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Management QOL in the News - July 11, 2024

Finding Your Ikigai: 8 Questionnaires and Tests

By Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D.

The Japanese art of kintsugi involves repairing broken pottery with gold leaf to produce something more valuable and beautiful than the original.

Imperfections form part of the character and the beauty of the new piece of art (Ayuda, 2018).

How we live, personally and professionally, can also become fractured.

Another Japanese practice, ikigai, can help us heal and find purpose. Like kintsugi, it produces a more fulfilling, complete, and valuable whole (García & Miralles, 2018).

In this article, we look at how to find your ikigai and uncover self-knowledge and meaning along the way while increasing balance and happiness in your life.

Read full article here.

Lessons from the world's longest happiness study

By Jonathan ChangDeborah Becker

For decades, Harvard researchers have been studying what makes people happy --- and what they found surprised them.

“This guy that we call Leo – he went off to World War II, as all the Harvard undergrads did. And when he came back, his mother was ill, and he needed to take care of his mother. So, he went home, he found a job teaching history. And that's where he stayed his whole life. George, my predecessor, thought he's so boring. And then later on, George agreed that he was our happiest person in our study," says Bob Waldinger.

It wasn’t big adventures or accomplishments. What was Leo's secret?

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - July 5, 2024

Opinion: Americans are getting our ‘pursuit of happiness’ all wrong. There’s a simple fix

By Stephanie Harrison

When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our unalienable rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, he had a very specific definition of happiness in mind. He believed that happiness was the result of living virtuously — that becoming a fully happy human required devoting yourself to service to your fellow beings.

His words galvanized generations of Americans to seek out their own personal well-being. Yet the happiness we pursue today is a far cry from that which Jefferson envisioned. It’s putting us in conflict with ourselves, and with others.

Read full article here.

Another health benefit of running: It can be a powerful antidote to loneliness

By Jordyn Bradley

Darren DeMatoff, 57, had an interesting realization a few years ago: Many of his close friends were up to 30 years younger. And then it dawned on him why: They’d met in a running group.

“Running is a great equalizer. It is a place where people find common ground, face similar challenges, overcome similar obstacles, and achieve personal milestones,” DeMatoff, the owner of a Chicago interior accent design and manufacturing company, tells Fortune. “When meeting runners and running together, age doesn’t even enter the equation.”

It’s a valuable lesson he’s learned through his involvement in the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), a group he has been involved with since he decided to run his first marathon in 1995. Now he’s the vice president, and believes strongly that running, when done with others, can be a particularly salient—if surprising—antidote to the loneliness epidemic, currently affecting nearly one in two people in the U.S.

Because while running is by definition a solo activity, it can also be done with others—which in turn brings layer upon layer of physical and mental health benefits.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 28, 2024

11 quotes on living a long, happy life from a 102-year-old who hasn't retired: 'I don't do exceptions'

By Renée Onque

Often, centenarians, people ages 100 and up, say their purpose in life keeps them going, which is why some never retire.

Deborah Szekely, 102, still runs her fitness resort and spa and shows up to work three days a week. She walks every day, sticks to a pescatarian diet and values her friendships.

"My life is healthy, and it is structured to be healthy," Szekely tells CNBC Make It. "You don't get to be 102, like, 'Oh, well, I'll make an exception here, an exception there.' I don't do exceptions. I enjoy my healthy life."

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 27, 2024

The relative importance of friendship to happiness increases with age

Happiness is predicted by social relationships in general and contact frequency in particular. This study aims to examine if the relative importance of social contacts with the closest family/relative, friend, and neighbor in happiness changes with advancing age. We used data for all participants aged 19 years and older (n = 229,099) in the 2019 Community Health Survey, which measured the frequency of contact with the closest relative/family, neighbor, and friend among a representative sample of Koreans between August 16 and October 31, 2019. The Shapley value decomposition method was used to measure the relative importance of each predictor of happiness. Overall, contact frequency was positively associated with happiness (p<0.001). The relative importance value of contact with the closest family, neighbor, and friend to happiness increased from 4.70%, 3.98%, and 7.35%, respectively, in the 19–29 years group to 8.09%, 4.44%, and 11.00%, respectively, in the 60 years and older group. Frequent interactions with the closest friend could have a greater impact on happiness in old age than those with the closest family and neighbor.

Read full article here.

New Study Uncovers An Alarming Consequence Of Chronic Loneliness

By Jillian Wilson

If you feel consistently lonely, you certainly aren’t the only one. Last year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy declared a loneliness epidemic in the United States because of the high prevalence of loneliness among adults and youth.

Loneliness plays a role in health for a multitude of reasons: It’s linked to mental and physical health issues, including depression, heart disease and dementia, making it an important issue to manage. Now, a new study out of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that people who are chronically lonely are also more likely to have a stroke.

Researchers used data from 8,936 people in the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement study; all were 50 and older with no stroke history. Participants reported their loneliness level via a loneliness scale at two points — between 2006 and 2008 and 2010 and 2012.

Researchers established four groups based on this data — “consistently low” for people who reported low loneliness at both times; “remitting” for folks who reported high loneliness the first time and low loneliness the second; “recent onset” for those who reported low loneliness first and high loneliness the second time; and “consistently high” for those who reported high levels of loneliness at both times.

People who reported loneliness at both times were 56% more likely to have a stroke when compared to those who did not report loneliness at either time.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 21, 2024

The No. 1 benefit that keeps people happy at work, says exec in Finland: ‘It's not about the hours—it's about the results’

By Jennifer Liu

Finland is the happiest country in the world, and at one Finnish company, worker happiness comes down to one major benefit: flexibility.

That's the case at Framery, a manufacturing company that makes soundproof pods for office spaces. Every year, the company surveys its roughly 400 employees about the most important things that keep them happy and engaged at work.

The concept of work-life balance is always No. 1 or No. 2, says Anni Hallila, Framery's head of people and culture.

And in order to provide that balance, she says company leaders actively support flexibility in their employees' work schedules and break times.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 20, 2024

'Active' optimists live longer, happier lives. Here's how to become one

By Christian Jarrett

When the Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne hit rock bottom in 2004, she found salvation after discovering what she calls ‘the secret’ – the title she gave to her multi-million-selling book and film released a couple of years later.

Apparently known and guarded by highly successful people for generations, the secret is that your thoughts shape your life.

“Remember that your thoughts are the primary cause of everything,” Byrne wrote, citing the ‘Law of Attraction’ as the underlying mechanism, which is the notion that your thoughts communicate with the cosmos and, in return, it gives you what you want.

Through a process of ‘manifestation’ or ‘manifesting’, if you devote time to imagining that you already have what you want and even feeling grateful, as if you already have it, then “you will attract everything that you require,” Bryne wrote.

Byrne cites an early 20th-century book on getting rich as among her influences, while the roots of manifestation go back at least as far as the late 19th-century New Thought movement, which placed an emphasis on the power of the human mind to influence external events.

Read full article here.

4 places with the world's longest-living people all have this in common: 'It seems to make us happier'

By Renée Onque

After 20 years of interviewing centenarians and visiting "Blue Zones," the areas in the world where people tend to live the longest, Dan Buettner learned something that he didn't expect.

