The reasons why we have asked this question is that today is International Day of Happiness.
International Day of Happiness was an idea put forward by the United Nations and is co-ordinated by the organisation Action for Happiness.
Action for Happiness believes that progress in life and business can be made through happiness and well-being and not solely through economic strategies.
Their campaigns look at how we can be a happier as a global community. They have previously covered topics like relationships, (personal and professional) and how to improve social interactions (getting away from interacting online and connecting with people face to face).
With this in mind, we thought is being happy at work really important?
What is happiness?
Defining happiness is actually quite difficult and scientists have spent years trying to work out what happiness is (yes, really). They have come up with the following definition “happiness is when your life fulfils your needs”.
In other words, when you feel content with your life you are in a state of happiness.
Happiness is not earning lots of money, owning a large house, driving a sports car, owning an expensive bag, travelling first class, or, going on exotic holidays. All these things we listed give us ‘pleasure’. Pleasure is a fleeting feeling and over time fades. Once it’s gone, we then seek out new things that will bring this feeling back.
What creates happiness?
This is not easy to list as different things make people happy. There is not one universal thing that makes us all happy. For example in your personal life it could be owning a house in an area you always wanted to live, or, taking up a new hobby that you really like doing.
In your professional live it could be learning a new skill that will make doing the work you do easier, working on a project that you find rewarding or challenging, or, working alongside colleagues that you can learn from.
Is happiness at work important?
Yes, it is. If we are unhappy at work this can impact your personal life. No matter how hard you try it is difficult to leave work at the office and not bring it home with you. It is not fun to be around someone who vents their frustrations to family and friends.
Feeling happy can make us better at our jobs. When we feel happy the brain releases certain chemicals, these include Serotonin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine.
Serotonin gets the body ready for sleep. If you lack Seratonin you will not be able to rest properly. Low levels of Serotonin is also linked to depression and anxiety.
Dopamine controls the body’s energy and alertness levels. If you are producing Dopamine you are likely to more alert and enthusiastic.
When the body is producing Norepinephrine your attention and motivation levels are greater.
So, as you can see being happy at work can make you better at your job!