Make 2015 the Year of Happiness: it has a bigger impact than you think


Make 2015 the Year of Happiness: it has a bigger impact than you think 

Smiling and happiness are such an important element of our culture that the topic has been the focus of songs, poems, speeches, and even scientific studies. The act of smiling is so intriguing that numerous researchers across disciplines have studied its origins for more than 150 years. Even our forefathers mention it in the U.S. Declaration of Independence giving all men the right to “the pursuit of happiness.” Charles Darwin, best known for his work on evolutionary theory, found the topic of happiness worthy of study as evidenced in his work on human emotion published in 1872.

The latest research finds that there is more to the smile than meets the eye. The research shows numerous positive benefits created by the simple act of smiling including the reduction of stress, boosted positive thinking, steadied heart rate (which enhances more rational thinking and problem-solving), and increased productivity. People who smile also tend to live longer (related to less stress, perhaps?). The research is more than anecdotal, smiling signals the release of neuropeptides, tiny molecules that facilitate communication between neurons. Smiling releases the neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin) responsible for making us feel good both physically and mentally.

Smiles are also infectious. When you smile at someone, they return the gesture. It makes both you and your teammates feel better. Smiling creates a constructive, positive work environment – a critical element to increasing productivity. It strengthens relationships among team members, improves communication, and fortifies cooperation. Simply put, a team with a positive outlook produces greater amounts of work with higher accuracy rates.

How can you help your team smile? Start with a Gratitude List. Keep a running list of all you are thankful for in your life – both personally and professionally. Finding it difficult to start your list? Look around, there’s bound to be something. Well, if you can see that pen in your hand, start with your eyesight and build from there. Look for the good, even when things aren’t going as planned. If work isn’t bringing you or your team joy, create a Gratitude List as a team. Start the New Year with a commitment to smile more and to help your team do the same.

Let’s “face” it, smiling is not only good for you, it’s good for business. Make 2015 the year of happiness!