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Management QOL in the News - November 29, 2023

Can money buy happiness? 60% of Americans say yes — and the price tag is $1.2 million

By Jessica Dickler

At a time when many households feel financially strained, some say you can put a price on happiness. And that number is $1.2 million.

According to Empower's Financial Happiness report, 60% of Americans said money can buy happiness and achieving a certain net worth is key to contentment.

With record high credit card debt, a declining personal savings rate and more than half of adults living paycheck to paycheck, Americans now say they would need to earn $284,167 a year to be happy, the Empower report found.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - November 15, 2023

Women are outliving men by nearly six years—and COVID and drug overdoses are a major cause, according to a new report

By Lori Youmshajekian

Women have outlived men for more than a century in the U.S. Demographers have largely attributed this well-known statistical gap to differences in behaviors in areas such as smoking and drinking habits, risk of injury and drug use. Overall U.S. life expectancy had been slowly improving for decades, but data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show some of this progress has recently been overturned—especially among men.

In 2010 women were projected to live 4.8 years longer than men. By 2021 this gap widened to 5.8 years, the largest disparity since 1996. During the 20th century, heart disease was the main cause of death that created the difference in life expectancy among women and men. But now COVID fatalities and a growing number of drug overdoses among men are to blame, according to a new analysis of CDC data published in JAMA Internal Medicine. (The report designated gender based on binary gender data that were recorded in death certificates.)

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - November 8, 2023

Ways to Extend Your Healthy Years, Not Just Your Life

By Lydia Denworth

Over the past century the average life expectancy in developed countries has increased by 30 years, from roughly age 50 to 80. Vaccines, sanitation, antibiotics, and other advances allow many more people to survive infectious diseases that used to kill them during childhood. (In the U.S., though, the span dropped by nearly three years during the COVID pandemic, a testament to the power of infections to shorten lives.)

Longer life spans overall have been a public health success. But they have also created a new and important gap: healthspans, usually defined as the period of life free of chronic disease or disability, do not always match longevity.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 21, 2023

If you use any of these 6 phrases every day, you're 'genuinely happier' than most: Happiness experts

By Leslie Richardson and Neil Pasricha

Happiness is a choice, but that doesn't mean it's easy. When we're stuck in a constant loop of fear and negativity, it can be tough to cultivate a positive mindset.

As leaders at the Institute for Global Happiness, we're constantly thinking about the small, intentional things we can all do to make our communities more positive, content and resilient.

Often, it starts with how we speak to others, and to ourselves. If you use any of these six phrases every day, you're genuinely happier than most:

  1. "I get to..."
  2. "What was your rose?"
  3. "Tell me more…"
  4. "... yet."
  5. "Will this matter a year from now?"
  6. "I will focus on…...

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 7, 2023

The No. 1 key to a happier, longer life—'that younger people don't' know, according to the oldest and 'wisest' Americans

By Shane Parrish

I once interviewed Karl Pillemer, the Cornell sociologist and author of "30 Lessons for Living: Tired and True Advice from the Wisest Americans." He'd seen numerous studies showing that people in their 70s, 80s, and beyond were far happier than younger people.

He was intrigued: "I keep meeting older people — many of whom had lost loved ones, been through tremendous difficulties, and had serious health problems — but who nevertheless were deeply fulfilled and enjoying life. I found myself asking: 'What's that all about?'"

It occurred to him that maybe they see and understand things that younger people don't. But to Pillemer's surprise, no one had conducted a study on what practical advice older people had for the next generations.

That set him off a seven-year quest.

Their No. 1 lesson for a longer, happier life: Time is finite, don't spend it regretting things

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 5, 2023

Nothing Defines America’s Social Divide Like a College Education

By Yascha Mounk

Inequality is one of the great constants. But what sets those at the top of society apart from those at the bottom has varied greatly. In some times and places, it was race; in others, “noble” birth. In some, physical strength; in others, manual dexterity. In America today, most of these factors still matter. The country is racially unequal. Some people inherit great wealth; others become celebrities through sporting prowess.

But much of America’s transformation in recent decades—including many of the country’s problems—can be ascribed to the ascendancy of a different marker of distinction: education. Whether or not you have graduated from college is especially important. This single social marker now determines much more than it did in the past what sort of economic opportunities you are likely to have and even how likely you are to get married.

Educational status doesn’t only influence how Americans live, though. As a new set of papers from the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton shows, educational status has now overtaken other metrics, including race, in predicting one of the most important socioeconomic outcomes you can imagine: how long you get to live.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 1, 2023

Psychology expert shares the 2,000-year-old Korean mindset that can help you live a 'happier life'

By Dr. Jihee Cho

"Jeong" is a concept that has been an integral part of Korean culture and society for over 2,000 years. It translates to deep feelings of attachment, and it can happen between anyone and anything, including objects and places.

Based on the mindset that we all have a collective social responsibility, jeong primarily evolves through shared experiences. When you develop feelings of jeong for someone, you want to protect and help them.

We all crave love and connection. But when we are so caught up in the strict relational boundaries of the daily grind, we can fail to notice opportunities for jeong to take place.

As a Korean psychologist, I often introduce my patients to jeong to help them create a stronger sense of community. Practicing it daily can lead to a happier life.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 30, 2023

This is the happiest job in the world, according to new research: 'You get to see the fruits of your labor'

By Morgan Smith

You won't find the happiest workers in the world toiling away at desks or crunching numbers — chances are, they're working outside.

Construction workers have the highest levels of self-reported happiness of any major industry category, according to a new analysis by BambooHR.

The HR software platform analyzed data from more than 57,000 employees at over 1,600 companies across the globe between January 2020 and June 2023.

While employee happiness overall has fluctuated over the past three years, construction workers' happiness scores have remained consistently high, largely thanks to rising wages and plentiful job opportunities, the report notes.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 29, 2023

Psychotherapist shares the No. 1 rule highly successful people follow to be happier at work: 'It's non-negotiable'

By Morgan Smith

You can't always find happiness in the confines of a 9 to 5 job — but if you can find meaning in what you do, or at least learn to tolerate it, the benefits are endless.

According to Wharton psychologist Adam Grant, employees who understand their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don't; they're more productive, too.

Research shows that raises and promotions are more common among people who find their work meaningful. What's more, the studies found, these workers tend to be more resilient, motivated and harder working than their peers.

In other words, your happiness at work is a key factor in your success.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 22, 2023

Americans say this is the No. 1 most important factor to live a fulfilling life—it's not making a lot of money

By Kamaron McNair

Having a job you like may not just make the day-to-day easier, it also seems to improve your overall life satisfaction.

Americans say having a career you enjoy is the most important factor to living a fulfilled life, according to a new study from Pew Research. Over 70% of respondents say having a job or career they enjoy is an extremely important factor to living a fulfilling life. Just 24% of people said having a lot of money is equally important.

Here's the percentage of Americans who say each element is extremely or very important to living a fulfilling life, according to Pew Research:

  • Having a job or career they enjoy: 71%
  • Having close friends: 61%
  • Having children: 26%
  • Having a lot of money: 24%
  • Being married: 23%

Still, money may make it easier for you to obtain the things that ultimately bring you fulfillment, and 49% of Americans agree having a lot of money is "somewhat important" to living a fulfilled life.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 21, 2023

The No. 1 employer for happy and fulfilled workers is a truck stop and convenience store chain

By Jennifer Liu

The company where workers feel most happy, fulfilled and stress-free can be seen from any given highway coast to coast.

Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, the truck stop and convenience store chain, was rated the No. 1 company for employee well-being, according to a new report from Indeed.

Love's was recognized as part of the job search site's inaugural Better Work Awards, where it gathered anonymous employee reviews from July 2022 to July 2023 to determine the businesses that stand out for worker well-being. Indeed based the awards on employee ratings focused on four aspects related to worker well-being: happiness, purpose, satisfaction and stress.

Read full article here.

Utah is the happiest state in America—California and Florida didn't make the top 3

By Celia Fernandez

If moving to Finland, the happiest country in the world, isn't an option, you might want to consider some locations right here in the U.S.