"When you take worldwide data on happiness, and you control for everything else, you find that people who live next to water are...happier than people who [don't]," Buettner says.

In fact, four of the five Blue Zones — Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica — are on the water.

While there are various theories about why this is the case, the end result is clear.

"It may be the tranquilizing effect of water or it may be that the climate is moderated because of the water," Buettner says. "But it seems to make us happier."

And happiness isn't the only positive side-effect of living by the water. A 2017 systematic review published in BMJ Open found that spending time near coasts, lakes or rivers can "promote health and well-being and prevent disease."

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 19, 2024

Dissatisfied at work? Here are the next steps to take, according to career experts

By Susanne Norris

Many factors can make you decide it’s time to leave your job. From micro-managing bosses to gruelling working hours, there often comes a moment when you think enough is enough.

And, it seems that feeling may be more common than you’d think. New research conducted by St James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy and Indeed found that one in four UK workers say they’re dissatisfied with their career, with a third saying they’re looking to change roles in the next 12 months.

The difference between satisfaction among age groups varied greatly, too. 27% of Generation X reported being unhappy in their jobs, as did 23% of millennials. On the opposite side of the spectrum, those over the age of 60 were overwhelmingly happy in their careers, with more than four in five reporting they felt satisfied at work.

When it came to why people are dissatisfied with their roles, almost four in 10 said it was due to limited earning potential. However, the search for an ‘ideal’ salary differed vastly between men and women, with men setting this at £54,771 compared to £45,624 for women.

Whether you want to find a new sense of fulfilment in your current role – perhaps via a better work/life balance, more enjoyable tasks or a pay rise – or if you have your heart set on moving roles, Stylist asked Gee Foottit, partnerships manager at St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy, and Jack Kennedy, senior economist at Indeed, for their advice on what steps to take next.

Read full article here.

Therapy is more than lying on a couch and talking. Here are 5 ways it can boost happiness

By Andrea Kane

In old movies, it’s often depicted with a patient lying on a couch, talking to a stony-faced, note-taking analyst who never speaks. Critics sometimes derisively describe it as navel-gazing. Therapists are offhandedly called “shrinks,” a throwback to the ancient practice of shrinking the head of a conquered enemy.

And let’s face it, the practice still carries a stigma for many; acknowledging you see a therapist is akin to admitting you are weak or “crazy,” especially in some professions.

When it comes to physical health, most of us don’t hesitate too long to get help for injuries such as a broken bone or a burn. But when it comes to emotional health, there often is a delay, possibly resulting in a bigger mental health crisis.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 18, 2024

Transform your anxiety into something useful. Here’s how

By Andrea Kane

Tossing and turning in the wee hours. A low but constant buzzing in the brain that thwarts concentration. A feeling of tense restlessness.

Most have experienced this sort of anxiety — not clinical anxiety, which might result in a full-on panic attack, but the run-of-the-mill kind that leaves you feeling uncomfortable.

“Anxiety is this simple definition: that feeling of fear or worry that comes in situations of uncertainty,” neuroscientist Dr. Wendy Suzuki recently told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his podcast Chasing Life. “That’s my simplistic definition of everyday anxiety.”

That experience is not pleasant. “The general feeling is, ‘I just want to get rid of it,’” said Suzuki, a professor of neural science and psychology at New York University as well as dean of the school’s College of Arts and Science. She is also the author of “Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion.”

“The misunderstanding is that it is valuable,” Suzuki said. “It’s a warning system that we all need. It is a tool that helps us figure out what we hold dear. If we don’t have that, I think something important will be taken away from our lives.”

Read full article here.

How do love and romance affect the brain? A relationship expert weighs in

By Ashlyn Messier

When you see someone you have an initial attraction to, what is happening in the brain?

And how does that change when you are in a long-term, serious relationship with someone?

Falling in love can not only change your life — it can also change your brain chemistry. With this holding true, it's no wonder such strong emotions are felt when you develop a true, deep love with another person.

When you first feel a romantic connection with someone, you could very well feel an initial spark. When you're getting ready for a date, you may feel butterflies in your stomach. When you experience deep feelings of love, it can be all-consuming.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 17, 2024

Why Knitting (and Hobbies Like It) Can Make You Calmer, Sharper, and Happier

By Julia Sullivan

When Los Angeles-based Teri Slaven, 78, starts knitting, she immediately enters what she calls “the zone.” “I feel busy, focused, and content,” she tells SELF. For Carolyn Barnes, 33, from Tempe, Arizona, it’s crocheting. She started her new hobby after a death in her family and a stressful phase of parenthood. (Her sons were 1 and 3 at the time.) “I was grieving and really tired from motherhood," she tells SELF. “I didn’t have anything left to give. But I knew I couldn’t give what little I had left to my phone.”

She bought a beginner’s crocheting kit, called Woobles, and although there was an initial learning curve, she recognized a sharp change in her brain right away. She was alert. “I felt a sense of purpose,” she explains.

If you’re on the hunt for a hobby that’ll potentially relieve stress, calm you down, and help you feel productive and fulfilled, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching—any goal-directed pursuit you can do at home—might be worth looking into. Research suggests that manual tasks like these may help improve your attentiveness overall and boost your mood, for example. Other studies have found that learning new skills that require hand-eye coordination (like quilting or digital photography) seem to help combat cognitive decline in older age.

Read full article here.

I’m a recovering perfectionist. Here’s how I embraced the joy of ‘good enough’

By Moya Sarner

When I was planning my wedding, I was absolutely determined not to get caught up in the “perfect day” of it all, and to have a relaxed, informal celebration. I more or less managed, and my husband and I ended up having a lovely time. But I can’t say the same for our honeymoon.

Perfectionism has a weird reputation; the only confessable “weakness” in a job interview, an eccentric character trait and the secret of Steve Jobs’ success.

But I think it’s much darker than that. It’s a kind of psychological fascism that can take over the sufferer’s mind, draining their world of colour and light, spontaneity and joy. Deep down, I think many of us are driven by the unconscious wish that if we could just have the perfect body, the perfect kitchen, the perfect job, the perfect wardrobe, the perfect family – if we could just rid ourselves of every flaw – then we would, finally, be happy. For that reason, it can be one of the most significant obstacles to happiness we encounter in life.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 16, 2024

These experts study aging for a living. Here are 6 things that help them live longer, happier lives.

By Natalie Rahhal

Aging: We all do it. In fact, you’re doing it right now. It’s a lifelong process, but when a certain number of candles appear on the cake — for some, maybe it’s 60, while for others, 70 — a feeling of dread may start to creep in. Nearly half of Americans fear getting older, according to a recent Forbes survey. But there’s some comforting news: Research and the survey show that the older we get, the less we fear aging. And increasingly, experts are focusing on extending people’s “health span” — the years of a healthy, high-quality life — rather than just their lifespan.

The secrets to aging well, experts tell Yahoo Life, don’t necessarily require a strict diet, a hard-core exercise program or expensive medical care. In fact, it’s easier than you might think. Here’s how experts on aging have learned to age well.

Read full article here.

