Happiness & Productivity

Updated: May 18, 2020

Happiness & productivity, these really fall under cause and effect because one expands the other. Statistics say, the secret to launching a productive day starts when you're first getting out of bed! While the first cup of coffee is crucial, spending a couple extra minutes smoothing the comforter back and rearranging pillows will actually lead more productive lives!

It may sound silly that such a small task would influence the rest of your day, but a new survey from Best Mattress Brand, found that completing this chore actually gives people an early sense of accomplishment that then helps them feel more productive throughout the rest of the day. More than eight in 10 bed-makers felt this way!

I've been talking with a friend who is in a challenging situation. This friend is quarantined in an emotionally abusive home. In the past, nuances of sexual abuse lingered in this home making it an unsafe place. All while, this friend's mother remains emotionally complacent due to her incestual presence.

My friend is trying to single handedly change their life by pursuing a life of any kind, less miserable and intentional all during this global pandemic. My friend will find happiness and productivity with the right support and guidance. During this global pandemic and feeling stuck, motivation is hard to maintain. This friend is no longer fighting for peace single handedly because, I’m here to give him/her a hand. Asking for help is so hard and yet so very important. My friend is finding more joy as he/she maintains a level of productivity polluting him/her into the future they desire to have. Being productive is very important, and especially during this time in 2020.

Happiness translates to productivity, and visa versa. When happy in our works (whether a hobby or career) people will find significant positive improvements on productivity.

According to Authentic Happiness, a book written by psychologist Martin Seligman, his studies conclude that happy people received better results in performance evaluations as well as higher salaries.

The Brain & The Future

Psychologist Martin Seligman talks about the default network. He talks about how you integrate your default responses with your personal concerns and your vision of your future.

EXAMPLE: My feelings about spending time with groups of friends brings out feelings of frustration and sadness. I miss my friends and this Stay at Home Order is tough on us extroverts!

When I engage the default network impulse, I come face to face with my personal concerns. Concerns like, will I ever see my friends again? How can I see them now? I daydream about spending quality time with these friends that I miss so greatly. When in reality I know that my days consist of isolation and washing my hands a hundred times a day!

Fortunately technology has provided a solution for this need and by going through this thought process I likely saved myself from a panic attack. I was able to deescalate frustrations and talk myself down from pursuing a rebellion against the Stay at Home Order by pursuing creative ways to connect with them and hope for a bright friendship when we can meet again later. Beautiful!

Sometimes, life can feel intolerable but if we take happiness and the future and expand them within our moral circle; which is unfortunately the most difficult psychological problem, we can then make it a habit allowing us to actually can do it!

Can you measure happiness? I prefer to aim for contentment rather than happiness. For me, that seems more sustainable and balanced. It denies pursuing an extremist mentality or a lack of your right to be sad or angry sometimes. Martin Seligman encourages making the goal to be less miserable rather than trying to be more happy.

Skills to rid yourself of depression, anger and anxiety are different from the skills that lead to being happy, having meaning in life and good relationships. What makes up a good life in your daydream? In short, pour yourself into positivity, focus on your strengths but acknowledge your weaknesses. Check out Martin Seligman's Positive Psychology Center to learn more!

Learned helplessness

Seligman has been researching positivity for years. He once conducted an experiment studying learned helplessness. He found that when people and animals experience bad events that they couldn't do anything about, they'd just lay there, defeated. Positivity, in its main benefit, has made learned helplessness weak. The mechanism of optimism and hope, of positivity is trying. When optimists fail, they keep trying!

So, for my friend and for you who may feel helpless, you must try and be relentless in your pursuit! Try to imagine a future that you're actually passionate about! Try to pursue the default network and try to do what you intuitively believe will bring you nearer to a life you love, doing what you love with relationships that you're grateful for.

Let's step out of the pity party and into the action of living! Anything works if you do it enough and don’t give up. Take the steps you need to that will help you find joy in life! You can train your brain to see the silver linings of this quarantine, find what excites you in the simple things, the once mundane and the relationships you have supporting you. Happiness is out there just waiting for you to get out of your own way so that you can come join the party.

What will it take for you? Find happiness in productivity. Find productivity in your happiness!

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