WalletHub recently released its annual ranking of the happiest states in America. To determine where Americans are the happiest, the personal finance website compared the 50 states across three key dimensions:

  • Emotional and physical well-being
  • Work environment
  • Community and environment

Utah is the happiest state in America

Utah ranks as the No. 1 happiest state in the U.S. with an overall score of 69.79 out of 100.

Though it came in 16th place for emotional and physical well-being, Utah took the top spots both for work environment and community and environment.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 17, 2023

This Is What Harms Married People's Happiness The Most, Therapists Say

By Kelsey Borresen

Your relationship with your spouse is one of the most important bonds in your life. It can provide you with deep love and connection, someone to share experiences with, and opportunities to help you grow into a better version of yourself.

But sometimes other forces — like bad habits and unhealthy beliefs — get in the way of that. We asked therapists to name some of the biggest threats to married people’s happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 16, 2023

These cities are home to the happiest Americans

By Anja Solum and SmartAsset via Stacker

(Smart Asset) – Research shows that in some cases, money does lead to happiness. In fact, a 2021 University of Pennsylvania study found a correlation between happiness and income growth, even past an annual income of $80,000. This is in contrast to previous research that found happiness stagnated after an individual earned $75,000. However, not all places can offer the same level of happiness, as some cities offer more economic opportunities and a better quality of life than others.

To uncover the happiest places in America, SmartAsset analyzed the 200 largest cities, 164 of which had available data. This analysis looked at 13 different metrics across three categories: personal finance, well-being and quality of life. For details on our data sources and how SmartAsset put all the information together to create final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • California cities dominate the top 10. While cities like Sunnyvale and Fremont offer the No. 1 and No. 3 highest earnings for individuals, these Western cities score highest in the quality of life category. Specifically, top 10 California cities had lower percentages of people living in poverty, higher marriage rates and lower violent crime rates.
  • Birmingham is the least happy city. This Alabama city ranks in the bottom five across metrics such as personal bankruptcy filings per capita, life expectancy and the percentage of residents living in poverty. Newark, New Jersey and Memphis, Tennessee follow as the second- and third-least happy cities.
  • Top 10 cities have high marriage rates. Residents who’ve said “I do” make up the majority of the population in all but one city: Arlington, Virginia, where the marriage rate is 44.0%. Frisco, Texas, which ranks No. 5 overall, has the highest marriage rate study-wide (62.6%).

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 15, 2023

Don’t Let Love Take Over Your Life

By Faith Hill

If you have a romantic partner, maybe you’ve noticed that you two spend an awful lot of time together—and that you haven’t seen other people quite as much as you’d like. Or if you’re single (and many of your friends aren’t), you might have gotten the eerie feeling that I sometimes do: that you’re in a deserted town, as if you woke one morning to find the houses all empty, the stores boarded up. Where’d everyone go?

Either way, that feeling might not just be in your head. Kaisa Kuurne, a sociologist at the University of Helsinki, told me she was “a little bit shocked” when she started mapping Finnish adults’ relationships for a 2012 study, investigating whom subjects felt close to and how they interacted day to day. Subjects who lived with a romantic partner seemed to have receded into their coupledom. When Kuurne asked them to rate, on a scale of one to seven, how close various relationships felt, they’d frequently give the highest mark to only their partner and their children, if they had them; when subjects illustrated their social networks, they’d commonly put those other connections—friends, co-workers, siblings—on the outskirts of their map. People outside the household, for the most part, weren’t “woven into that everyday life,” Kuurne told me.

Relationship trends can vary across cultures, but Kuurne told me that the pattern she noticed isn’t limited to Helsinki. Researchers in the U.S. have made similar observations. Katie Genadek, an economist who studies Census Bureau data, told me that the amount of time the average couple spends together has actually slightly increased since 1965.

Finding love is a beautiful, lucky thing. And some research suggests that shared time, at least up to a certain point, can make partners happier (though the strength of that link is up for debate). But there is only so much time in a day, and the minutes you spend alone with your partner are minutes not spent deepening connections with friends and relatives or building new bonds, not spent relishing the pleasures of solitude or enjoying whatever interests are uniquely yours. If you build a life with your relationship at the center, everything else gets pushed to the perimeter. There’s a way to maintain what I think of as “love-life balance,” to preserve your identity and autonomy while nurturing a caring partnership. Losing that balance can be damaging for a person, for a relationship, and for society.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 14, 2023

This Is the Happiest State in the U.S., According to a New Survey

By Stacey Leasca

How happy are you, really? If you live in Utah, apparently, you’re the happiest.

WalletHub released its annual "Happiest States in America" report, showcasing which states have the “highest satisfaction with life.”

“Even though people across the U.S. are facing difficult times, the state in which you live may have an impact on how happy you are,” WalletHub wrote in its report. “WalletHub drew upon the findings of ‘happiness’ research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical, and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life.”

To find the happiness level of each state and determine its rankings, the website measured all 50 states across 30 metrics, including depression rates, productivity, income growth, unemployment rates, sports participation rates, work environments, and even down to a state’s sleep rate.

After compiling the data, WalletHub revealed that Utah came out as the happiest state of all, specifically noting the state also has the highest volunteer rate, 40.7 percent, which “is 2.6 times higher than in Florida,” the state with the lowest volunteer rate. (The data suggests that helping others can really make you happier in the process.) Utah also clocked in with the lowest separation and divorce rate in the nation.

Read full article here.

Humans Have Crossed 6 of 9 ‘Planetary Boundaries’

By Meghan Bartels

Human activity is turning Earth into a world that may no longer adequately support the societies we’ve built, scientists warn in a new study charting whether and by how much we have surpassed nine “planetary boundaries.”

The analysis builds on a 2009 paper that first outlined nine planetary constraints that keep Earth’s environment similar to that of the world humans lived in during the preindustrial portion of the Holocene epoch. This period lasted for about the past 10,000 years, until the industrial revolution began and humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels and sending heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In the new research, published on Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers raise the alarm about what the potential consequences of this departure from humans’ baseline might be.

Read full article here.

A Psychologist Explains The ‘Wealth-Love Paradox’

By Mark Travers

From providing a sense of security to buying the best vacations in the world, there’s no denying that money brings with it certain luxuries. A study published in Social Indicators Research revealed that financial status explains roughly 10% of the variance in individuals’ satisfaction with life, which is significant.

This goes beyond mere income, and emphasizes the importance of a holistic view of one’s economic position. However, while money can indeed enhance feelings of security and fulfill certain psychological needs, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee emotional connection or romantic compatibility.

Many affluent people often say that it is hard for them to find love and companionship. They say things like:

  • “Balancing my business with romantic relationships often leaves me wondering if true love is out of reach.”
  • “Sometimes I feel that my lifestyle isolates me, making it hard to find someone who appreciates my genuine qualities.”
  • “With frequent travels and events, I'm left pondering if people are drawn to me or the world around me.”

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 2, 2023

Why are married people happier than the rest of us?

By Olga Khazan

In the year 2000, having narrowly escaped the Y2K computer glitch, Americans should have been poised to party. The bendy riff of the Santana–Rob Thomas joint “Smooth” wailed from Top 40 stations everywhere. Survivor beckoned us to watch people eat grubs for a chance at $1 million. Brad and Jen got married, and the gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius asked acerbically, “Are you not entertained?”

But we weren’t. In fact, after chugging along steadily for decades, American happiness began to decline that year, modestly but definitively. A chart of American happiness ratings looks like this: a flat, basically happy line that starts in the 1970s, followed by a plunge into meh right around the new millennium.

The chart comes from a recent paper by Sam Peltzman, an emeritus economics professor at the University of Chicago. For the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, Peltzman looked at the General Social Survey, which since 1972 has asked thousands of Americans, “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days—would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” If you imagine this large sample as 100 people, historically about 50 of those people say they’re “pretty happy,” and that’s still true. But in the 1970s, about 35 people would say they’re “very happy,” and 15 would say “not too happy.” That began to shift around 2000, and now about 32 people say they’re “very happy” and 18 say they’re “not too happy.”