4 ways to let go of grudges that can harm our health

By Juli Fraga

Holding a grudge against someone is common for most of us. A neighbor insults us, our boss criticizes us or a friend betrays us, and we begin to resent them. While it’s human nature to get upset at being treated badly, holding on to ill will can hurt our mental health.

In one small study of 20 grudge holders, researchers found that harboring resentment could reinforce upsetting thoughts, lower self-esteem and make negative feelings fester. Another study linked bearing a grudge with an increased risk of heart disease and chronic pain.

Despite these downsides, putting a grudge to rest isn’t always easy. As a psychologist, I know they can drag on for months or even years.

A patient I worked with years ago held a grudge, well into adulthood, against a former friend who had publicly teased her when they were at a camp in the seventh grade. She recognized that her resentment kept her stuck, but she didn’t know how to shake it.

There’s no shame in holding a grudge. But if you’d like to set your grudge free, here are four tips I share with my patients.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 15, 2024

Want to Be More Positive? Here Are 10 Things Optimistic People Do

By Lindsay Tigar

Learning how to be more positive can lead to faster recovery from stressful events—like a home renovation—among other benefits. To help us see life through a more positive lens, we can gain inspiration from how optimistic people think, live, and make decisions—especially during difficult times.

Here, mental health experts share why positive thinking is helpful, along with a few things you can do differently to be more positive. To start your journey into thinking more positively, try incorporating these optimistic practices into your daily life.

Read full article here.

Psychology expert shares her No. 1 tip on how to deprioritize work and live a purposeful life

By Sawdah Bhaimiya

Jodi Wellman, a positive psychology expert, was an executive leader for 17 years but realized that achieving the pinnacle of success wasn't bringing her any joy.

"I was, like many people, achievement-oriented. I tied my sense of self-worth to what I was doing, how much I was producing, what the name on my business card said, and I felt like I was stuck in the trappings of success, especially at the end of my corporate career," Wellman told CNBC Make It in an interview.

Wellman recently founded the wellbeing platform Four Thousand Mondays and authored the book "You Only Die Once." She previously held executive positions at companies like The Sports Clubs of Canada and Bally Total Fitness.

Despite being in an enviable position of success, she felt like she had reached a dead-end in her last corporate role as senior president of operations at Bally Total Fitness.

Read full article here.

Want to Be More Organized and Less Stressed? Try The 80/20 Rule

By Ana Morales

Confession: I am addicted to shows and podcasts about how to be more organized. In fact, you could say I am obsessed with clean-fluencers. My social media feeds are filled with videos about organizing, decluttering, and cleaning your home. When it comes to gathering tips and ideas for how to be more organized, I truly can’t get enough.

Call it a mental massage; call it psychological relief. There’s simply nothing more soothing to me than seeing a space organized just so. In my rabbit hole of clean-fluencer content, I have learned many things: the perfect way to fold a T-shirt; the best system for hanging clothes; the ideal system for purging your old clothes. But the rule that has helped me the most—not only in terms of maintaining order, but also in finding mental peace—is the 80/20 rule.

For pro-organizers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of the Netflix series The Home Edit—which you better believe I’m also addicted to—the 80/20 rule is the golden gospel for putting order into a home. On the podcast Lipstick on the Rim with actress Molly Sims, the duo fervently recommend applying it to homes large and small, explaining that it’s all about filling your space 80% at most and leaving the remaining 20% empty to “take a break.” This free space provides plenty of visual relief and allows new objects to enter your home without clutter piling up—although, of course, you must perform the occasional mini-purge in order to stay within the 80/20 rule.

My favorite thing about this rule is that it can be applied to all types of space—closets, pantries, rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, halls—and, I can assure you that complying with it offers both peace and relief in equal measures to my home and mind.

Intrigued? Read on for tips on how to be more organized using the game-changing 80/20 rule.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 14, 2024

The life sabbatical: is doing absolutely nothing the secret of happiness?

By Anita Chaudhuri

You might imagine that escaping from your everyday life would involve relocating to a Hebridean croft or attending a series of rejuvenating retreats. But, according to Emma Gannon’s new book project, A Year of Nothing, it could be as simple as staying at home. “I did nothing,” writes Gannon. “I stopped replying to emails. I used my savings. I slept. I borrowed a friend’s dog. I ate bananas in bed. I bought miniature plants. I read magazines. I lay down. I did nothing. It felt totally alien to me.”

For Gannon, the sabbatical was enforced after she experienced burnout, caused by chronic exhaustion from occupational stress. “All the while, I was keeping diaries,” she says. “Writing down the ‘nothingness’ of my days. I journalled all the things I noticed, the stuff I usually ignored, the people I met, the kindness of strangers, the magical coincidences – the smallest, tiniest uplifting glimmers.”

Am I alone in feeling a surge of envy reading Gannon’s litany of aimlessness? It’s not even as if I’m in need of a break. Recently I went on a relaxing holiday to Málaga. I admired the Pompidou Centre, stared out to sea at the distant blur of Morocco and guzzled bitter-orange-filled dark chocolate from the supermarket. In other words, bliss. On my return after two weeks, I plunged back into my working life recharged and raring to go. But, inexplicably, days later, I found myself intensely craving more time off, and experiencing a low-level discontentment that only intensified in the following days.

Was I having some kind of existential breakdown? I turned to the psychologist Suzy Reading, author of Rest to Reset: The Busy Person’s Guide to Pausing With Purpose, for advice. She suggested that, like many people, I probably struggle to identify what kind of rest I need. “For people who do a lot of socialising and interacting with other people for their work, they might find that what they actually need to replenish is silence and solitude.”

Read full article here.

Have smartphones made Gen Z the ‘anxious generation’? 3 ways to be calmer and happier without ditching social media

By Aditi Shrikant

Nearly two decades into the smartphone era, some experts are warning of the potential dangers of being plugged in anytime, anywhere. Especially when it comes to those whose brains are still developing.

Americans under the age of 30 reported lower levels of happiness from 2021 to 2023 than those over the age of 60, according to this year's World Happiness Report.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University's Stern School of Business, lays the blame squarely on our devices.

His new book, "The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness," argues that the constant access to social media that phones have given us has led to social comparison, sleep deprivation and loneliness in Gen Z.

And it's touched a nerve: his book is currently No. 3 on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list.

Of course, as high-profile as the book has become, not everyone agrees with its thesis. Some critics argue blaming smartphones is an oversimplification and not fully supported by evidence

Zach Rausch, lead researcher to Haidt and an associate research scientist at NYU-Stern School of Business, says kids who had access to social media and iPhones in elementary and middle school are more anxious and less productive.

"The goal of technology is that it's a tool that we use to meet our goals," he says. "If it's not doing that, it ends up using us at the cost of our goals."

But, there are ways to curb these negative effects.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 13, 2024

3 ways to nurture your employees’ mental well-being: ‘It builds that trust in them that you have their back’

By Lindsey Leake

Employees want healthier work environments, specifically those that prioritize their mental health.

Nearly all workers polled in the American Psychological Association’s 2023 Work in America Survey (92%) said it’s very or somewhat important to them to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being. Yet 77% reported having experienced work-related stress in the last month, and 43% worried that telling their employer about a mental health condition would have a negative impact on them in the workplace.

