution Award” will be more effective and motivating for employees.

For such recognition programs, each employee would receive a thank you note, hand-written by his Chief Reporting officer. This should spell out why the employee is receiving the honor/recognition.

The note would include the potential for the employee to participate in a “DRAW”. Gifts may range from a movie ticket to a dinner booking with family. Alternatively, it can be cash rewards.

National Employee Appreciation Day: This will be a perfect period to kick off a long-term employee recognition program. These appreciation days are important things when you recognize your employees in a Town Hall Meeting, and explain why the organization has chosen him/her.

As you can see, employee recognition programs are complex, and we need to architect those parameters to filter people. How is one person different from another person? Each program is custom-built to meet the needs of your organization.

In short, you need improve your bottom line as these resources are doing the real hard work and we have to measure our own employees by boosting employee retention and encouraging performance improvement.

For employees who wish to analyze their potential, you need to do the below following:

–  Utilize all your strengths
–  Manage your weakness

Please write these above on a paper and work to improve your own skills and the organization will recognize you as a potential candidate for the Student of the year Award! 🙂 Just joking Employee of the month goes to you, my friend.

The How of Happiness

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Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes on What makes us happy? How can we become happier? Is happiness sustainable?

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology addresses these fundamental questions in her book “The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want”, a book of strategies backed by scientific research that can be used to increase happiness.

Our individual level of happiness springs from three primary sources:

  1. Our Genetic Set Point:  50% of our happiness derives from a genetically determined “set point”. Those of us with low happiness set points have to work harder to achieve and maintain happiness, while those of us with high set points will find it easier to be happy under similar conditions.
  2. Our Life Circumstances determine only 10% of our happiness. In our quest to become happier, many of us focus on changing the circumstances of our lives in the misguided hope that those changes will deliver happiness. Research shows that trying to be happy by changing our life situations ultimately will not work because we human beings readily, rapidly and remarkably adapt to positive circumstantial changes
  3. Intentional Activities – The remaining 40% of our happiness is determined by our behaviour – intentional activities that we can call “happiness strategies.”

We cannot alter our genetic set points; changes in life circumstances don’t have a lasting impact on our happiness, but we can increase and sustain our happiness through these happiness-increasing strategies.

Expressing Gratitude – Counting your blessings for what you have or conveying gratitude and appreciation to others

Cultivating Optimism – Practicing to look at the bright side of every situation.

Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison – Using strategies (such as distraction) to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems and compare yourself with others.

Practicing Acts of Kindness – Doing good things for others, whether friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or planned.

Nurturing Social Relationships – Picking a relationship in need of strengthening and investing time and energy in healing, cultivating, affirming and enjoying it.

Developing Strategies for Coping – Practicing ways to endure or surmount a recent stress, hardship or trauma.

Learning to Forgive – Keeping a journal or writing a letter in which you work on letting go of anger and resentment toward the one/s who have hurt or wronged you.

Increasing Flow Experiences – Increasing the number of experiences at home and work which are challenging and absorbing.

Savoring Life’s Joys – Paying close attention, taking delight, and replaying life’s momentary pleasures and wonders, through thinking, writing, drawing, or sharing with another.

* Committing to Your Goals – Picking one, two, or three significant goals that are meaningful to you and devoting time and effort to pursuing them.

Practicing Spirituality

Taking Care of Your Body – Meditation, Physical Activity, Smiling and Laughing

It is important to choose happiness strategies that address the source of our unhappiness, that take advantage of our strengths, talents and goals, that can be adapted easily to our needs and lifestyle.

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Let Us Give Thanks!

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Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes about why being thankful is as important as anything else. 

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank You’, that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

Dr. Robert Emmons, author of ‘Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude can make you Happier’ says that frequentthankfulness boosts happiness by 25%. He says that in order for gratitude to yield happiness and health benefits, itmust be CHRONIC. “A habitual attitude of thankfulness, as opposed to one-off reactions. Feeling gratitude must be ingrained into your personality, and you must frequently acknowledge and be thankful for the role other people play in your happiness.”

Research has shown that:

–  those who kept weekly gratitude journals, exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

–  self-guided gratitude exercises with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).

–  children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).

Emmons designed “The Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form (GQ-6)” to measure a person’s Gratitude Quotient. (McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.)

Scale

Using the scale below as a guide, write a number beside each statement to indicate how much you agree with it.

1 = strongly disagree

2 = disagree

3 = slightly disagree

4 = neutral

5 = slightly agree

6 = agree

7 = strongly agree

Statements

1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.

2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

3. When I look at the world, I see much to be grateful for.

4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*

Scoring

1. Add up your scores for items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

2. Reverse your scores for item 6.  That is, if you scored a “7,” give yourself a “1,” if you scored a “6,” give yourself a “2,” etc.

3. Add all the scores.

This is your total Gratitude Quotient; a number between 6 and 42.

The higher your score, the greater your Gratitude Quotient!