To quote a Destiny’s Child song of that vintage, why the sudden change?

After slicing the demographic data every which way—income, education level, race, location, age, and gender—Peltzman found that this happiness dip is mainly attributable to one thing: Married people are happier, and Americans aren’t getting married as much. In 1980, 6 percent of 40-year-olds had never been married, but today, it’s 25 percent. “The recent decline in the married share of adults can explain (statistically) most of the recent decline in overall happiness,” he writes.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - August 15, 2023

4 daily habits of truly happy people

By Ammar Kalia

Our minds are more resilient than we know. According to a growing body of research, first popularised by psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Tim Wilson in the early 2000s, the brain has a remarkable capacity to make the best of bad events: when we encounter negative situations we subconsciously activate what is known as our psychological immune system.

A self-protective mechanism analogous to the body’s own immune system, the psychological immune system is a series of processes that our brain initiates to help us make sense of the adverse environment we might be in, assign meaning to what is happening, and ultimately find positives for the future. If we fail to land a job we had wanted, for instance, our brain might reason that the interviewer was rude and biased, therefore it wasn’t the role for us. Or, we will speak to a friend and gain a new perspective on the benefits of our existing job.

Gilbert and Wilson’s research has found that we often overestimate how unhappy we will be after negative events, since our psychological immune system helps to shelter us from the effects of difficult circumstances. “We underestimate how quickly our feelings are going to change in part because we underestimate our ability to change them,” Gilbert once told the Monitor on Psychology magazine. “This can lead us to make decisions that don’t maximise our potential for satisfaction.”

Since we are so skilled at construing what happens to us in a positive light, our lack of faith in our own resilience leads us to incorrectly expect that negative emotions will always last longer than our less-intense feelings. If we can strengthen our psychological immune system, there might be ways that we can better rely on ourselves in times of difficulty, as well as feel more comfortable in taking risks.

“The psychological immune system is an incredible buffer against the inevitable stresses of life,” author and resilience expert Anne Grady says. “It doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to us, but if we can learn to develop it, we can put our brain back in control and monitor our responses.”

To prepare for when you next find yourself in a tough situation, we asked experts about the daily practices and tips that people can implement to ensure their psychological immune system is functioning at its best.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - August 13, 2023

4 daily habits of truly happy people

By Kristine Gill

The happiest country in the world is Finland, according to the 2023 World Happiness Report. But short of moving across the ocean, experts agree there are ways to improve your own happiness regardless of where you live.

“Happiness is a habit,” says Talia Soen, CEO and Founder of Happy Things, a platform that helps you build those habits with daily activities.

Soen claims happiness has not always come easily for her. Her oldest brother has a much higher baselines of happiness, and as she reflected on that difference she decided to start an app as a way of improving her life based on the science behind happiness.

“A lot of people think of happiness as something unrealistic or out there and difficult to grasp,” she says. “We’re trying to break it down into something really teachable and approachable.”

Many experts agree, there are steps you can take to achieve happiness independent of life circumstances. Here’s a look at the habits they say happy people tend to engage in.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - August 11, 2023

Aristotle’s 10 Rules for a Good Life

By Arthur C. Brooks

Many people say they are looking for happiness. They spend a lot of time and resources searching for the secrets of well-being, like old-time miners prospecting for gold. But for some sages throughout history, this is the wrong approach. Happiness isn’t something to be found; it’s something to attract.

Perhaps the most famous proponent of the second path was the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He defined happiness as eudaemonia, which means “good spirit.” To us moderns, this might sound vaporous, like the superficial happy feelings that so many people (incorrectly, in my view) chase. Instead, the philosopher meant that happiness was a divine state that would visit each of us as it pleased. Our only responsibility was to open the door to it. And we do so by living well.

To live well, we should practice specific virtues and make them into habits. As Aristotle wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics, “If it is better to be happy as a result of one’s own exertions than by the gift of fortune, it is reasonable to suppose that this is how happiness is won.” Here are 10 of the virtues he recommends—which, as modern research shows, do generally attract the good spirit.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - August 8, 2023

4 Ways to Embrace the Happiness Boost That Comes with Age

By Louisa Kamps

Growing older gets a bum rap. In our youth-obsessed culture, landing on the AARP mailing list can feel like the beginning of the end. But science consistently shows that the opposite is true. After quantifying data on well-being from hundreds of thousands of people in 145 countries, Dartmouth College economist David Blanchflower, PhD, reported in 2021 that most people, regardless of educational, marital, or employment status, experience high levels of happiness when they’re young adults, followed by declining happiness that bottoms out in their late 40s, then, beyond that, steadily increasing happiness.

Read full article here.

Dopamine plays an unexpected role in movement and Parkinson's disease

By Chrissy Sexton

Researchers at Northwestern University have uncovered a brand new understanding of dopamine, a crucial neurotransmitter traditionally associated with rewards.

The new study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, reveals that dopamine’s role in the brain’s function is far more complex than previously thought.

Dopamine has been widely understood to be responsible for transmitting reward signals within the brain. This chemical is at the core of our feelings of pleasure and satisfaction that come from an enjoyable activity, and its dysfunction is involved in disorders such as addiction.

However, the Northwestern University team has identified three genetic subtypes of dopamine neurons in the midbrain region of a mouse model. What they found was contrary to the long-standing assumption that dopamine neurons solely respond to rewards or reward-predicting cues.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - August 3, 2023

I took Harvard's free 6-week course on happiness—here's what I learned

By Renée Onque

After six weeks of reading articles, watching videos and contributing to class discussion boards, I've officially completed Harvard University's "Managing Happiness" course, led by social scientist and Harvard professor Arthur Brooks.

The online class is completely free for audit only, and anyone can take it up until March 27, 2024. The course is self-paced, but after six weeks, you lose access to its materials and your progress.

Now that I've finished the course, my biggest takeaway is that I feel a lot more in control of my own happiness. I left with an understanding that the things beyond my control can, and will, affect my happiness, but my reactions to these outcomes are more important.

When I first started the Harvard course about happiness, I had several questions that I hoped to have answered. Here are some insights that I've gained.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - July 25, 2023

The 1 Technique Therapists Use To Feel Happier Every Day

By Sarah-Louise Kelly

So for many of us, especially those of us deeply entrenched in the worlds of mental health awareness and wellness, the idea of a trigger isn’t unfamiliar.

In case you were unsure, though, Psych Central says that triggers are ‘sensory reminders that cause painful memories or symptoms to resurface.’

These can be reminders of a traumatic event, somebody that hurt you, an anniversary, the feelings you felt during a difficult time or the breakup of a relationship. They’re, at best, unpleasant, and at worst, quite traumatising in themselves, especially for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

People try to support each other through triggers by providing trigger warnings for potentially harmful content on social media, in literature and even on TV in an effort to avoid the person being triggered and dealing with the aftermath of that. Trigger warnings are a useful tool for self-care and protection.

Now, social media users and mental health professionals are discussing what they’re calling the ‘opposite’ of triggers – glimmers.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - July 19, 2023

The 1 Thing That Child Therapists Say Harms Kids' Happiness The Most

Marie Holmes

Children and adolescents in the U.S. today reap the benefits of decades of medical and psychological research. We are able to diagnose and effectively treat mental health conditions to a degree that wasn’t possible only a generation ago, with a wider arsenal of pharmacological options and increasingly targeted and sophisticated non-invasive therapies.

The quality of kids’ mental health should be trending up — but the opposite is happening. Kids today are struggling more than ever.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - July 7, 2023

A 'nice' workplace culture may be more toxic than you think, says this NYU professor

Goh Chiew Tong

A toxic workplace culture was one of the biggest culprits behind the Great Resignation — which saw droves of workers leaving their jobs or switching careers during the post-pandemic era.

But since then, some companies are moving to the other extreme of "a culture of niceness," and that could be just as damaging as toxicity, said one social psychologist.