When employees suffer, so, too, does business. Untreated depression, for example, has cost the U.S. economy more than $51 billion in absenteeism from work and lost productivity, according to nonprofit advocacy group Mental Health America.

But what exactly makes a workplace healthy? How can employers nurture employees’ mental well-being in ways that foster both company morale and the bottom line?

Read full article here.

7 tips for developing digital balance, from happiness experts: 'Find that happy medium where technology is working for you'

By Renée Onque

Digital devices provide unlimited access to so many things, and it can be both a gift and a curse.

Smartphones and laptops help us to stay connected to our loved ones through phone calls and video conferencing, Laurie Santos, a psychology professor who teaches Yale's most popular class ever, said in a recent podcast episode of "The Happiness Lab."

At the same time, "research shows that our screens and apps and devices are making us less social, less present and even less happy," Santos added.

During the episode, Santos spoke to Amy Blankson, a happiness expert and co-founder of the Digital Wellness Institute, about ways that people can achieve a better balance when using digital devices.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 12, 2024

This researcher studied happiness for 10 years to try and find it herself—now she has a new definition for it

By Renée Onque

In 2013, Stephanie Harrison's life looked perfect on paper, but she was deeply unhappy behind closed doors.

"Everyone had told me that I was doing all of the right things," Harrison wrote in her book, "New Happy."

"But in reality, I was unbearably lonely. I had daily panic attacks, developed a stress-induced autoimmune disease, and felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness almost every day."

During one of her saddest moments, Harrison said she developed a sense of curiosity about her unhappiness and felt inspired to find concrete answers about how she, and others, could be happier.

More than 10 years later, Harrison now has a decade of experience studying the science of happiness. CNBC Make It spoke to her about why she challenges the common definition of happiness and offers up a new one.

Read full article here.

The 1 Thing Almost Everyone Gets Wrong About Happiness

By Ashley Broadwater

According to the 2024 World Happiness Survey, the United States is no longer one of the 20 happiest countries. It’s pretty glum news, but not necessarily surprising.

While some of our stressors and sources of grief are out of our control, or might constitute a “permacrisis,” there’s also a common misunderstanding about happiness that’s plaguing us. This belief often stands in the way of us truly experiencing regular, daily joy.

The misunderstanding in question: that happiness is an end goal, or something we can’t have right now.

In reality, we can cultivate happiness every day and before our goals are met. So why do we think otherwise? Why do we see happiness as an end goal? Here are a few reasons, according to therapists.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 11, 2024

Do Less. It’s Good for You

By Jamie Ducharme

You take a vacation day, but get distracted by the thought of your work inbox filling up. Or you sit down to watch a movie and immediately feel guilty about all the tasks still on your to-do list. Or perhaps you splurge on a massage, but barely enjoy it because your thoughts are racing the entire time.

If any of these sound familiar, you’re not alone. Relaxing may sound like the easiest thing in the world, but for many people it’s anything but.

Erin Westgate, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Florida, learned that a decade ago, when she helped design a study to test the effects of letting people do nothing but sit with their thoughts for a few minutes. “We had this idea that if we gave people a few moments in their busy days to just sit and slow down and be alone with their thoughts, that they’d find it really enjoyable and it would be relaxing and increase well-being,” Westgate says. The opposite happened: people were so uncomfortable doing nothing that many opted to give themselves small electric shocks instead.

Doing nothing, as Westgate’s study illustrated, can be difficult because most of us aren’t used to thinking without turning those thoughts into actions—a disconnect that can be “incredibly cognitively intense,” she says.

Read full article here.

Why we need to stop feeling guilty about taking time off work to go on holiday

By Amy Beecham

On the last day of my recent trip to Tuscany, as I wandered the streets of Florence, gelato in hand, the sudden urge to check my emails washed over me. It’s the ultimate out-of-office sin, I know, and as Outlook greeted me with 600 unread messages, I immediately regretted the decision. What kind of office chaos would I be returning to? How long would it take me to catch up on the five days I’d spent off? Had I left my colleagues in the lurch, needing to pick up my slack? Despite enjoying (and desperately needing) my time away, I felt sheepish, like I’d skipped a class at school or left a party early without saying goodbye.

I’m not alone in the feeling. Research from online learning platform ELVTR found that more than two-thirds of Britons continue to work on vacations, with 73% admitting feeling guilty about it, while according to Google trend data, searches for “feel bad taking time off” have risen by 126% in the last month. Combine that with the fact that there are currently over 11.5 million posts on the TikTok search “Feeling guilty for taking a day off work” and the conclusion is clear: we have a big problem with holiday guilt and enjoying the time off that we’re entitled to.

It’s no surprise that so many of us struggle to switch off during downtime. In the same ELVTR survey, one in four said they get asked to check their emails while on holiday by their bosses and colleagues and 24% are bombarded by work-related text messages while away from their desks.

It’s having such a severe impact that 35% of people in the UK are taking less time off than they used to, and 12% say they won’t be able to take holidays at all due to understaffing following company redundancies. In fact, having no one to delegate work to is the main reason people work while on vacation at 39%, with 5% saying they are afraid they might lose their job if they don’t.

Read full article here.

4 Signs Your Body Is Telling You It’s Time to Take a Break

By Angela Haupt

If the smoke alarm in your house were beeping frantically, you’d spring into action. If your car alarm started whirring loudly, you’d investigate. And if a tornado warning was issued for your neighborhood, you'd almost certainly take cover.

Yet we’re not so fast, experts agree, to react to the alarm bells ringing in our own body, letting us know we need to slow down. “The problem is, we become conditioned early on to stop listening to our bodies,” says Jennifer King, an assistant professor of applied social sciences and assistant director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. That means we might miss important signs that manifest when we’re navigating prolonged, repetitive, or unpredictable stress—the kind that affects many of us. “A cascade of changes happen in the body when the stress response is activated in a sustained way,” King says. “When the dose is too big, and there’s not a clear beginning or end, that causes wear and tear on the body.”

That’s why it’s so essential to pay close attention to changes in how we relate to others, what we’re experiencing physically, and how we’re coping mentally and emotionally—and to be open to feedback from the people around us. We asked experts to explain what to look and listen for, plus what happens if we ignore what we find instead of addressing it.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 08, 2024

Top 5 regrets people have when they die, says ex-hospice care worker—many don’t realize them ‘until the end’

By Ashton Jackson

At the end of their lives, people tend to reflect on things they wish they'd done differently.

Many wish they'd expressed more love and forgiveness, and use their last words to show their appreciation for the people in their lives, oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee recently said during a commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania.

Other people regret not doing enough for themselves, according to Bronnie Ware, author of the 2011 book "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying" and a former palliative care worker. Ware spent eight years administering aid for people battling serious illnesses, many of which turned fatal.

She paid attention to the guilt and remorse people expressed on their deathbeds, and thought there was a "big lesson" people could learn from them, she told British radio program "The Chris Evans Breakfast Show" last year. Her book details the five phrases she heard most frequently:

  • I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
  • I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - June 05, 2024

‘You can do anything here!’ Why Lithuania is the best place in the world to be young

By Kate McCusker

In the shade of a tree on a warm day in Vilnius, Lithuania, I’m having coffee with the happiest twentysomethings in the world. Given the weather (perfect) and the beverage (cheap), it is hard to feel anything but happy. It is harder still if, like 23-year-old Simona Jurkuvenaite, you have just been handed €21,000 from the Lithuanian government to direct your debut short film about the country’s teenagers.

