Tag Archives: Happiest Minds Technologies

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

Capacity to be Happy

Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes about how to be happy by quoting the example of Anton Chekhov.

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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904)  was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history.

Growing up in poverty, contracting tuberculosis at the height of his success as a writer, he had every reason to curse his luck.

But, Chekhov was a happy man.

His letters, his stories and his plays demonstrate that he understood how to be happy. He was most alive in the the act of discovery. He was a doctor who never stopped using his knowledge to help people around him. And his writing demonstrated his intense curiosity and his self-nurtured intelligence. He had the ability to seek out complicated human situations and make sense of them.

He found happiness in his accomplishments and was apparently not concerned with what might have made him unhappy.

If Chekhov were alive today, he would be the perfect research subject for Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychology professor who teaches courses on, among other things, the causes of happiness. Her central theme is “mindfulness,” a word that she’s made almost her own.

For Langer, as for Chekhov, the recipe for a good life is: Pay attention! She argues that “The essence of being mindful is to notice new things. Noticing leads to engagement and engagement leads to fulfilment.” After 30 years of research, she can say confidently that “mindfulness is literally enlivening.”

Life happens to us all. It is what we make out of it that determines our capacity to be happy!

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A little becomes a LOT!

In our busy work schedules, we get very little time for ourselves and even lesser time for others. Through this post, Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, wills us to expend effort to spread happiness out, beyond ourselves.

Well-being is attained little by little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself. ~ Zeno

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We celebrated March 20th as the International Day of Happiness.

Around the world people smiled, meditated, held flash mobs, participated in various activities that brought happiness to those around them.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the purpose of the International Day of Happiness was to “reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

A grand mandate. Lofty ideals.

Is the goodwill generated on the International Day of Happiness sustainable?

Did we renew our pledge to help one another? Did we even make a pledge in the first place?

In the hustle and bustle of life, with our timelines and our deadlines, let us take time to be happy and make others happy. Let us expend effort to spread happiness out, beyond ourselves.

This is what the International Day of Happiness is all about. It is not just one day.

It is all the days that come after, the changes we make in our lives to spread happiness, all year round.

Please do it today. And tomorrow. And the next day.

If enough of us keep doing it, we really can nudge the world to a happier place.

Mindful?

Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes about being mindful of one another and treating each other with respect and kindkness.

31Take a simple test….

Extend your right forefinger (left, if you are left-handed)…

Draw the capital letter ‘E’ on your forehead.

Did you draw the letter that it faces you or in a way that the person looking at you can read it?

Neither way is right or wrong. But the direction of the letter reveals a lot about your disposition.

Social scientists have used this simple exercise to measure perspective taking – the ability to step outside one’s own experience and see the world from another’s viewpoint. Adam Galinsky and his colleagues at North Western University’s Kellogg School of Management used the E test and some other techniques to investigate the connection between power and empathy. They found that while most people took the other’s perspective, those who had a surplus of power seemed to be connected to a deficit of empathy. They write “On the altar of action orientation and tough-mindedness, we’ve sacrificed the fundamentally human quality of empathy”.

Daniel H Pink, the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us says: The key is to strike a delicate balance between action-orientation and perspective-taking. It’s not a matter of deciding between hitting your numbers or drawing the E. It’s a matter of hitting your numbers by drawing the E.

When we empathise, we figure out what others think and feel; this forms the basis for meaningful and fruitful relationships and the ability to see things as others see them.

So let us be MINDFUL of one another. Let us EMPATHIZE more and treat each other with RESPECT and KINDNESS.

And the next time, we are asked to draw a vowel on our forehead, we know what to do :-)

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!

 

 

The Relation Between Communication and Happiness

Communication is central to our success. It maintains and sustains relationships within a Company. The challenge is to channel the myriad communication means so that they enhance the Company’s competitiveness and bolster happiness. Read what  Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore has to say about the relation between communication and happiness.

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Communication is central to our success. It maintains and sustains relationships within a Company. The challenge is to channel the myriad communication means so that they enhance the Company’s competitiveness and bolster happiness.

Therefore, it is important to watch out for toxic communication patterns, referred to by John Gottman, psychologist at the University of Washington, as the ‘Four horsemen of the Apocalypse’.

  • Criticism – attacking the other’s actions and behaviours, conveying the I am Okay – You are not okay belief.
  • Contempt – attacking the other’s core sense of who they are: sarcasm, name-calling and hostility.
  • Defensiveness – refusing to listen to feedback received and defending our viewpoint.
  • Stonewalling – refusing to interact, not engaging in conversation, communicating via monosyllabic responses

To be the happiest person and create the happiest workplace, it is important that our communication is sustained, inclusive and transparent.

Our communication predicts our happiness.