"There has been a huge push around well-being and niceness at work, being kind, empathic and being caring — which are obviously good traits to have," Tessa West, who is also a psychology professor at NYU, told CNBC Make It.

"But what ends up happening is, we've somehow pitted niceness against clear communication and confrontation, even when it's necessary."

Most would agree that a workplace is toxic when it is disrespectful, non-inclusive, unethical, cutthroat or abusive. The opposite of toxicity however, isn't rainbows and sunshine — but a safe space for critical feedback and conversations, said West.

Knowing how to receive and give honest feedback is an "absolutely essential ingredient" for career development, she added.

"There's this false dichotomy of: If you're critical, that means you are toxic. Positive feedback? That's what people want," West said.

"But nice isn't always better. Sometimes nice is a cop out."

Visit the TED talks page here.

Management QOL in the News - July 1, 2023

There's more to life than being happy

Emily Esfahani Smith

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

Visit the TED talks page here.

Management QOL in the News - June 29, 2023

Emerging four day work week trends in Australia: preview report

John Hopkins, Anne Bardoel, Nikola Djurkovic

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way many of us think about work, and resulted in a huge increase in demand for flexible work arrangements, as employees seek a better work-life balance.

This research investigates the recent rise in popularity of a four-day work week (4DWW) – a concept which was first proposed in the 1970s that is now starting to gain serious attention 50 years later – via a series of semi-structured interviews we conducted with Australian organisations who have already adopted this way of working.

From an employer perspective, the key benefits companies have realised since switching to a 4DWW have been improved staff recruitment and retention, increased productivity levels, and reduced absenteeism.

For employees, the 4DWW gives them more time to complete their ‘life admin’ tasks, enables them to participate in more health and wellness activities, and not only gives them more time to engage in their favourite hobbies, but also enables them to discover brand new pastimes they didn’t have time to enjoy previously.

The researchers found that the key challenges to establishing a 4DWW arrangement were, scepticism – from both internal and external stakeholders – the reduced availability of staff, and finding an equitable solution that also benefits part-time staff members.

Download the full preview report here.

Management QOL in the News - June 12, 2023

12 proven ways to raise serotonin levels and boost your mood

Juliana Ukiomogbe and Shannon Ullman

  • Serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate mood, sleep, memory, learning, and cognition.
  • To increase serotonin naturally, try daily exercise, more sunlight, and spending time with friends.
  • Talk to a doctor if you're experiencing depressive moods that are interfering with daily activities.

Have you ever wondered why you suddenly feel happier after exercising or getting a really relaxing massage? There may be a reason for that. Serotonin, known as the "happy chemical" in your brain, is heightened by doing these activities.

In fact, knowing how to naturally enhance your serotonin levels may help boost your mood. Here's how to increase serotonin levels and tips to integrate these practices into your daily life.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 9, 2023

Semi-Retirees Know the Key to Work-Life Balance

Kate Cray

For far too many, the decision to continue working is driven by financial necessity—an especially concerning reality given how few healthy years the average poor American has left by the time they reach retirement age. But this trend doesn’t reflect only people who can’t afford to quit. According to one 2014 survey, 80 percent of semi-retirees say they’re employed because they want to be; working after retirement is actually more common among workers with higher socioeconomic status. Though some of them might appreciate the extra income, many seem to also find these jobs enjoyable and fulfilling.

The idea of a retirement purposely filled with work might seem dismal—proof that we’ve prioritized achievement over happiness for so long that we can’t even stop in our 60s. But there might be a less pessimistic way to look at those who actively choose semi-retirement. After all, they represent a rarity in the labor market: the truly empowered worker. Examining what they get from the jobs they don’t need could illuminate what a career can offer the rest of us, helping us reimagine our relationship to work long before it’s time to retire.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 3, 2023

America Is Headed Toward Collapse

By Peter Turchin

How has America slid into its current age of discord? Why has our trust in institutions collapsed, and why have our democratic norms unraveled?

All human societies experience recurrent waves of political crisis, such as the one we face today. My research team built a database of hundreds of societies across 10,000 years to try to find out what causes them. We examined dozens of variables, including population numbers, measures of well-being, forms of governance, and the frequency with which rulers are overthrown. We found that the precise mix of events that leads to crisis varies, but two drivers of instability loom large. The first is popular immiseration—when the economic fortunes of broad swaths of a population decline. The second, and more significant, is elite overproduction—when a society produces too many superrich and ultra-educated people, and not enough elite positions to satisfy their ambitions.

These forces have played a key role in our current crisis. In the past 50 years, despite overall economic growth, the quality of life for most Americans has declined. The wealthy have become wealthier, while the incomes and wages of the median American family have stagnated. As a result, our social pyramid has become top-heavy. At the same time, the U.S. began overproducing graduates with advanced degrees. More and more people aspiring to positions of power began fighting over a relatively fixed number of spots. The competition among them has corroded the social norms and institutions that govern society.

The U.S. has gone through this twice before. The first time ended in civil war. But the second led to a period of unusually broad-based prosperity. Both offer lessons about today’s dysfunction and, more important, how to fix it.

Read full article here.

Scientists ran a health check on the Earth — and the results are worrying

By Victoria Bisset and Ellen Francis

A team of top scientists says that it has assessed the planet’s health against eight key thresholds needed to protect life on Earth and that human activities have led to seven of the eight of the boundaries already being breached.

“The window is rapidly shutting; we’re very close to irreversible tipping points,” Johan Rockström, a director at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the lead author of the study published this week, said in a telephone interview. Rockström has described the report as the first time that quantifiable boundaries have been presented in this way “to assess the state of our planetary health,” measuring not only the stability of Earth’s ecosystems, but also assessing human well-being and equity.

The research conducted by the Earth Commission, a team of dozens of scientists representing leading global research institutions, said the eight areas measured were: climate change; aerosols (air pollution); surface water; groundwater; nitrogen fertilizer; phosphorus fertilizer; whether natural ecosystems remained largely intact; and the functional integrity of all ecosystems.

The peer-reviewed study, published in Nature, assessed each area against two thresholds: whether it remained “safe” — that is, within the levels needed so the Earth’s systems can support humans and other living organisms — and whether the levels could ensure justice between species, current and future generations, and between countries and communities.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 2, 2023

US life expectancy problem is 'bigger than we ever thought,' report finds

Adrianna Rodrigue

The country’s life expectancy problem gained renewed attention in recent years after seeing the largest drop since World War II during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As U.S. life expectancy continues to plummet, a new report found the country has been at a life expectancy disadvantage since the 1950s, and it has only gotten worse since then.

The study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, also shows more than 50 countries have surpassed the U.S. in life expectancy since the 1930s and a handful of states may be partly responsible.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 17, 2023

Why You Should Be Seeking Fun, Not "Happiness"

Steve Calechman

Positive psychology holds a certain appeal. It’s about well-being and happiness, not thinking negatively. What’s not to like? The suggestions of what to do have been said so often that they’re easy to rattle off. Show gratitude. Find your passion. Create social networks. They might sound simple, but the stuff can work.

Until it can’t.

That’s what Mike Rucker, PhD, found out. He’s a behavioral scientist and charter member of the International Positive Psychology Association. His work was all about happiness, but in 2006, his younger brother died and he found out he was going to need a hip replacement. At 44 years old, he was no longer a sibling or endurance athlete, and the happiness tools weren’t helping him deal with the negative emotions.

“I wanted to find out what could be done differently,” he says.

The answer, he found out, lay in the pursuit of fun, not happiness. Seeking fun is far more actionable. It’s also introspective and ruminating. Fun doesn’t require people to feel anything or see three daily examples of gratitude if they don’t want to. With fun, people have autonomy. If they don’t like a situation or a group of people? They can change it.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 13, 2023

Wellbeing and social connection can generate “an upward spiral” by reinforcing one another

Emily Manis

Social connection and agency are known to be positively correlated with emotional well-being, but does one lead to another or are they independent but related? A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology explores these three variables over a 13-year time period to better explore their relationship.

