If you’re feeling blue, you are not alone. A recent Galup study shows that American well-being has not improved in six years and actually took a tumble in 2013. As a nation, we are a collective group of sad saps. Other reports suggests that 85 percent of Americans are unhappy in their current jobs. Where are you on the happiness continuum?
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find rewarding, life altering work. I’m not talking about success here. Many of us are successful by obvious financial measures, career progression and the amount of shit we collect. Many findings highlight that high percentages of professionally successful people and those with significant wealth are actually not happy. It’s shown, too, that financial and career success could actually be hindering our happiness and well-being.
Jackie Ruka, author of “Get Happy and Create a Kick Butt Life!” says that as a society we have gotten it backwards: “it’s happiness that leads to success not vice versa.” Some forward-thinking companies like Zappos, Google and Pfizer work to include “happiness” as part of their company culture.
You are unlikely to make a drastic career move tomorrow so what can you do to eradicate the blues? Ruka offers these scientifically studied happiness strategies:
- Savor ordinary events. Study participants who took time to do this showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression.
- Avoid comparisons. Why are you worried about what someone else has? Focus on your own personal achievements instead of making comparisons to others will better impact your happiness and self-esteem.
- Put money low on the list. According to researchers Kasser and Ryan, those who put money high on the priority list are at greater risk for depression.
- Have meaningful goals.
- Make friends and treasure family. Social capital is important to well-being. Just make sure that they are genuine and meaningful. Lose the losers.
- Take initiative at work. Make your work more rewarding.
- Fake it until you make it. Act happy until you are happy. Studies show that this actually works.
- Keep a gratitude journal. I like to keep a mental running list of things I’m thankful for.
- Get Moving. According to a Duke University study, exercise may be as effective as drugs in treating depression.
- Serve others. Helping others, volunteering, donating goods and services results in more health benefits than exercising or quitting smoking.
So don’t wallow in the blues. There are things that you can do to improve your mental health while you develop a way to improve your career situation. Have you found the secret to happiness? What suggestions do you have for the rest of us?
Part 2 of Mood Indigo will be about controlling your stress and mood through environment so please check it out. Credit for much of this information goes to Stephanie Fisher at Kern Communications and Jackie Ruka, author of “Get Happy and Create a Kick Butt Life!”.