Monday, December 18, 2017

Do you feel loved? A Love and Happiness Data Story

Do you feel loved? A Love and Happiness Data Story
Post written by Alice Vo Edwards and Laura Musikanski 

Do you feel loved? 

This is one of the questions in the Happiness Index. This month we look at data from November, 2017 for 968 people answering the question between November 1 and 30th on a five point scale. An answer of one means "I never feel loved l" and an answer of 5 means "I feel loved very often or always."  

The most frequent and the average answer is "I feel loved sometimes" (290 people).  266 people responded that "I feel loved often," and 244 responded "I feel loved often or always."  Only 5% said that they never feel loved. 
So how about you? Do you feel loved never, rarely, sometimes, often, or very often or always.  Your answer might be partly contingent on your age.

Some ideas, based on the book, The Five Languages of Love: 
  • Listen attentively without offering advice. 
  • Doing something nice for them. 
  • Give a small gift periodically out of the blue. 
  • Taking time to hug or cuddle if they want that.
  • Tell them good things about them. 

Then ask for their feedback on your idea. Listen! Revise your idea based on their feedback, and ask again for their feedback. Do this until they say you do understand them.

Set the intention to spend a little time each day demonstrating love, and do it. Pick up when you lapse. Everybody does. It's no big deal as long as you pick back up. 

Love & Age Takeaway: If you have a young person in your life, take some time to reflect on how you can interact with that person so they feel that they are loved. 

The overwhelming majority of things that made people happy can be summarized in one word: Connection.

The things that made people happy involved their connections with other people primarily (family, love, friends, people, relationships), but also included our surroundings (nature) and animals.

One outlier was that food made the #4 spot in November for "in one word, what makes you happy?" It would be interesting to know if those that answered "food" think of food in context with connecting with others -- is this about eating Hagen Daz alone at home,  or Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family? Yet another example of how everything I learn just leaves me with more questions!

Also interesting to me that this data supports the national focus on building community and connections with others as being the top thing that can be done to prevent suicide. If you know of someone who might be lonely this holiday season, maybe invite them to dinner and give them a little food and connection at the same time. 

Workplace happiness: Key factors to consider

Workplace Happiness: Key Factors to Consider 
Post written by Lilli Hender

Happiness isn’t always the easiest thing to come by but attempting to find it is a worthwhile endeavour. Achieving happiness in every aspect of your life is a daunting task to set yourself, so it can be helpful to break down the human experience into separate categories.

In her Ted Talk about stress triggers for millennials, Allison Osborne refers to a ‘personal priority pie’ that consists of: friends and family; significant other; work and career; personal and spiritual development; health and wellness; and finally, fun and leisure. They are all interconnected but working out the key ingredients you want to focus on in your ‘pie’ can help you towards improving your happiness levels.

When we spend on average 90,000 hours at work over the course of a lifetime, the work and career ‘slice’ is naturally going to be a priority for many people. In terms of happiness in the workplace and contentment with your career path, there are a variety of factors that bear serious consideration. Lilli Hender, of Office Genie, recently wrote a whitepaper on workplace happiness and she shares her insights.

Job satisfaction

How comfortable you are in your job has a significant impact on your overall happiness. If you’re not satisfied with your working life, it can be detrimental to your health, your wellbeing and your relationships. When Office Genie surveyed 2,000 office workers they discovered the top five causes for discontentment and stress are as follows:

·       Feeling overworked (47%)
·       Feeling a lack of control over my role (25%)
·       Not feeling fulfilled (25%)
·       Not feeling challenged (22%)
·       A bad relationship with management (21%)

In terms of what would improve workplace happiness, pay rises were voted the top solution. While pay rises can go some of the way to tackling the above complaints, – if you’re feeling overworked for too little pay, for example – there’s more that needs to be considered. Two things in particular can go some of the way to helping: flexible working and fostering a good relationship with your boss.

Becoming more flexible

Not only can flexible hours boost your engagement with work, they allow you to have more control over the role and, importantly, your life more generally. If you have to get the children to school or need to book a doctors’ appointment, rather than stressing about getting to work late or having to take time off, you can work adapted hours and make up the time when you can.
The right to request flexible working is available to all UK employees provided they have been with the company for 26 weeks or more. Employers must respond within three months of the request and the request encompasses: part-time employment; remote working; flexi-time; staggered hours; and compressed hours. The better your work/life balance, the happier you’re more likely to be.

You and your boss

When you type “my boss is” into Google an array of depressing search suggestions come up, the first three of which are “my boss is crazy”, “my boss is mean” and “my boss is bullying me”.  Bad relationships with managers have been shown to lead to stress and, on the flip side, apathy.
Discussing the problems you have with your boss isn’t an easy task: they are in a senior position and while they should take criticism on board, it’s understandable to fear it will negatively impact the relationship further. Honesty is very important, however, and sometimes necessary if you want things to change.
If your manager has an open-door policy, make the most of it. Voice concerns in a measured manner and one which encourages practical applications. Stressors such as the ones found in Office Genie’s Workplace Happiness Report are too big to be overlooked. Your boss ultimately wants you to do the best job you can, and if they can help, even if it means them adapting too, they should and (generally) will. Have faith!
To find out more about the relationship between work and happiness, the Harvard Business Review note a range of studies and literature on the subject in the article, ‘The Research We’ve Ignored About Happiness at Work’.