4 Ways to Be Happier – A Scientific Approach

I talk a lot about ways to keep your business from experiencing crises, how to manage your business during a crisis, and stories of those who went through crises and how we got them out the other side. But today I want to touch briefly on a topic that I’ll revisit from time to time because it’s very important as well: happiness.

Running a company or being a manager or whatever leadership capacity you inhabit that makes you read this blog (and I say thanks to all you readers and those who have subscribed recently) can be stressful. And a central topic of this blog is crisis, which is also particularly stressful for most people – that’s why I wrote my list of 5 Foolish Faux Pas of CEOs in Crisis (that result mostly due to stress they don’t know how to manage).

With all this potential stress, it’s important that you are happy. Sure, you can’t walk around with a smile on your face all day long, but you can be a happy – or happier – person and business leader. If you’re not, you should rethink your day job.

What I want to share with you was inspired by a quick blurb in a magazine I was recently reading. It’s 4 ways that studies and research show are scientifically proven to boost your happiness. Without further ado, here they are:

1. Do Good Deeds. We’ve talked about this a lot before – how you can use your time and work and energy to help others. If you want a refresher, check out my 7-Part Series, Giving Back During Tough Economic Times. Helping others, as long as it doesn’t become a¬†repetitive¬†activity, makes us feel happier.

2. Get Exercise. It’s been repeatedly shown that exercise doesn’t have to be intense or sustained to be effective. Just 30 minutes of walking a day is literally the single best thing you can do for your health. No joke! How can you do that in the office? Take your meetings while walking around the office or outside the office for some fresh air or vitamin D. You can also do your phone calls this way. Trust me, a little walk always clears the head, releases endorphins (if you get your heart rate up) and makes you happier.

3. Get Hugged. I don’t mean to be encouraging inappropriate office conduct, but people who get hugs are happier. We need basic human contact. Make sure you’re hugging your spouse or parents or whomever can provide you with this bit of happiness.

4. Get a Pet. This one isn’t for me, because I have allergies, but I love stopping by my kids’ place and seeing their pets. Pets are proven to lower stress and make us feel better.

All four of these ideas are great ways to increase your happiness and destress as you run a business – especially a business in crisis. Make sure that you’re doing the things that let you care for yourself and be happy. That happiness and self care will go a long way in its positive effects on your business and corporate culture.

If you haven’t subscribed yet to my blog, please note that it’s free to do so, and updates of my latest posts will come right to your inbox. Just subscribe by entering your email in the box at the top of the right hand column.

As usual, I welcome comments and questions below! I’d love to know which of the methods above helps you increase your happiness.

Thanks for Getting it Right, G.K. Chesterton

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution; it’s that they can’t see the problem.”

– G.K. Chesterton

Boy did ol’ Ches hit the nail on the head with this one.

No one’s ever called me and said, “Lee, I’m going to have a problem three weeks from Thursday.”

It’s not that people don’t know three weeks prior to a crisis that they’re going to have an issue, but they don’t perceive the problem as substantial enough to call me in soon enough. Sure, their issue seems like a problem, but if people thought that the problem would turn into the crisis it would, I think they’d dig my card out of the Roll-A-Dex earlier (continuing to use a Roll-A-Dex may be indicative of another problem in your business…).

At that point, knowing the solution isn’t the issue – I can figure out the solution. What I need people to see is the problem they have, and more specifically, its magnitude.

You can’t resolve anything if you haven’t clearly identified the problem.

Have you ever waited too long to resolve a problem? What was it and what did you do?