Well-being has become a popular topic for research as psychology has begun to focus on how to live a good and happy life. Well-being has been linked to other positive life variables, but relationships are not well understood.

Social connection, especially having meaningful and supportive relationships, has been linked to positive mental health outcomes in previous research, including higher levels of well-being. Agency, or taking control of one’s own life and experiences, is another factor that has been linked to well-being.

Despite this, there is a lack of understanding about if these relationships are unidirectional or bidirectional. This study seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between these three variables by utilizing longitudinal data.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 12, 2023

The biggest lie the rich ever told? That money can’t buy you happiness

By Arwa Mahdawi

News just in: money does buy you happiness. Duh, you might say. Anyone could have told you that; it’s hardly a Nobel-prize winning insight. Well, actually, it kinda is: in 2010, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel prize-winning economist and psychologist, came out with the theory that there was a monetary “happiness plateau”. Once you hit an annual household income of $75,000 (£62,000), earning more money didn’t make you any happier. In 2021, the happiness researcher Matthew Killingsworth released a dissenting study, showing that happiness increased with income and there wasn’t evidence of a plateau. Now the pair have teamed up in a process known as “adversarial collaboration” and released a new study finding that they were both sort of right, but Killingsworth was more right: for most people, earning more money makes you happier.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 27, 2023

Psychologist shares the No. 1 exercise highly successful people use to be happier

By Morgan Smith

Just like you wouldn't burn through your whole paycheck on payday, you shouldn't use all of your energy every day.

Yet most people constantly deplete their energy on a daily basis to the point of burnout, says Sarah Sarkis, a psychologist and senior director of performance psychology at Exos, a Phoenix-based performance coaching company.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 26, 2023

Active aging can help you live longer and improve your quality of life—6 steps to get started

By Liz Seegert

You may have heard the term "active aging," but what does it really mean? Do you have to hit the gym every day, or hike every weekend?

Not at all. Active aging includes a wide range of pursuits that keep your mind, body, emotions and spirit engaged, regardless of age, health or socioeconomic status, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It also means being diligent about your own health and well-being.

Following the principles of active aging can help extend longevity and quality of life, according to Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. “Physical activity is just one of the many elements that makes up a person. "It's just as important that we are socially connected and that we are intellectually active."

Read full article here.

Finland is officially the happiest country in the world (again), so what can we learn from their wellbeing culture?

By Katie Rosseinsky

The results of the UN's annual happiness report are in, and Finland has topped the rankings of the world’s happiest country for the sixth year in a row.

Every year, researchers in the US compile surveys by the Gallup Institute, measuring a variety of factors like GDP, social support, freedom to make choices, life expectancy and generosity, and asking a representative sample of people just how satisfied they feel with their lives.

Finland was joined in the top three by fellow Nordic nations Denmark and Iceland, while Britain just made it into the top 20, ending up in 19th place.

The Finns are so proud of this national reputation that the country’s tourism board recently launched a 'happiness masterclass', inviting people from other nations to help boost their satisfaction by attending a four-day retreat in its Lakeland region. Here, guests will have the chance to enjoy spending time in forests and lakes, chill out to calming music and eat nourishing food, all while learning more about the Finnish way of life.

But what actually makes Finland such a happy nation, and can we borrow any of their secrets to boost our own wellbeing? Here are a handful of life lessons we can learn from the reigning champions of contentment…

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 25, 2023

World Happiness Report Finds That Crises Make Us Kinder

By Kira M. Newman

In today’s world, cruelty is hard to ignore. It sometimes feels like everywhere we turn, there are political shouting matches, shootings, and war.

And those events are certainly taking place. But at the same time, according to the World Happiness Report 2023, people around the world are experiencing more kindness, help, and support from others in their daily lives.

The crises of the last few years, in other words, have not made us reclusive and hard-hearted—but instead more willing to help each other navigate our challenges.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 19, 2023

85-year Harvard study found that people with this type of job tend to be the unhappiest

By Morgan Smith

The unhappiest jobs are also some of the loneliest, according to an 85-year study from Harvard researchers.

While particular roles can't be reliably correlated with dissatisfaction and burnout, certain job characteristics can be, Robert Waldinger, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies on happiness, tells CNBC Make It.

Jobs that require little human interaction and don't offer opportunities to build meaningful relationships with co-workers tend to have the most miserable employees, the study found.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 9, 2023

Can money buy happiness? Scientists say it can.

By Adela Suliman

It's a question that philosophers, economists and social scientists have grappled with for decades: Can money buy happiness?

For most people in the United States, the answer is, seemingly, yes.

Two prominent researchers, Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth, came to this conclusion in a joint study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, overturning the dominant thinking that people are generally happier as they earn more, with their joy leveling out when their income hits $75,000.

Read full article here.

An 85-year Harvard study on happiness found the No. 1 retirement challenge that 'no one talks about'

By Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz

In 1938, Harvard researchers embarked on a study that continues to this day to find out: What makes us happy in life?

The researchers gathered health records from 724 people from all over the world, asking detailed questions about their lives at two-year intervals.

As participants entered mid- and late-life, the Harvard Study often asked about retirement. Based on their responses, the No. 1 challenge people faced in retirement was not being able to replace the social connections that had sustained them for so long at work.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 2, 2023

The Hidden Link Between Workaholism and Mental Health

By Arthur C. Brooks

Winston Churchill was many things: statesman, soldier, writer. He was one of the first world leaders to sound the alarm about the Nazi menace in the 1930s, and then captivated the global imagination as a leader against the Axis powers in World War II. While prime minister of the United Kingdom during the war, he kept a crushing schedule, often spending 18 hours a day at work. On top of this, he wrote book after book in office. By the end of his life, he had finished 43, filling 72 volumes.

Churchill also suffered from crippling depression, which he called his "black dog," and which visited him again and again. It seems almost unthinkable that he could be so productive in states so grim that he once told his doctor, "I don't like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second's action would end everything."

Some say Churchill's depression was bipolar, and windows of mania allowed him to work as much as he did. But a few of his biographers explain it differently: Churchill's workaholism wasn't in spite of his suffering, but because of it. He distracted himself with work. Lest you think this far-fetched, researchers today find that workaholism is a common addiction in response to distress. And like so many addictions, it worsens the situation it's meant to alleviate.

Read full article here.

What the Longest Study on Human Happiness Found Is the Key to a Good Life

By Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz

Since 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has been investigating what makes people flourish. After starting with 724 participants—boys from disadvantaged and troubled families in Boston, and Harvard undergraduates—the study incorporated the spouses of the original men and, more recently, more than 1,300 descendants of the initial group. Researchers periodically interview participants, ask them to fill out questionnaires, and collect information about their physical health. As the study's director (Bob) and associate director (Marc), we've been able to watch participants fall in and out of relationships, find success and failure at their jobs, become mothers and fathers. It's the longest in-depth longitudinal study on human life ever done, and it's brought us to a simple and profound conclusion: Good relationships lead to health and happiness. The trick is that those relationships must be nurtured.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - January 30, 2023

Nothing Drains You Like Mixed Emotions

Arthur C. Brooks

"Ōdī et amō," the Roman poet Catullus wrote of his lover Lesbia about 2,000 years ago. "I hate and I love. Why I do this, perhaps you ask. I know not, but I feel it happening and I am tortured."

Maybe you can relate. If you’ve ever had mixed feelings about someone you love, you know the intense discomfort that results. If your feelings were purely positive, of course, the relationship would be bliss. Even purely negative feelings would be better, because the course of action would be clear: Say goodbye. But mixed feelings leave you confused about the right thing to do.

Romance isn't the only part of life in which mixed feelings can cause pain. Maybe your ambivalence is instead directed toward your employer, and you can't decide whether to stay and work to make things better, or go someplace else. Or maybe some of your memories are painfully mixed and hard to interpret. Perhaps your childhood was both good and bad, not fitting into a neat frame, and thus feels impossible to explain to others or even yourself.

