The Happiness Experts Company is happy to offer the following resources. Many of the items you will find on this page are often used in conjunction with a coach. While it is true that the tools are helpful on their own, in order to maximize their benefit, you might consider hiring an excellent coach . . . .perhaps Paul or Carolyn.
Creating Meaning and Purpose
Knowing our values is essential for living our best lives. When we act out of congruence with our values, life feels off balance and unsatisfying. It is as if you are living in the wrong screenplay. Your actions aren’t what you want them to be.
By contrast, when you know what is most important to you, then you can choose the activities, goals, and endeavors that make sense to who you really are. In this scenario, you are starring in your own movie and the screenplay is exactly right.
Most of us, however, do not know what our most important values are. So we cannot use our values as a way to steer the direction of our life. The link below is an excellent, free on-line tool that can walk you though an easy exercise for identifying values. Try it!
The attached, free exercise will help you see what activities in your life have brought out the best in you. When you know what talents, interests, and character traits give you the greatest satisfaction, then you can deliberately work more activities into your life that will draw on your underlying strengths. This is a proven way to be more happy.
Dean Ornish’s Food Pyramid
As referenced in Paul’s best selling book, “Whole Person Happiness: How to be Well in Body, Mind and Spirit”:
Scientifically validated and exceptionally helpful, the following link takes you to the Gallup Organization’s StrengthsFinder assessment. It is a standard assessment used by coaches and career counselors. The assessment shows which talents, knowledge and abilities make up the respondent’s greatest career strengths. We know that when people are working in areas of their greatest strength, they are happier )often a lot happier) in their chosen work. When people are being apid to do jobs that are misaligned with their talents, they are often very unsatisfied at work.
We recommend “The Top Five Strengths Access”, which is $15 USD. A small number of reports are produced with your personal assessment. They can assist you in understanding and using the information you will have acquired. It is best if you also work with a coach to integrate the information and action-plan your career.
The link is here:
Excellent research has been done to demonstrate that when people know and understand their unique character strength profile, they become equipped to make life choices that call out the best of themselves. People are happiest when they are engaged in activities that utilize their best strengths. Moreover, when you expand and further develop your best strengths you substantially change the impact you have on your environment.
Working to increase strengths is satisfying, fun, and more powerful than attempting to overcome minor weaknesses. When we are using our strengths we are more engaged, and enjoy increased well-being.
We recommend the “Via Me” report, which costs $20 USD. It has rich information on your top 5 character strengths, and provides a ranking of the remaining 19 strengths.
We recommend you also work with a coach to integrate the information and action-plan your life!
Mindfulness—a best practice
There are a great many well-researched happiness interventions; however none has greater scientific backing than regular mindfulness practices. “Mindfulness” is really a re-branding of the ancient practice of meditation.
This short video, from Big Think, makes an exceptional case for learning a practice of your own.
Meditation has a list of benefits unlike any other health intervention ever invented, including:
- Greater calm and resilience from stress
- Improved clarity of thinking, including perceiving more problem-solving options
- Improved immune response—fewer colds and flus
- Reduced heart rate
- Better pain management
- Better sleep
- Enhanced sexual function
- Reduced depressive symptoms
- Lowered anxiety
- Improved working memory
- Elongation of sustained task focus
- Improved emotional regulation
- Enhanced self-esteem
- Reduced distractibility
- Quicker recovery from physical and emotional trauma
- Improved interpersonal relationships—greater empathy and compassion
- Faster mental processing
Is it time for you, and your team, to learn to meditate? Call us. We can help.
Why Happiness Precedes Success
Enjoy this fun TedTalk, featuring author Sean Achor, who explains how happiness leads to a multitude of improved personal characteristics. In turn, these positive personal attributes are preconditions for greater success in careers, wealth, relationships, health, and more.
Do Happy Companies Outperform Competitors?
Observe the following graphic produced by Dr. Ed Diener, based on the conclusions from his own research and the research of other leading scholars like Marcial Losada, and Sonja Lyubomirskly.
Check out these brief online articles for a glimpse into the compelling benefits of investing in employee happiness:
Winning Business Teams are Overwhelmingly Positive!
Dr. Marcial Losada has done some fascinating research studying—in stunning detail—the ways in which business teams interact. He has video taped and analyzed thousands of hours of meetings. He looks for positive versus negative language, inquiry versus advocacy, and whether comments are about one’s self versus comments about others. This quantitative and qualitative analysis provides a measurement of the positive to negative ratios within business teams. He then compares these ratios to objective business outcomes, including profitability, customer satisfaction ratings, and internal performance evaluations.
So what? Well, we know with some certainty that teams that have positive to negative ratios in excess of 3 to 1, outperform teams that are less positive. And that as ratios go higher, performance races away to much, much higher levels.
Check out Dr. Losada’s study. Beware is it is dense reading.
The Happiness Experts Company can help you achieve the stunning results that flow from high positive to negative ratios. Call us!
On Parenting: Teach Your Kids Optimism
The biggest name in positive psychology research is Martin Seligman, from the University of Pennsylvania. Notably, before he was famous for his work in positive psychology he wrote a little known book, called Learned Optimism.
The book considers the empirical research with respect to pessimistic and optimistic beliefs and behaviors. No surprise, one of these is MUCH better than the other. What is interesting is Selgiman’suse of the principles of cognitive behavior therapy and applying them to basic child-rearing situations. How we talk to our children shapes the way that they interpret and get meaning from their environment. By using language thoughtfully and helping children see information in useful contexts, you can teach them an optimistic way of living life.
For example, if you ever hear a child say, “Its not fair. I never get my way.” By simply asking, “Do you sometimes get your way?” changes the way that the child had inadvertently been laying down pessimistic beliefs. A child will respond to such a question and, even if they don’t admit it at first, recognize that sometimes they do get what they want.
The book is filled with practical ways in which we can instill helpful, more optimistic thinking styles in our kids. If you are a parent, we recommend this book unequivocally.
Happiness as a Measure of Societal Success and a Guide to Social Policy
The little nation of Bhutan chose to make Gross National Happiness its primary measure of national success long, long before anyone else was talking about positive psychology. Today it looks like the little kingdom had tremendous foresight.
Doesn’t measuring Gross National Happiness make sense at a very intuitive level? The idea is simply that non-economic measures of well being are more important than traditional measures of national wealth. Of course, wealth factors into well-being, but it is a relatively small factor. Much evidence exists that wealthier people are not happier than people who make adequate incomes (roughly $75,000 in a North American household).
So if happiness does not follow necessarily from wealth, why do almost all nations use monetary measures as the prime indicator of national success? What is the most important human attainment: happiness or material accumulation?
Things are starting to change. More and more mainstream opinion leaders are recognizing that national (and global) success cannot be measured by the monetary quantification of the goods and services produced. The United Kingdom officially uses Happiness as a measure of social policy success. Other countries are beginning to incorporate similar measures. And, of course, several global think tanks have been doing so for a number of years.
If you want to learn the case for Gross National Happiness, here is an academic explanation for the benefits and merit of using happiness as a measure of national success: