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What we value most about happiness - Part 2 of 2

This is Part 2 of our two part blog on happiness as a core value of the Collective Results team. In this blog post, we hear from Michi, Liz, and Auburn about what happiness means to them. Interested in reading Part 1? Check it out here.

Michi: One of my favourite strategies for promoting happiness in our lives is savouring. You are likely familiar with the idea of savouring when it comes to eating delicious food, but it can also be applied to any of the pleasant moments in our lives. Savouring is about stepping into your experiences, noticing everything as it is happening, and appreciating the positive feelings it is giving you. It can prevent you from ruminating with negative or anxiety-provoking thoughts and increase feelings of gratitude. You can even replay these memories in your mind later for an added boost. You may first think of how savouring applies to those big moments in our lives: an epic vacation, weddings, graduations, etc. But it is even more important to savour the smaller everyday moments in both our personal and work lives—a walk in nature, a great presentation, a conversation with a friend or co-worker, or a delicious cup of coffee. As you can see from Amy’s comments in What We Value Most About Happiness – Part 1, Collective Results supports savouring by reflecting on and celebrating our successes (both big and small). We encourage each other to share life experiences and look to create our own moments of pleasure and fun. How can you integrate savouring into your daily routine?

If you are looking for evidence-based happiness strategies, check out this free course from Yale University on The Science of Well-Being.

Liz: I love that happiness is one of our core values at Collective Results. One quote that I really like about happiness is:“Happiness is not a function of what you achieve. It’s a function of how you spend your time. Success is a temporary thrill. Happiness lies in doing daily activities that bring you joy. There’s always a new mountain to climb. You don’t have to anchor your emotions to the summit.” – Adam Grant

What this means is that happiness is the precursor to success, not the other way around. Happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement! A few strategies that I use to bring happiness to my days are:

  1. Focusing on what is within our control: When things get overwhelming, it always helps to focus first on small manageable goals and then gradually reach out to take on bigger ones. This helps to navigate and work through difficult situations (e.g., a global pandemic, complex projects etc.)

  2. Investing in our social support networks: Taking time to connect with family, friends and peers brings happiness. Even when I am very tired after a busy day, taking the time to get out and meet up with friends/family boosts my happiness. Doing this on a regular basis brings me joy and I then take that energy and bring it to all that I do.

I am optimistic that our approach to happiness resonates with our clients and leads to better results!

Auburn: On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy are you? This may sound like a subjective and arbitrary question, but the responses it yields are surprisingly accurate. Research shows that it correlates with how often you smile every day, how happy your close family and friends would say you are, and your hour-by-hour emotional experience. If you’d rate yourself on the lower end of the happiness scale, the good news is, that number doesn’t have to stay static. There are a myriad of small tangible things you can do everyday to improve your happiness. Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale who created the happiness course mentioned by Michi above delves into this in her podcast, The Happiness Lab.

The even better news? While health, wealth and strong social relationships can result in happiness, happiness can also result in an increase in health, wealth and social relationships; the causal arrow goes both ways.

This means that by making small changes to improve your happiness, you can also improve other aspects of your life. Taking time each day to do things that make you happy, whether it’s going for a walk, taking a pause in the middle of your work day to play with a pet, or cooking a meal for a loved one, can have big changes on the trajectory of your life.

I like to think of the analogy put forward by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. Imagine you’re on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. If the pilot changes direction by just 3.5 degrees – a change so small that no one in the plane would notice – you’d end up in Washington DC instead of New York. As he says, “A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination. Making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant at the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime, these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be. Success is the product of daily habits- not once-in-a-life transformations.”

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