Mixed emotions drain your emotional batteries, like a phone connecting to multiple networks simultaneously. They are one of the most complex psychological phenomena we are capable of, and bring us a great deal of distress. You might think that purely negative emotions are the most unpleasant ones; in truth, a cocktail of negative and positive can be worse.

Read full article here.

Work-related stress is fueling America's mental health crisis. Here are solutions to make it better

By L'Oreal Thompson Payton

Do your opinions count at work? Does your job feel important? Do you have a close friend at the office?

When you take into consideration that people spend most of their waking hours either at work or commuting to work, it should come as no surprise that workplace stress is the top driver of mental health issues. According to Calm's 2023 Workplace Mental Health Trends Report, 50% of employees say that work stress is impacting their personal lives and their relationships with their family members and friends, as well as their relationships with themselves.

"When people are overwhelmed or stressed at work, it can result in parents being disconnected from their kids at home or partners not having the emotional energy to give to their loved ones," explains Calm CEO David Ko. "It is important for employers to train mindful managers that can recognize signs of high stress or burnout and promote a healthy work-life balance. Productivity and company culture will suffer when work stress impacts employees’ personal lives."

But it’s time for employers to go beyond simply talking about mental health needs and putting action (and money) behind making it a priority.

Read full article here.

Forget Hygge, Here Are Four Scandi Wellbeing Trends We Should Follow In 2023

By Dayna McAlpine

Winter is rough and its shorter days, colder temperatures, and lack of sunshine can make us all feel a bit miserable.

However, in Scandinavian countries, where winters are notoriously long, the people there are also consistently ranked as some of the happiest on earth.

So as the winter months stretch out ahead of us - and with an Arctic blast set to hit the UK – we could all benefit from the Scandi’s serotonin-boosting secrets right now.

Fortunately, it's more simple than you might think. Hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh), the Danish word that describes something as "invoking or fostering a sense of coziness, contentment, and well-being," has had its moment in the spotlight – it's time for something new.

Ally Fekaiki – wellbeing expert and founder of Juno - has shared four other Scandi-wellness trends that we should incorporate into our daily lives to help us stay happy and healthy, even on the gloomiest of days.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - January 16, 2023

Despite Everything You Think You Know, America Is on the Right Track

By David Brooks

Negativity is by now so deeply ingrained in American media culture that it’s become the default frame imposed on reality. In large part, this is because since the dawn of the internet age, the surest way to build an audience is to write stories that make people terrified or furious. This is not rocket science: Evolution designed humans to pay special attention to threats. So, unsurprisingly, the share of American headlines denoting anger increased by 104 percent from 2000 to 2019. The share of headlines evoking fear surged by 150 percent.

If any event deserves negative coverage, the terrible coronavirus pandemic is it. And in the international media, 51 percent of stories in the first year of the pandemic were indeed negative, according to a 2020 study. But in the United States, a stunning 87 percent of the coverage was negative. The stories were negative even when good things were happening, such as schools reopening and vaccine trials. The American media have a particularly strong bad-news bias.

This permanent cloud of negativity has a powerful effect on how Americans see their country. When Gallup recently asked Americans if they were satisfied with their personal life, 85 percent said they were, a number that has remained remarkably stable over the past 40 years. But when Gallup asked Americans in January 2022 if they were satisfied with the direction of the country, only 17 percent said they were, down from 69 percent in 2000. In other words, there was a 68-percentage-point gap between the reality people directly experienced in their daily life and the reality they perceived through the media filter.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - January 12, 2023

6 Surprising Things You Think Are Making You Happy—But Are Doing the Opposite

By Frank Martela

Fat salaries and corporate success aren't the gateways to happiness they're cracked up to be. But it makes sense that we might think they are. "We're fed such an incredibly dense diet of popular media and marketing that shapes our understanding of happiness in a way that actually gets in the way of it," says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director at the University of California at Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. "I think we as a society, particularly in the West, have a bit of an illusion about where happiness comes from and how to get more of it."

Researchers have long sought to sort fact from fiction when it comes to pinpointing what increases happiness. Here are six surprising things we often think are making us happy—but that might actually be doing the opposite.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - January 9, 2023

Ikigai - How To Live A Long And Happy Life

Philosophies for Life

Management QOL in the News - January 7, 2023

I'm a Psychology Expert in Finland, the No. 1 Happiest Country in the World—Here Are 3 Things We Never Do

By Frank Martela

For five years in a row, Finland has ranked No. 1 as the happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report.

In 2022's report, people in 156 countries were asked to "value their lives today on a 0 to 10 scale, with the worst possible life as a 0." It also looks at factors that contribute to social support, life expectancy, generosity and absence of corruption.

As a Finnish philosopher and psychology researcher who studies the fundamentals of happiness, I'm often asked: What exactly makes people in Finland so exceptionally satisfied with their lives?

To maintain a high quality of life, here are three things we never do:

  1. We don't compare ourselves to our neighbors.
  2. We don't overlook the benefits of nature.
  3. We don't break the community circle of trust.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 8, 2022

Over 3 Million People Took This Course on Happiness. Here’s What Some Learned.

By Molly Oswaks

The Yale happiness class, formally known as Psyc 157: Psychology and the Good Life, is one of the most popular classes to be offered in the university’s 320-year history.

The class was only ever taught in-person once, during the spring 2018 semester, as a 1,200-person lecture course in the largest space on campus.

That March, a free 10-week version made available to the public via Coursera, titled “the Science of Well-Being,” also became instantly popular, attracting hundreds of thousands of online learners. But when lockdowns began last March, two full years later, the enrollment numbers skyrocketed. To date, over 3.3 million people have signed up, according to the website.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 20, 2022

This 28-year-old negotiated her pay to $500,000 — and found work-life balance

By Jennifer Weiss

After growing her salary from $100,000 to $500,000 over a five-year period through switching jobs and negotiating, Amy, now 28, wanted the kind of work-life balance that would allow her to spend more time with family. She also hoped for more time to engage in interests outside of work, like real-estate investing, and her leadership role with the Asian Investors Network, a Facebook community group.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 15, 2022

Beyond Happiness: The Upside of Feeling Down

By Matthew Hutson

Negative emotions do us a great favor: They save us from ourselves. They're signals urging us to change what we're doing—and they're actually necessary for feeling good.

No one questions the value of feeling good. In fact, it seems that for the past 20 years, everyone in America has been on a relentless quest for a blue-sky state of mind, in pursuit of permanent residence on the spectrum between contentment and ecstasy.

Feeling bad is another matter entirely. Emotions that generate unpleasant feelings have been called sins (wrath, envy), shunned in polite interaction (jealousy, frustration), or identified as unhealthy (sadness, shame). We suppress them, medicate them, and berate ourselves for feeling them.

Because such feelings are aversive, they are often called "negative" emotions, although "negative" is a misnomer. Emotions are not inherently positive or negative. They are distinguished by much more than whether they feel good or bad. Beneath the surface, every emotion orchestrates a complex suite of changes in motivation, physiology, attention, perception, beliefs, and behaviors: sweating, laughing, desiring revenge, becoming optimistic, summoning specific memories. Each component of every emotion has a critical job to do—whether it's preparing us to move toward what we want (anger), urging us to improve our standing (envy), or allowing us to undo a social gaffe (embarrassment).

We have the wrong idea about emotions. They're very rational; they're means to help us achieve goals important to us, tools carved by eons of human experience that work beyond conscious awareness to direct us where we need to go. They identify trouble or opportunity and suggest methods of repair or gain. They are instruments of survival; in fact, we would have vanished long ago without them.

Negative emotions are not only crucial to our existence but also—ironically—to feeling good. To live optimally in the world and endure its challenges, it's necessary to engage the full range of psychological states we've inherited as humans.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 8, 2022

A four-day working week trial has proven that working less boosts productivity and wellbeing

By Dani Maher

WE'VE ALL heard that less is more, but it seems the old adage really might be true when it comes to the structure of our working week. The results are in from a trial of a four-day working week, and you’re definitely going to want to show them to your boss.