“This is a great place,” she says, gesturing around the manicured square where we’re sitting, on the edge of the city’s new town. “It’s pretty awesome that you can get these kinds of opportunities here.”

So good are the opportunities and so high is the level of optimism that Lithuania topped this year’s World Happiness Report rankings for the under-30s. The country’s gen-Zers and millennials rated themselves 7.76 out of 10 on the happiness scale, miles ahead of the UK and the US, at 32nd and 62nd respectively. While the report sounded alarm bells about young people’s welfare in the west, Lithuania’s twentysomethings could set to work meme-ifying and TikTokking about the confirmation that they had it pretty good.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - May 26, 2024

Can you rewire your brain for happiness? Dr. Sanjay Gupta weighs in

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Happiness is an idea that has been woven into the fabric of humanity, going back to ancient civilizations.

Roughly 250 years ago, it made its way into this country’s Declaration of Independence as an unalienable right: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Although we’ve grappled with it for millennia, the concept of happiness and how to attain it remains pretty elusive. Some might see it as having a sense of general well-being. For others, it might be feeling a spark of unadulterated joy. Yet others might find happiness chasing a dream and reaching it. It might be some combination of these – or something else entirely.

I like to think of myself as a pretty happy guy. I have three wonderful teenage daughters and a wife, Rebecca, with whom I just celebrated a 20th anniversary; I’m close to my parents, my “baby” brother and his family. I have moments of complete contentment and a career that feels meaningful to me as a practicing neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent.

But I also realize it’s not that simple. There are other layers to happiness and a lot of nuance within those layers.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - May 22, 2024

I'm From the World's Happiest Country—Our Work Culture Is Different to the US

By Miika Mäkitalo

In Finland we have a saying "kell' onni on, se onnen kätkeköön". In short, it means "whoever has found happiness, that happiness she should hide".

At first hearing, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this doesn't sound very uplifting, but it is phrases like this that I believe have contributed to making Finland the world's happiest country for the last six years.

Read full article here.

Millennials Are Ready For a Four-Day Week

By Aliss Higham

The coronavirus pandemic upended office traditions around the world, making working from home the new normal and Zoom meetings the favored way to catch up with colleagues and clients. But millennials, often bashed by their elders as being workshy, are keen for more reforms to the work-life balance, with new polling showing the generation is considerably in favor of adopting a four-day working week.

The concept of the four-day working week is simple: employees work a day less than the standard five, which works out as 32 work hours instead of 40. Workers still have to complete the same amount of work in 80 percent of the time, while in many cases still taking home their full compensation package. Numerous major companies have introduced a reduced week either every week or just some weeks, including Kickstarter, Bolt and Dolby.

Read full article here.

Embrace Your Emotions—Don’t Let Society Numb You

By Emily Kitazawa

Does society suppress your true self? How can you learn to embrace your emotions fully? Does embracing your emotions really improve your life?

Author Glennon Doyle realized that she could use painful emotions to grow and evolve—to become truly alive. Doyle defines being “alive” as constantly evolving into a more authentic and fully-formed version of yourself.

Read on to find out how to embrace your emotions and why Doyle believes you must embrace your feelings fully to live a truly satisfying life.

Read full article here.

People Who Garden May Have Better Sleep Quality, Study Finds

By Carissa Chesanek

Those who garden know it is not only a way to enjoy fresh flowers and produce at home, but it’s a fun and relaxing hobby that can help you slow down and be more in the moment.

To make the list of benefits even longer, findings from a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders show that people who spend time gardening outdoors may have better quality sleep.

“We know that sufficient sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle along with nutrition and exercise,” says Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, M.D., sleep specialist and American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) spokesperson. “Insufficient sleep contributes to the risk of other chronic medical problems.”

When we don’t get enough sleep, we can experience an increase in depression, anxiety, memory problems, and our bodies are more susceptible to getting sick. Getting enough sleep every night is important to allow your brain and body to recharge and help regulate your metabolism and immune system. Good sleep hygiene can also help decrease chronic pain and the risk of cancer.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - May 15, 2024

7 Habits That Are Secretly Messing With Your Cortisol

By Jillian Wilson

There’s lots of talk about cortisol (which is commonly referred to as your body’s stress hormone) on social media, such as how to lower it, how to regulate it and signs that it’s too high.

But those posts can confuse folks about the role of cortisol, too. Cortisol is a necessary hormone that is involved in lots of aspects of your day-to-day functioning, including your immune system, your sleep-wake cycle, blood sugar regulation, and your body’s stress response, said Saru Bala, a naturopathic doctor based in Arizona.

Read full article here.

8 Health Benefits of Getting Back to Nature and Spending Time Outside

By Emily Swaim

In all honesty, Mother Nature may find the indoor world pretty tough to compete with sometimes. After all, she can’t offer flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, or WiFi. But she might potentially offer something even more important: improved health, by way of a stronger immune system, better sleep, and reduced stress.

Spending time outdoors can boost physical and mental health in a range of ways. You don’t have to spend hours at a time outside before those benefits kick in, either.

According to a 2019 study that included data from 19,806 participants, spending at least 120 minutes in nature per week can significantly boost health and well-being. You can go for a 2-hour chunk all at once, or break it up into smaller daily segments — the benefits still hold.

Even without any greenery around, spending time in sunlight and fresh air may help you feel better in mind and body.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - May 14, 2024

Forest Bathing for Health: How Nature Nurtures Wellbeing

By Anthoni Huggins-Cooper

Research suggests that spending time in natural settings is beneficial to both mental and physical health. Some findings are based on the active practice of forest bathing, while others relate to non-deliberate time spent in nature.

The connection between nature and health is not a simple one. Engaging with the natural world is a multisensory, multivariate experience. For that reason, it can be difficult to narrow down which exact components of forest bathing support well-being.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - May 4, 2024

Philosophers are studying Reddit’s “Am I the Asshole?”

By Sigal Samuel

Philosophers, bless them, are trying to understand how normal people think about morality.

Normal people, as you may have heard, hang out on the internet. And what is the internet’s biggest trove of everyday moral dilemmas? Why, it’s Reddit’s “Am I the Asshole?” forum!

So, why not comb through millions of comments there to find out how people make moral decisions?

This might sound like a joke, but it’s actually been the past four years of Daniel Yudkin’s life. As he was doing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, Yudkin thought about how moral psychology and moral philosophy — his fields of research — mostly focus on hypothetical, contextless scenarios involving strangers.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - May 2, 2024

A Biologist Shares 6 Simple Steps For A Happier Life

By Alice Rosati

In his latest book Come Se Tutto Fosse un Miracolo (As If Everything Were a Miracle), Daniel Lumera, an Italian natural biologist and meditation expert, recounts his own journey of death and rebirth while offering practical advice that can easily be incorporated into our daily lives. He provides a path to overcome difficult moments of crisis and live life with more serenity and lightness.

