On a recent Southwest flight out of Chicago, I found myself starring at the magazine headline peaking out of the seat pocket in front of me. “Happiness – It’s less elusive than you think” and some of the article’s statistics inspired me.
Study after study suggests that there are tremendous benefits – at home, work, in our body, heart and mind – to being happy. Managers who praise their employees just one more time each day can raise productivity 31 percent. People who just thought about watching their favorite movie raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. According to one expert, only 10 percent of our happiness hinges on external forces. The happiest time of the day for 40 percent of people is catching up with loved ones after work. Unhappy employees stay home at an average of 1.25 more days per month than happy employees. Doctors in a positive mood make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster than those in a neutral state. The rest is up to us. The article went on to describe what makes other people happy – everything from cupcakes to surf boards, from a memory book to a pet hen. Whatever really makes me happy has meaning and brings pleasure such as smiling and watching the reaction in others. So what makes you happy?