Tag Archives: news

What Does The Science Say About Staying Happy At Work?

A lack of happiness in the workplace is a big issue. So it won’t come as any surprise that scientists are trying to figure out what makes workers see the brighter side of life. Unhappy employees lead to high rates of absenteeism and high turnover and it all damages business’s bottom lines.

So how does one create a happy workplace? It all comes down to positive psychology and positive emotions. It’s the reverse to how we usually think about our mental wellbeing. We see mental health as all the things that can go wrong with our minds. But positive psychology is different, It asks what we can do to actively make ourselves happy.

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The findings from this field are relevant and can be applied to the workplace. Let’s take a look at some of the field’s most pertinent conclusions.

Positive Emotions Are Contagious

In one study researchers wanted to find out if positive emotions were contagious. They set up a group situation and planted an actor in its midst. The actor was trained by the researchers to exude positivity in the group setting. The researchers found that the person acting positively transmitted their positivity to others. The group experienced less conflict, more cooperation and better performance in doing tasks.

It showed that being around positive people really does have an impact on workplace productivity and wellbeing. Being around happy people rubs off on the rest of us misery guts.

Small Actions Have A Big Impact On Personal Happiness

You might think that in order to achieve happiness, something incredible has to happen – like winning the lottery. But the evidence suggests that people react far more positively to the smaller things. This is great news for employers, as it means that they don’t have to spend vast sums of money trying to make their workers happier.

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Take bereavement for example. As the bereavement leave guide by Peninsula Group explains, employers don’t have a duty to provide workers with time off right now. But employers who allow compassionate leave can help to improve the wellbeing of their employees enormously. Small gestures like this are surprisingly effective. So too as things like making lists of all the good things a worker did or writing a letter saying how much a worker helped you.

The Unexpected Makes Us Happy

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When good things happen to us that we didn’t predict, it makes us a lot happier. The researchers found that people’s happiness centres lit up more on MRI scans when positive stimuli were unexpected.

At work, managers often create very predictable happiness programmes for their employees. They organise summer and Christmas parties. They give out bonuses. And they organise team events. But when it comes to happiness, this might not be the best strategy. It might be better, in fact, to make your happiness activities more random and to surprise your employees.

Random acts of kindness around the workplace seems to be the way to go. You could surprise a high-performing employee with a reward. Or you could give workers a surprise trip out of the office to a local theme park. The possibilities are endless.

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Reflection

So this morning I was in work, and while I was sipping my coffee and working on my weekly reports, I hear the mention of a crashing plane. Being still not wide awake, at such an ungodly hour on a Monday morning, it took me some time until it registered in my head that there was an actual plane crash.

I was even more shocked when I Googled the words “plane crash” and I saw the word MALTA.

I have never in my 29 years of life, heard of such incidents on Maltese shores. I must say, this has shaken me to the core. I got goosebumps all over as soon as I read the article, and even more so when I watched the video. Two explosions, fire everywhere, people crying as they witness what has happened. It was crazy. Heartbroken.

There were no survivors, and if you watch the video, you can understand why.

In moments like these, I can’t help but reflect on my life. How short life is, how unpredictable it is. As a frequent flyer myself, tragedies like these although they won’t convince me to stay bound to Malta forever, make me realise how fragile we are, how although rare such things happen – even if it never occur to us that it will happen to us, or someone close to us.

With this in my mind, I urge you to hold on to your loved ones a little bit tighter tonight and to not be afraid to love and be honest always. Life is precious, and once our heart stops beating that is it.

My deepest and sincere condolences to the families of the lost souls.
Rest in peace.

I’ll be there for you…

It seems that in the past few years, several people who I used to know or I was at school with, have decided to give up. They have realised that it is time, they’d let their struggles win, and simply let go of their physical life.

The news I read today, has devastated me.

It just makes me realise how fragile we are… How people can appear like they are having the time of their life from the outside, yet they feel dead inside; empty.
I can speak from experience when I say, that some of us can hide their feelings very well from the society we live in, and only break down when alone, in a safe place. I guess, it is difficult to admit that we are weak, in the fear of being ridiculed or shut down, when we show our true feelings. Experiencing neglect and being misunderstood is definitely much worse than feeling sad and insecure in your own head.

But this is our problem. If we don’t admit defeat, if we don’t ask for help… how do we get better? How can we win a fight we are not even trying to battle?

Moreover, if it is not you, but a friend of yours, how would you manage to detect their depression, insecurities and concerns? How can you help them, without making them admit they are suffering and going downhill?

I keep wondering, if someone knew what was going on, maybe the death could have been prevented? If someone cared enough, offered a cushion or a shoulder, tried to understand… Maybe the world could lose less people to suicide.

Which language do you think with?

This is a weird one, I know.

I have been, for years on end now, thinking and “talking to myself” in a foreign language. By foreign language, I mean English. Malta is a bilingual country, and in fact we start learning English at the young age of six. I always loved the language and the literature that came with it. I always carried a book with me and preferred British TV and movies over Italian (I’m mentioning Italian because all of my friends watched Italian TV when I was growing up).

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Although I love the English language, I knew that there is one barrier that I won’t be able to surpass. This is, because even though I know that my spoken and written English is better than the average Joe’s, I will never have enough practice verbally to become super fluent and master it as it was my first language.

It was in 2011, when things changed for me. Leaving Malta meant that I had to leave my mother tongue behind (to an extend). When I landed in Manchester airport, I knew that at this point,  I have to deal with people in English. I think, that this is when my head decided that I should start thinking in English. I think, this was rather beneficial (yes, I googled it):

  • Apparently, if you think in a foreign language, you are not only practicing the language itself but also learning new vocabulary. It’s almost like when you are reading a book for the very first time.
  • Another reason according to a study is that since a foreign language provides psychological distance because you need to make a bit of an effort to use it, it will affect your reasoning and decision making in the sense that they become less biased, more analytic, and more systematic.

In reality, in my daily life, unless I am speaking with my friends and colleagues, everything else is done using the English language, which means that I was very surprised that it took my brain this long to switch languages:

  • Reading news, blogs, articles
  • Google searches are conducted in English
  • Reading Books
  • Listening to music
  • Making use of laptops (or computers) and phones using an English interface
  • Watching TV, Movies and Series

Am I the only one who took this leap? Do you think in your native language or did you choose another familiar language to do so? I want to know! 🙂

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//Obviously this is targeted to users who can speak multiple languages rather than just the one.

First Advise / Opinion contact received

So today I have received the first contact on my website, asking for advice. I am  really happy about this, because it means that random people are coming across my blog, and they are entrusting me in being part of their decision making.

I would like to thank this person, and let them know that I will be replying to their question tomorrow. This delay is so that I can think it through and give you the best answer possible. It will be worth the wait I hope 🙂

If you do have any questions or feedback, please do so by clicking here.