The title of Lumera’s new book highlights an attitude that allows us to break free of our common habit of sleepwalking through life. We can rediscover a sense of wonder and approach the world as if we are encountering it for the first time, enjoying the thrill of discovery. “Most of us look for intense reactions and strong emotions in our daily lives, when in fact the great wonder of life is already within us. If we become aware of the miraculous qualities of everything around us, we can feel more deeply connected to the meaning and purpose of our existence. There is an inner space where we can overcome crises and awaken happiness, wonder, and creativity, as we appreciate the gift of existence,” Lumera explains. “We need to imagine ourselves as a patras, a Sanskrit term meaning a container or bowl. Each of us must guard this bowl so that it remains intact. According to Eastern traditions, during the course of life, events and situations occur that create cracks in our bowl and that is how we lose our purity. The six steps that I call charisms, or gifts, allow us to return to that original state of purity when the bowl was intact. That bowl can hold all the beauty and happiness that escapes us when we turn away from our true selves and become trapped in our fears and expectations.”

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 10, 2024

The vorfreude secret: 30 zero-effort ways to fill your life with joy

By Rachel Dixon

Be honest: there are times when you have felt schadenfreude, or “delight in another’s misfortunes”. But what about vorfreude? I recently came across this lovely word, which my German-speaking friend translated as “the anticipation of joy”. It struck me as such a hopeful concept – surely we could all do with less schadenfreude and more vorfreude. So what exactly is anticipatory joy, how do we cultivate it and will it make us happier?

“The idea is to find joy in the lead-up to an event,” says Sophie Mort, a clinical psychologist and mental health expert at the meditation and mindfulness app Headspace. “For example, we often feel joy and excitement when planning a trip, thinking about going on a date or anticipating a special meal.” It’s easy to look forward to holidays and special occasions, but a joy-filled life is also about everyday occurrences. Rory Platt, a writer at the personal development company The School of Life, says: “The trick lies in filling our calendar with lots of little moments to look forward to – like tiny baubles that, when seen from a distance, combine to make a more glittering future.”

But vorfreude is not about wishing your life away and thinking you will be happy in an imagined future. “Looking forward to something can trigger joy in the present moment,” says Karen Neil, a health coach and the founder of Mindful Medicine. This can boost your mood, reduce your stress levels and help to avoid burnout. A 2017 study published in Frontiers of Psychology found that anticipating positive events activated the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with a higher level of wellbeing.

Read full article here.

22 Small Things That People Say Made Them Drastically Happier

By Brittany Wong

When homing in on how to be happier, it’s easier to concentrate on all the negatives you need to eliminate in your life: Toxic positivity, comparing yourself to others, those weekly phone calls from your mother-in-law.

Weeding out unpleasant things can help, but it’s just as important to take an additive approach and think of small things you could add to your life to boost your spirits. With that in mind, we recently asked our readers to share the one thing they started doing daily (or in some cases weekly) that made them considerably happier.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 6, 2024

4 key ingredients to happiness, according to scientists and our readers

By Ryan Fonseca

Last month, we posed some simple questions to Essential California readers: Are you happy? What makes you happy? Could the government help make you happier?

State lawmakers are also wondering how they can make you happier and recently held the first hearing of the state Assembly’s Select Committee on Happiness and Public Policy Outcomes. The committee, chaired by Rep. Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), wants to understand how happiness could be used as a metric to shape public policy in the Golden State.

The key ingredients to a happy life aren’t mysterious or complex.

According to international research (yes, there are happiness scientists out there) those who feel a greater sense of safety, freedom, mobility and community and have strong relationships are more likely to be happy.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 3, 2024

Isolated Indigenous people as happy as wealthy western peers – study

By Rupert Neate

People living in remote Indigenous communities are as happy as those in wealthy developed countries despite having “very little money”, according to new scientific research that could challenge the widely held perception that “money buys happiness”.

Researchers who interviewed 2,966 people in 19 Indigenous and local communities across the world found that on average they were as happy – if not happier – as the average person in high-income western countries.

Read full article here.

How practicing persistence can boost your happiness, productivity, and energy

By Jordyn Bradley

Research points to the power of motivation to boost the brain’s response to anything. Motivation lowers activation energy, the amount of energy it takes to begin a task, and boosts overall energy, enhancing the rewards of your effort. The brawny brain becomes a happier brain, too.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 29, 2024

How your future self can help your present well-being

By Stacey Colino

We’ve all had moments when we wished we could say, “Beam me up, Scotty!”

This desire to be in a better place or time is related to a psychological strategy called temporal distancing. Imagining ourselves in the future is a way to cope with the stress and anxiety of the present.

“Just because time travel takes place inside our heads doesn’t mean it can’t change reality,” said Hal Hershfield, a professor of marketing, behavioral decision-making and psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Management and author of the book “Your Future Self: How to Make Tomorrow Better Today.” “How you think about your future can have a huge impact on your present and future selves.”

Read full article here.

5 Things You Should Do First Thing In The Morning To Be Happier All Day

By Catherine Pearson

Mornings can be rough for many people who tend to feel sleepy pretty regularly, which in turn makes them report feeling irritable a lot of the time. And yes, it’s hard to feel cheery when you’re overtired and stressed — much of which, alas, is outside of people’s control.

But happiness experts say there are simple habits people can practice in the morning that will that have a profound influence on how they feel throughout the day. They’re easy tweaks that can help improve overall mental well-being.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 24, 2024

These ‘Pathways to Hope’ Can Improve Your Mental Health

By Anna Lee Beyer

If experiencing a mental health problem were plotted like a line on a graph, it might look like a low-level shallow wave, or a dramatic fall and rise with a few roller coaster bumps scattered in between. When people who have made it through a mental health struggle describe their experience, there is often an inflection point when something “clicked” and they started to feel better.

In her book Little Treatments, Big Effects, clinical psychology professor and therapist Dr. Jessica Schleider writes about her research into single-session interventions for mental health care. Through surveying and interviewing 98 people and analyzing their stories, Schleider identified five “pathways to hope”—elements from stories of mental health recovery that represented the turning point from struggling to wellness:

  • Surprising yourself
  • Feeling seen
  • Seeing others
  • Reclaiming your narrative
  • Giving back

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 22, 2024

These are the world’s happiest countries in 2024

By Marnie Hunter

The World Happiness Report is out, and once again Nordic countries are humming along with the highest scores. The No. 1 country, Finland, has held onto its top ranking for seven years straight.

This year’s report is the first to include separate rankings by age group, and it brings bad news about life satisfaction among young people in some parts of the world.

Happiness has dropped so sharply among the young in North America that young people there are now less happy than the old. Those low scores helped push the United States out of the top 20 on the overall list for the first time since the report was first published in 2012.

But the US and other countries dropping in rank was also because other nations – especially several in Eastern Europe – had welcome gains in happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 15, 2024

Lawmakers want to help California be happy

By Lynn La

Can California legislate its way to happiness?

Former Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is committed to trying, though he puts his own happiness at only two out of 10 (ask him again after November, when his term ends, he told CalMatters).

