How to harness happiness
What makes you happy?
This question may seem a little vague, but it is an important one to consider.
Why? Well, happy people are more content; they tend to live longer; and they are better able to enjoy life*. While it may not be possible to simply choose to be happy, you can work on your overall emotional wellbeing.
But where do you begin?
According to the EQ-i 2.0 model, the following components of emotional intelligence tend to be associated with happiness and developing these can lead to improvements in your overall wellbeing:
Self-Regard – Self-regard refers to respecting yourself and being confident in your own abilities. People higher in self-regard are more likely to feel good about themselves and this leads to enhanced life satisfaction and wellbeing*. Reflecting on previous accomplishments and your strengths and weaknesses are both useful ways to begin developing your self-regard.
Self-Actualisation – Self-actualisation includes the pursuit of self-improvement and engaging in meaningful goals. Research suggests that this commitment to learning can contribute to your overall happiness, with staff development opportunities promoting wellbeing in the workplace**. If you would like to develop this, start by considering what you are passionate about and ensure you are spending time working on these areas that are most important to you.
Interpersonal Relationships – This focuses on building and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships with others. Stronger interpersonal skills help to protect you from the negative effects of stress because you are more likely to have a support network to rely on during difficult times. To develop relationships within the workplace, you could join (or start) a mentoring or peer support programme**. This can help establish connections with your colleagues and research suggests that supporting others also improves your wellbeing***.
Optimism – Optimism refers to your expectations about the future and how you respond to setbacks. Optimistic people are better able to manage stress and tend to maintain a positive outlook during difficult situations*. One way to develop your optimism is to reframe your failures and challenges in a positive light by viewing them as learning opportunities. This perspective encourages you to focus on what you have gained from an experience and improves your resilience.
Organisations have a responsibility to invest in the wellbeing of their employees, with work-related stress being one of the main causes of absence****. However, as an individual, you can start working on your own wellbeing today by developing your emotional intelligence.
Learn more about the EQ-i 2.0 model.
* Stein, S. J., & Book, H. E. (2011). The EQ edge: Emotional intelligence and your success. John Wiley & Sons.
**Mind. (n.d.). How to promote wellbeing and tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems. Retrieved from: https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4662/resource3_howtopromotewellbeingfinal.pdf
*** NHS. (2019). 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing. Retrieved from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/
**** CIPD. (2020). Health and well-being at work. Retrieved from: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/health-and-well-being-2020-report_tcm18-73967.pdf