Why focus on happiness? Because it matters….at work, at home, in life.
June 13, 2017 • 1,920 Likes • 86 Comments
Many Of Us Are Not Happy
The U.S. economy may be recovering, but Americans aren’t getting any happier in life: Only one in three Americans say they’re very happy, according to a recent Harris poll. For all ages, the survey reflected a general decline in optimism levels among Americans.
And we are not any happier with our careers: Gallup found that only 13% of workers feel engaged by their jobs with the vast majority, some 63% feel “not engaged…” Basically that summarizes into a message of “Many of us are not happy at all with how we are spending their days…or our lives”.
Why it Matters?
Why does this matter? Well, in large part because being unhappy is a difficult way to live one’s life.
And because being unhappy (or sad) is linked to heart disease, putting a person at increased risk for stroke, diabetes….Depression, chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function hastening heart disease and increasing risk of infections/colds/flu or worse.
And for those who really suffer from unhappiness, depression sets in. About 15 million Americans or nearly 7% of the population suffers from depression, according to National Institute of Mental Health. And for some of these 15 million people, regardless of race, age, rich or poor, they will commit suicide. In fact, depression is the leading reason for suicide.
And while we talk a lot about our physical health, we don’t talk as much about our mental health… But we really need to.
We All Know Someone Who Needs Support
Honestly, can you say you don’t know someone who gets depressed, anxious, stressed? Even though at work it is common place to talk about our headaches, stomachaches, bad hips/knees, it is “verboten” to talk about depression, anxiety or other emotions which are not positive. (Talk about a society bias pressuring people to ‘appear’ happy and immune to the difficulties of daily living…)
We WANT To Be Happy
The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (394-322 B.C.) observed that no person deliberately chooses to be unhappy. So, if this is the case, then human beings wish to be happy.
But for those who are depressed, anxious, stressed, it can be hard to “get happy” since depression (and the like) is not something you can “will” yourself into undoing—its way more complex. However, there are tips, tools and daily actions people can take to feel less sad, less anxious and more hopeful.
10 Actions to Try
So, in the spirit of creating “resilience” in the face of depression, sadness or anxiety, I’ve developed a Top 10 List. For those wanting to be happier—whether at work, at home or in life, I hope you will try to do some of these actions and feel better for it:
- Commit to doing one nice thing for yourself every day
- Try to look at the bigger picture
- Do some simple exercise
- Laugh AND cry if the mood strikes
- Eliminate toxic people in your life and workplace
- Prioritize your health
- Enlist a professional
- Dive into something creative like drawing, writing, painting
- Eat well
- Accept yourself as you are right now
My sincerest hope for anyone who feels vulnerable, sad, or alone is that they reach out to someone-anyone-to open a ‘curtain of light’ during dark times.
About the author: Recognized by LinkedIn as a “Top Voice” in Health Care in 2015 & 2106, author Julie Kliger is passionate about improving health care. She is a consultant, author and speaker. She specializes in healthcare quality, organizational change and improvement.