Reduce your Stress and Be Happier in 3 easy steps
Overall happiness and well being is made up of a variety of components from good work to financial satisfaction to having time to do what you love. One simple way to increase your level of feeling good, healthy, and having overall joie de vivre is to focus on the people you hang out with and what you do together.
#1 Hangout with People who are Happy
What more could you want than to reduce your stress and feel happy. The easiest way is hangout with happy people. The more you hangout with people who are happy your chances of feeling good increases 15%. “People are embedded in social networks and the health and well being of one person affects the health and well being of others,” stated Nicholas Christakis in a 2008 Harvard study.
Combining our need for social interaction with our need for social well-being is a great step in increasing your joy in life. Of course, those relationships also need to be health, supportive, and make you feel good. Take happiness a step further to overall health and longevity, Rath and Harter, in their book Well Being, discuss the risk of dying from heart disease or getting sick is twice as likely for people who have few close relationships. Close relationships affect our health and well-being and even more so if they are in close proximity.
Work Relationships Count a Great Deal
Studies show that people who have a best friend at work are happier. Make friends (if you don’t already have some at work) with whom you can share, talk, laugh, and chat over lunch. If you work alone, make sure you talk to others (as well as social network) throughout the day. Call someone for a coffee chat and up your level of happiness for the day.
In reflecting back over my career, there was a direct correlation between being happy at work and working with not only great people, but a good friend as well. Given this is not always possible, look to build deeper relationships at work with people you enjoy being around and make you feel good.
For many people work is often isolating and doesn’t provide for watercooler chat. As a result it is even more important to find ways to increase socializing into your work day. Some recent data from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being study showed that to have a great day we need six hours of social time. Therefore, it is not just who we are around, but how much we are socializing.
Finding Ways to Schedule Socializing into your work day
- Leave time before and after conference calls with people you like at work to share stories, joke, catch-up on life.
- Email stories, articles, blogpostings, jokes to your work-friends and ask for their comments and thoughts.
- Ask a work-friend to go to lunch once a week – away from the desk.
- Ask a work-friend to go for a walk, to the gym, or a dance class during lunch
- Call a work-friend and just say “Good Morning.”
If you have almost no social time in any given day, you have an equal chance of a good or a bad day. Each hour of social time decreases the chance of having a bad day. This may seem like a lot of time, but people studied who have thriving wellbeing average about 6 hours a day of social time- on the phone, in person, home, work, e-mail count.
We have all learned by now that trying to keep up with the Joneses is no way to live.
Yet, we have this ingrained barometer that ticks off when we hear or see someone with something more than ourselves.
Because we view money in relative not absolute terms we are often irrational in our thinking. We are wired to be “loss averse.” It hurts more to lose money than to win money. At the same time we don’t treat money equally in terms of our “feeling about it.”
Which would you choose,
- Win $50 at Bingo or
- Have $50 cut from your phone bill.
It is the same $50, but we don’t see it that way.
On the other hand when we pay with a credit card we get to experience the pleasure of buying without the pain (yet) of what it will cost. Using this rationale, the Money Gurus tell us to automate the same process in reverse—set up automatic deductions for taxes, IRA, Health Accounts, Savings so that we can use this same system to our advantage. Once they are set up we rarely change them.
Other defaults might include, telling your mortgage broker to contact you when rates drop ¾ to 1 percentage point below what you have now. If in fact, you can refinance you might save thousands of dollars over the course of a home loan.
Some research shows that when an employer automatically enrolls a new hire into the retirement plan, participation increases dramatically. If not, we just get lazy.
Finding ways to set up these defaults will increase your feelings about your financial situation and move you in a positive direction.