Operated by non-profit 4-Day Week Global, the trial saw more than 30 companies comprising almost 1000 employees in countries including Australia, the US, and Ireland, conduct a six-month-long trial of a work schedule in which they clocked off a whole day early each week.

During the trial, employees were still paid 100 per cent of their salaries despite working 80 per cent of the standard time — but still confirmed that they would fit their usual five-day efforts into the shorter timeframe. And the results speak for themselves: Companies rated the experience a nine out of 10, reporting they saw revenue increasing by more than one percentage point per month, with a total rise of 8 per cent over the course of the trial — a 38 per cent increase year on year for the same period. There were also fewer resignations, and less sick and personal leave was taken by employees.

And to nobody's surprise, employees were even more thrilled with the experience, with 97 per cent saying they'd like to continue with their four-day structure. In fact, 70 per cent of them said a new job would have to offer them 10 to 50 per cent more to go back to a five-day week, and more than 10 per cent of respondents said they'd never go back to the old way, regardless of money.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - November 18, 2022

US Happiness Report

Presented by Gross National Happiness US

States are typically evaluated on a small number of widely used metrics: their economies, their education and healthcare systems, and the opportunities they provide to residents. These factors help assess a state's livability, yet each only partially answers a larger question: where are Americans leading their best lives?

In order to explore well-being in the United States, Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA) conducted a survey asking 5,000 Americans about their life satisfaction, happiness, anxiety, and the extent to which they believe they are leading worthwhile lives.1 This is the first nationwide survey in the United States to pose this set of questions, which has been regularly polled among citizens of Great Britain since 2011.

Read full article here.

12 questions to measure your workplace happiness

By Tara Parker-Pope

Do your opinions count at work? Does your job feel important? Do you have a close friend at the office?

These are just some of the questions that researchers use to measure how happy and productive workers are in their jobs. Given that we spend an estimated one-third of our lives at work, finding ways to improve quality of life on the job can have a huge impact on our overall health and happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - November 10, 2022

Best of both worlds: hybrid happiness

By Kiffer George Card

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred on a variety of workplace maladies, including “the great resignation,” “quiet quitting,” “overemployment”, labour shortages and conflicts between managers and employees over returning to work in person.

Employee burnout and wellbeing may be at the heart of several of these issues.

Two new studies highlight the importance of social connection in the workplace and illustrate why working from home may not be the optimal workplace arrangement. Hybrid work-from-home schedules may help prevent burnout and improve mental health.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 26, 2022

Vitality is key to overall health, but survey finds most Americans aren't thriving

By Ken Alltucker

A first-of-its-kind survey measures a potential antidote to the pandemic malaise enveloping many Americans: Vitality.

The survey found 18% of U.S. adults had high vitality, meaning they were healthier, more likely to exercise and less likely to be obese.

Experts believe it's important to track vitality's role as the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 13, 2022

Can We Reverse Our Psychological Age And Get Happier At The Same Time Using Artificial Intelligence?

By Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD

Last week, a paper I co-authored with the scientists from Deep Longevity, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Stanford, went viral and was covered in Fortune, Fox News, The Hill, New York Post, The Guardian and many other top-tier international media. In this study, the team used AI to analyze the psychological and biological changes during aging. This was the fourth peer-reviewed paper that tried to use AI to understand the changes in human psychology that transpire during aging but the first one to link biology with psychology. One day I will tell the personal story why a group of hardcore scientists studying biology and chemistry using AI decided to venture into psychology but these studies convinced me that human psychological aging is much more important than most scientists in biological sciences tend to believe. I firmly believe that the psychological age defines us much more than the biological age even though these ages, as this recent study showed, are closely connected. And as Laura Carstensen showed in her pioneering work on the Socio-Emotional Selectivity Theory (SST), psychological aging is plastic - we have the toolkit to modify it. And the recent study on aging and happiness demonstrated that it may be possible to get psychologically younger and happier at the same time. The results were so convincing that I started using some of these tools myself. Let’s take a deeper dive into how research in the psychology of aging and AI tools can help us adjust our psychological age and improve our well-being.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 6, 2022

TikTok, Instagram and the Endless Scroll of Unreachable Happiness

By Leonard Parker

We have observed this firsthand in the daily youth group we lead at a Massachusetts psychiatric hospital. Fortunately, there is a roadmap to healthier social media and happiness—and it hinges in large part on a subtle but powerful shift in perspective.

Leading a youth group is something many clinicians shy away from. While there is no question that getting youngsters to identify their feelings and eventually talk about them is a daunting task, we have had some success by making the group very interactive. It has also given us valuable insights into the challenges faced by this age group.

Our participants speak directly about how isolated their lives had become at times during the pandemic — and how their mental health has deteriorated. They remember the early days when they were removed from school and separated from their peers and retired to their bedrooms. Many admit to being afraid, often of things they couldn’t readily identify.

Faced with overwhelming feelings of loneliness, many teens consumed large amounts of social media to escape the narrow walls of their bedrooms. It wasn’t uncommon for us to hear reports of double-digit hours being spent scrolling TikTok and Instagram each day.

Herein lies a glaring problem: How can we expect our teens to be happy sitting at home while everyone who sees them on their social media feeds smiles profusely and seems connected to others? These curated snippets skew our perceived relationship from boring life tasks like homework and chores to fun, exciting adventures. The result is both a false sense of happiness and an inflated expectation of how happy they should be in their own lives.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 29, 2022

Lockdowns hurt mental health more than case numbers, deaths

By Tom McIlroy

Escalating COVID-19 lockdowns led to plunging life satisfaction, poor mental health and loneliness, negatively affecting the outlook of Australians more than higher case numbers and pandemic deaths.

Australian National University researchers have for the first time studied the direct links between lockdowns and life satisfaction for the entire COVID-19 period, finding men had worse reactions to lockdowns while women felt increasing infection rates more acutely.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 16, 2022

Warren Buffett says your overall happiness in life really boils down to 4 simple words

By Nathaniel Erickson

Warren Buffett gave one of his best lectures to students at the University of Florida’s School of Business over two decades ago. One of the MBA students asked Buffett a question, so to speak, asking the billionaire what he would do to live a happier life if he could start all over again.

Buffett's answer? He was happy for decades, but he quickly brought the focus back to students, urging them to make better decisions about career goals, finances, health, and relationships.

"The way to do that is to play the game and do something that you enjoy all your life," he said. "Connect with people you like. I only work with people I like. If I could make $100 million off a guy who turned my stomach, I'd say no."

Buffett's happiness lesson in four words: do what you love.

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Management QOL in the News - September 15, 2022

A Key Component of a Happy Life

By Robert Puff Ph.D.

Almost 100% of our energy goes toward changing our external environment and surroundings to improve the direction of our lives. There is a real propensity to think that if things were different, life would go better. For instance, if you are having wonderful experiences, all your focus will be going toward:

1. Trying to recreate those experience
2. Trying to stay in them all the time

People sacrifice so much to keep their lives headed in a certain direction, believing that things will remain great. However, there are big problems with this approach to life.

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Management QOL in the News - August 28, 2022

9 habits linked to a longer, happier life

By Kristen Rogers

Whether it’s pursuing a demanding career, eating better or maintaining friendships, accomplishing the feats we most desire requires a healthy foundation. Living life to the fullest starts with paying attention to your body and mind.

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Management QOL in the News - August 23, 2022

These parts of US are where Americans live longest and shortest

By Reid Wilson

Residents of nine mostly Western and Northeastern states were expected to live more than 80 years in 2019, while those born in two Southern states have a life expectancy of less than 75 years at birth, according to new government data released Thursday.

The National Center for Health Statistics data, shows signs that life expectancies had begun to plateau or even fall in many states across the country, a phenomenon demographers attribute to an opioid crisis that existed before the coronavirus emerged and has likely only gotten worse.