After being forced to hand over his leadership post last summer, the Lakewood Democrat became the chairperson of the newly formed Select Committee on Happiness and Public Policy Outcomes, telling Politico last October that lawmakers “don’t take happiness seriously.”

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 13, 2024

The eight 'happiness hacks' backed by science (including one you're almost guaranteed to hate)

By Emily Stearn

When you're feeling a bit down, striking up conversations with strangers might be the last thing on your mind.

But such encounters may actually make you feel happier, research has suggested.

It is one of eight simple 'happiness hacks' devised by scientists at the University of Bristol.

Writing gratitude letters, conducting acts of kindness and trying out meditation are among other key measures found to improve mental wellbeing.

The four other checkpoints relate to getting sufficient sleep, exercising, savouring experiences and drawing attention to positive parts of the day, for instance writing down 'three good things' that happened.

Read full article here.

Many of the world’s happiest countries are also the best for women, research shows—here’s why

By Morgan Smith

Some of the world's happiest countries are also the most gender-equal.

Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand all appear in the top 10 of two key rankings: The World Happiness Report's annual list of the happiest countries in the world and the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, which ranks the world's most gender-equal countries.

While neither report has been updated since 2023, these countries have been leading the world toward achieving gender equality and boosting residents' happiness for years, ranking high on both lists since at least 2018.

Read full article here.

Use these 4 steps to break the cycle of unhappiness, wellness expert says

By Renée Onque

We're all looking for ways to be happier, but it's just not that easy. It's not impossible either if you know the steps to take to get there.

"The biggest misconception is that happiness is natural, and there really couldn't be anything further from the truth," Floyd "Ski" Chilton, director of the Center for Precision, Nutrition and Wellness at the University of Arizona, tells CNBC Make It.

Chilton is also an evolutionary biochemist and geneticist, as well as the author of "There is Another Way to Happiness: The Four Step CAST Process that Will Transform Your Life."

Our unconscious minds are "built for protection" and "survival" from an evolutionary standpoint, according to Chilton. But we're no longer hunters and gatherers, protecting our loved ones from the whims of the wild in a literal sense; still our thoughts naturally drift to fear and anxiety as they did when that was the case.

"Almost every sad and difficult emotion that we feel, our anxiety that we feel, our stress that we feel, can be traced back to this evolutionarily primitive, unconscious mind," he adds. "In many cases, we're living in the midst of a nightmare, a nightmare that our unconscious minds create."

To combat these instincts, you must make conscious efforts to rewire your brain, Chilton says. Here are four steps you can take to break the cycle of unhappiness. Use these 4 steps to break the cycle of unhappiness

  1. Consciousness
  2. Awareness
  3. Surrender
  4. Trust

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 7, 2024

Five Teachings of the Dalai Lama I Try to Live By

By Arthur C. Brooks

In a world full of intractable problems such as war and poverty, one tempting response—as a way of protecting your own happiness—is to stop paying attention. With good reason: Just following the news can invite a sense of powerlessness and be associated with lower mental well-being, and one of the reasons folks avoid the news is the anticipation of anxiety, perhaps because the bulk of what you see and hear is negative. On top of that, the national and global problems that the media report are out of your control. Only those with power, wealth, and influence seem to have the capacity to address those problems and the potential to make our world better. So unless you are a political hero, a world-famous entrepreneur, or a charismatic celebrity, you might as well tune out.

Although this way of looking at things follows a certain logic, it’s the wrong way to see the world. In fact, each of us has the power to address global problems in an effective way, without waiting for a powerful savior. This is a truth I learned, ironically, from one of the most influential men on the planet: the Dalai Lama.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 5, 2024

No equality for working women in any country in the world, study reveals

By Kaamil Ahmed

No country in the world affords women the same opportunities as men in the workforce, according to a new report from the World Bank, which found the global gender gap was far wider than previously thought.

Closing the gap could raise global gross domestic product by more than 20%, said the report.

For the first time, the bank investigated the impact of childcare and safety policies on women’s participation in the labour market in 190 countries. It found that when these two factors were taken into account, women on average enjoyed just 64% of the legal protections men do, down from the previous estimate of 77%.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 2, 2024

An act of generosity is one of the 'quickest and easiest ways to get happier'—here's why

By Renée Onque

Buying someone a coffee or holding the door open for the person behind you are examples of one of the simplest ways to increase your happiness: generosity.

Consider the joy that Ruth Gottesman brought to current and future students of Albert Einstein College of Medicine with her $1 billion donation that will help them receive a tuition-free education. Research shows that that happiness is also likely to extend to Gottesman.

"l feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause," Gottesman said, according to CNBC.

"One of the quickest and easiest ways to get happier is to be generous," Dan Harris said in a recent episode of his podcast, "Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris."

In a small study of 50 people, published in 2017 in Nature Communications, participants were gifted a total of $100 over several weeks. Half of the group was instructed to spend the money on anything they wanted for themselves, and the other half was asked to use the money to buy things for other people.

By the end of the experiment, those who spent the money on others reported higher levels of happiness than those who spent it on themselves.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 29, 2024

How does gut-brain communication affect emotional well-being?

By Andrei Ionescu

Recent advancements from Flinders University have initiated a significant reevaluation of the operational mechanisms behind antidepressants and other emotion-regulating drugs, highlighting the intricate communication between the gut and the brain.

The research introduces a notable shift in understanding the gut-brain axis, a complex network facilitating bidirectional neural interactions between the gastrointestinal system and the brain’s emotional and cognitive centers.

“The gut-brain axis consists of a complex bidirectional neural communication pathway between the brain and the gut, which links emotional and cognitive centers of the brain,” said lead author Nick Spencer, a professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 26, 2024

Happiness researcher: The exact blueprint that will help you achieve your biggest career goal

By Stephanie Harrison

Whether it's starting a business or mastering an ambitious skill, having big career goals can be exciting but overwhelming. How do you successfully achieve them while navigating the demands and responsibilities of daily life?

I know the feeling. My dream was to write a book. It took me over 10 years, but this spring, I'm finally publishing my first book: "New Happy."

As a researcher in the science of happiness, I was lucky: I was able to learn the secrets that helped me make my journey a little easier.

Read full article here.

I've lived in the Netherlands for 14 years—why we're always ranked one of the world's happiest countries

By Olga Mecking

I was born in Poland and grew up in Germany, but my family and I have been living in the Netherlands for the last 14 years.

When I first discovered the concept of "niksen," or the Dutch art of doing nothing, I was fascinated. I even wrote a book about it. When I applied it to my own life, my perspective about happiness shifted in a significant way.

I believe niksen is one of the reasons why the Dutch are consistently ranked as some of the happiest people in the world. Niksen might seem selfish or boring at first glance, but it's actually a service to you and your community.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 17, 2024

Train Yourself To Be Happy: 4 Coachable Parts of Your Mental Health

By Erica Gerald Mason

Taking care of your mental health through daily actions—just like you would take care of your body by eating fruits and vegetables—may be the path forward through challenging times. A new framework suggests that mental well-being can be cultivated through practice in daily life. Essentially, we can train our brains to be happy.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison hope the new framework can help define well-being, and the parts of it that they've found can be improved with training. The December paper was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper acknowledges a lack of industry standards for well-being, which in turn creates a lack of common language between therapists. The researchers argue that using consistent language can help healthcare professionals with both patient outreach and research.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 16, 2024

Journal Your Way to Happiness: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life — Shape

By Pat Richter

Is "thankful, grateful, blessed" more than just wall art? Turns out, expressing gratitude in writing could actually make you happier.

