Happiness is…..

By Carol Odell

Have you ever considered that mind-wandering can affect your happiness? And your productivity?

Matthew Killingsworth discusses his findings from his research study in the article, The Future of Happiness Research in the January-February 2012 Harvard Business Review.

Killingsworth says that our mind wanders nearly half the time and that lowers our mood. We have always heard that we need to feed ourselves positive thoughts. Now, we know why. Right? If we don’t make an effort to be positive we tend to think negative or neutral thoughts, and down goes our mood.

I was floored when I read what Killingsworth says about how much our minds wander. It’s 60% while commuting, 30% when talking to someone and about 50% of our work day! Obviously, we don’t stay focused as much as we think or want.

As managers, employees, spouses, parents, and/or friends, staying focused is important and we need to improve. Killingsworth suggests that when we get up in the morning we should ask ourselves, “What am I going to do with my mind today?”

Reflective listening helps me stay focused when someone is talking. In other words, I rephrase what the person has said, and say it back to him. When I am working or reading, I repeat thoughts out loud or read out loud to stop my mind from wandering.

What do you do? We all need tips to keep focused and happy.

Killingsworth also talks about happiness on the job being more about our moment-to-moment experiences rather than a high salary or a prestigious title. Once again, we are hearing it’s the small things that count.

What are the small things that make a difference in your day or happiness? Pass your thoughts along and you could help make a difference in our happiness, too.


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