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Management QOL in the News - August 20, 2022

Why Social Media Makes People Unhappy—And Simple Ways to Fix It

By Daisy Yuhas

Disrupted sleep, lower life satisfaction and poor self-esteem are just a few of the negative mental health consequences that research has linked to social media. Somehow the same platforms that can help people feel more connected and knowledgeable also contribute to loneliness and disinformation. What succeeds and fails, computer scientists argue, is a function of how these platforms are designed. Amanda Baughan, a graduate student specializing in human-computer interaction, a subfield of computer science, at the University of Washington, believes that interdisciplinary research could inform better social platforms and apps. At the 2022 Association for Computing Machinery Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in May, she presented findings from a recent project that explored how social media triggers what psychologists call “dissociation,” or a state of reduced self-reflection and narrowed attention. Baughan spoke with Mind Matters editor Daisy Yuhas to explain how and why apps need to change to give the people who use them greater power.

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Management QOL in the News - July 21, 2022

A Happiness Columnist’s Three Biggest Happiness Rules

By Arthur C. Brooks

A good life isn’t just about getting the details right. Here are some truths that transcend circumstance and time.

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Management QOL in the News - June 27, 2022

Forget Paris, London, and most of Australia: There are new winners for the list of the world’s most livable cities

By Colin Lodewick

What does it mean to be the best city in the world? Every year, one organization tries to figure it out.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a research organization owned by the Economist media outlet, releases an annual Global Liveability Index, a ranking of the best cities to live in.

The top of the list is typically dominated by cities in North America and western Europe, along with Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The same is the case this year, although there have been several key shifts. While New Zealand topped the list last year as its closed borders let residents have relatively normal lives, it has since lost its edge as most pandemic-era restrictions have been lifted across the globe.

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The Happiness Challenge: Make Choices That Support Your Joy

By Scott Stabile

I asked the community to consider the following questions:

  • What is one thing you will do every day this month that serves your happiness and well-being?
  • What one thing will you do, every day, that speaks to your willingness to take care of yourself?

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Apple's $5 Billion Office Complex Offers an Important Lesson About Employee Well-Being

By Kelly Main

Apple's $5 billion headquarters, Apple Park, is a space-age wonderplex designed by Steve Jobs to serve as a vehicle for innovation. Beyond its out-of-this-world splendor are seemingly small details that make some of the biggest differences in the lives of those who spend their days there--increasing workplace satisfaction, general well-being, and overall happiness.

Said to be one of Jobs's favorite parts of Apple Park is the 10,000-square-foot fitness center. What's genius about the space is not its innate splendor and lavish design, but that any business can re-create it without spending a fortune--or in some cases, without spending anything.

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Management QOL in the News - June 16, 2022

Dare to share: how revealing your secrets to others can improve your life

By Michael Slepian

The normal course of actions is to share with others what we’re really thinking, but to keep a secret is to veer away from this everyday act of social connection. When this happens, you prevent yourself from fully engaging, blocking yourself from a chance to bond with others and get help from them. So, what happens when we form the intention to keep a secret? As you might imagine, this increases the likelihood of hiding the secret in conversation, but it also increases the likelihood of thinking about it outside of that.

The hard part of having a secret is not that you have to hide it, but that you have to live with it, alone in your thoughts. When the only venue to work through it is your own mind, you are not likely to find the most productive way of thinking about it. Like a carousel that just never stops, each time you think back on it, you may go through the same motions, having the same negative thoughts, reiterating the same regrets, and finding yourself getting nowhere. It often takes a conversation with another person to escape the loop.

So even if you do have fears and worries, know that the research shows people react more positively to disclosures than we often imagine. Another person can offer you two different kinds of help: emotional support and practical support. Other people can offer unique perspectives, guidance, and advice. The vicious cycle of negative thinking is easier to break when we bring others in. If you are currently keeping a secret from a friend, a family member, or a romantic partner (and the chances are good that you are), then you probably have at least one more secret than you need. Chances are there is at least one too many secrets kept from you, and this is all the more reason to share what’s on your mind. When you open up to others, others will open up to you.

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Management QOL in the News - May 1, 2022

How to make work-life balance work

Nigel Marsh

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity -- and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

Management QOL in the News - April 4, 2022

Important Longevity To-Dos for Your 70s

7 Simple Tip to Improve Your Health and Well-Being

By Mark Stibich, PhD

People's health in their 70s varies a lot. Some people are completely healthy while others have multiple illnesses. No matter what your condition, there is a lot you can do to improve your health, prevent illnesses, and keep your brain sharp.

Here is a list of longevity "to-dos" that will have you feeling better and living longer. Embark on one or two per month with the aim of remaining consistent and progressing as your health and wellness improve.

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6 Ways to Feel Happier, Starting Now

By Kara Baskin

Happiness, we're often told, is one of those things you either have or don't have. It's framed as something that is given (and taken away) based on our unchangeable internal disposition or fleeting external factors: You’re born an optimist—or you're not. You're having a good day—or you’re not. Either way, it's out of your hands.

This simply isn't true. You make happiness happen. Positivity is a skill that can be built and strengthened, and cultivating an optimistic outlook benefits more than your mood. "When we're happy, we're more empathetic, emotionally tough, and creative. Our relationships improve. Our physical health gets a boost. It's a gift that keeps on giving," says Andrew Shatté, Ph.D., meQuilibrium's Chief Science Officer.

But sustained positivity takes work because humans are naturally negative creatures. After all, explains Shatté, we survived as a species by scanning for threats in the wild. "Some animals have wings. Humans had negativity," he says. This now-outdated instinct can keep up from savoring the good things that happen, because "our brains are so wired towards the negative that we compromise on the positive."

It's up to you to make happiness happen. Here are six proven ways to infuse your life with more joy.

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Management QOL in the News - March 28, 2022

Science can answer moral questions

Sam Harris

Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.

Management QOL in the News - March 20, 2022

U.N. Climate Report

The U.N. released an alarming new climate report. Why is the world ignoring it?

Visit the U.N. climate report page and read key reports on climate impacts and solutions from around the United Nations.

Read climate change reports here.

Management QOL in the News - March 18, 2022

The world's happiest countries for 2022

By Marnie Hunter, CNN

Devastating loss of life and growing uncertainty have the world very much on edge, but there is a bit of good news for humanity: Benevolence is surging globally.

That's one of the key findings of the World Happiness Report, a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network that draws on global survey data from people in about 150 countries.

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Management QOL in the News - March 6, 2022

2022’s Happiest Cities in America

By Adam McCann

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a third of Americans to be so stressed that they sometimes find it hard to make basic decisions. Therefore, it’s vital for people to boost their happiness however they can, whether through family, friends, activities, entertainment or work. What people might not realize is that where they live may also determine how happy they are.

Location plays a hand in how bright or gloomy our days are. For years, researchers have studied the science of happiness and found that its key ingredients include a positive mental state, healthy body, strong social connections, job satisfaction and financial well-being. However, money can only make you so happy – people who make $75,000 a year won’t get any higher satisfaction from more money. Consider also the fact that while the U.S. is one of the richest countries, it ranks only 14th on the World Happiness Report.

But not everywhere in the U.S. experiences a uniform level of happiness. As this study aims to illustrate, moving to a certain city may help you be more content. WalletHub drew upon the various findings of positive-psychology research in order to determine which among more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities is home to the happiest people in America. We examined each city based on 30 key indicators of happiness, ranging from the depression rate to the income-growth rate to average leisure time spent per day.

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Management QOL in the News - February 20, 2022

The health benefits of a random act of kindness

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN

This year’s Random Acts of Kindness Day falls during a pandemic for a second year in a row, but the foundation behind it wants you to consider being kind every day. They want you to be a "RAKtivist," or a "Random Acts of Kindness activist." Here’s why: Spreading kindness not only helps others feel better about themselves - it can also boost the giver’s health and happiness, according to research. It’s a win-win for all.

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Management QOL in the News - January 11, 2022

How to harness the power of negative thinking

By Jonathan Dean

Sick of the #grateful, 'good vibes only' crew? You’re not alone — according to a new book, relentless positivity can be more toxic than you think.

Read full article here.

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