Hulk by Nefi Florián from The Noun Project

Hulk by Nefi Florián from The Noun Project

Here at 99U, we talk a lot about pushing ideas forward and getting things done. But we never forget that we’re still human, and that we must factor in a key variable into our systems that strongly affects our work: emotions. Not being in the right mood can have a dramatic impact on productivity. Conversely, studies demonstrate that happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantageshares a list of activities that not only give us a quick boost of positive emotions, but can help permanently raise happiness if performed habitually over time:

  • Commit Conscious Acts of Kindness – “Acts of altruism decrease stress and contribute to enhanced mental health.” To get the most cognitive benefit, acts of kindness should be deliberate and conscious. Pick a day and commit to five acts of kindness. Buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive through. Send an encouraging email.
  • Infuse Positivity Into Your Surroundings – Make your place of work a positive space, take a break mid-day, avoid negative emotions. Even just “spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boost[s] positive mood, but broaden[s] thinking and improve[s] working memory.”
  • Spend Money (but Not on Stuff) – Research shows that spending money on experiences and activities rather than on material purchases makes us happier in the moment and over time. Go to a concert, bring donuts to the office, send flowers to your spouse.
  • Exercise a Signature Strength – When we do the things that we are good at and that are tied to our character traits, we reap lasting benefits and again, increase our baseline happiness level. This is more than just “pursuing your passion.” It’s the daily practice of the very strengths that make you you. If you’re unsure, take this free survey to find out: www.viasurvey.org

For more ideas, read Anchor’s blog post over at The Huffington Post.

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