Read full article here.

The Benefits of Gratitude Rituals and How to Add Them to Your Day

By Jessica Cording

Many of us were raised to say thank you, which, yes, is an expression of gratitude, but it runs deeper than that. Gratitude can be understood as acknowledging and affirming the positive things in your life; taking a moment to appreciate the good.

A gratitude ritual is a practice through which you tap into gratitude. There are so many different types of gratitude rituals to try.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 14, 2024

3 crucial ways to make yourself happier, according to a psychologist from Finland—the happiest country in the world

By Ashton Jackson

For six years and counting, Finland has been the happiest country in the world.

But it's a common misconception to think the people there are simply born with a positive outlook on life, says Frank Martela, a Finnish psychology researcher and philosopher. "It would be more accurate to say that Finland is the country that has the least unhappy people in the world," Martela tells CNBC Make It.

That's largely due to three tenets, common in Finnish society, that help foster happiness, Martela says:

  1. A strong sense of community and relatedness
  2. Doing good deeds for other people
  3. Finding a clear purpose for oneself

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 12, 2024

Bill Gates: Here's the 1 question I'd ask a time traveler about the future

By Tom Huddleston Jr.

If Bill Gates met a time traveler from the year 2100, his first question wouldn't be about his family, or Microsoft's stock price.

Instead, he'd ask: Are humans thriving? "In the end, it's all measured through human welfare," Gates said on the most recent episode of his podcast, "Unconfuse Me."

In the episode, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder interviewed University of Oxford data scientist Hannah Ritchie, whose book "Not the End of the World" offers an optimistic take on how the world can win its battle against climate change.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 04, 2024

This Is The Age You're Happiest And Most Self-Confident

By Lindsay Holmes

We know that wisdom comes with age ― and apparently so do a number of other joyful qualities.

Research shows that the older you get, the more self-assured and content you are. In fact, those in their 60s are more likely to be happier and, according to a recent study, they’re also more self-confident overall than most of those in their younger decades.

So, what’s the secret? Sadly, there’s no one answer, but rather several factors.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - January 26, 2024

Use this tool to better prioritize your happiness, expert says: 'Think about time strategically'

By Aditi Shrikant

The first step of building a new financial budget is usually taking a detailed account of what you are spending. Recording where resources are being allocated is key to understanding what exactly you need to shift about your habits.

The same can be said if you want to change how you prioritize your time as it pertains to personal goals, says Rainer Strack, senior partner emeritus at Boston Consulting Group.

Far too often, our priorities don't align with how we spend our hours and days.

"Time is the only asset that we can't multiply," Strack tells CNBC Make It. "Time is limited here on Earth. It's a scarce resource, and therefore, you have to understand what you want to do with this kind of resource, concretely."

To help you see exactly where your time is going, Strack, Susanne Dyrchs, associate director at BCG, and Allison Bailey, senior partner and managing director at BCG, created a 2 x 2 matrix called the Strategic Life Portfolio. It mirrors BCG's growth-share matrix.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - January 7, 2024

These quick, simple acts of kindness can boost your health, happiness and wellbeing

By Amy Arthur

It’s World Kindness Day, when people are encouraged to make kindness the norm and commit to being kinder all year round. But, what benefits does kindness have on our body and mind? We look into the science of kindness and why being kind makes you feel good.

Why be kind?

It seems obvious to say that being in receipt of kindness makes a person feel good. But can the benefits of a kind act compare to other pleasurable experiences? Can kindness offer as many benefits as a hearty meal or a gift on one’s birthday?

While a kind act can’t provide you with any calories, it’s not simply a throwaway experience. When someone is surprisingly kind to you – a stranger holds an elevator door open, your coffee is ‘on the house’ – the kind act triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, an area known as the brain’s pleasure centre.

One of the largest studies into kindness and its effects on a population showed that people who regularly receive kindness have higher levels of overall wellbeing. The Kindness Test, which was carried out in 2021, involved more than 60,000 participants and also showed that carrying out kind acts had benefits for wellbeing. Whether you’re giving or receiving kindness, you’re likely to feel better.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 25, 2023

6 Simple Strategies for Glowing Skin and a Happy Mind

By Iris Goldsztajn

Daily gratitude has been one of the most popular and well-documented wellness practices of the past few years. Stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Kerry Washington, and Michelle Obama all practice gratitude regularly; the hashtag #gratitude has four billion views on TikTok; and there’s study after study that shows how giving thanks for the good things in your life can enhance your health and happiness.

Sounds good, right? But what if you feel like there’s no time for you to incorporate yet another practice into your routine? If you’re someone who’s really consistent with your daily beauty routine, we have good news for you: You can actually add gratitude to your beauty routine with the magic of “habit stacking,” AKA fitting healthy habits into your day by coupling them with things you already do habitually. Even better? Because gratitude has so many mental health benefits, it’s also bound to trickle down into your skin health. By helping you reduce stress, practicing daily gratitude as part of your beauty routine can leave you feeling and looking glowy as ever.

Read full article here.

Three Ways to Lessen Financial Stress and Create Work-Life Balance in 2024

By Kelli Kiemle

Is work-life balance attainable, or is it an unrealistic goal to set?

According to the Forbes Health-Ipsos Monthly Health Tracker, 90% of employed respondents noted that “work-life balance is an important aspect of their job.”

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 24, 2023

The 15 Best Places to Live in the US

By Amelia Mularz

Each year U.S. News & World Report releases a list of the Best Places to Live in the US. These top-rated cities always include a few big players, like Boston and San Francisco, as well as some surprises, like Green Bay, Wisconsin, landing the #1 spot. To determine the best cities, U.S. News considers a multitude of factors, including quality of life, the local job market, value for your money, and the place’s desirability. And while we agree that all these factors are important in determining where to live in America, we’d also throw access to art and design into the mix. That’s why we used the U.S. News list as a jumping off point—zeroing in on the top 75 and picking the 15 best places to live for design lovers.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 23, 2023

CBS News poll looks at where Americans find happiness

By Anthony Salvanto

All year long, Americans have described for us the problems they see — and there is indeed a lot of tough news out there.

But with the holiday season here, we thought we'd also give them a chance to say what's going well in their lives and what they're grateful for. And for many people, there's plenty of gratitude and happiness.

We say we generally feel happy.

Well, most of us feel this way, anyway — at least fairly happy, if not very happy.

Reported happiness is related to how people think things are going with their family, their children, their health and to an extent — particularly for younger people — with their jobs and careers.

Those who think things are going well with their family lives are far more likely to report general happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 18, 2023

Harvard happiness expert: The No. 1 thing to avoid to achieve a 'real sense of satisfaction'

By Renée Onque

It's easy to think that true happiness and satisfaction can only be achieved by accomplishing major goals, but that's far from the truth, according to Arthur C. Brooks, a social scientist and professor at Harvard University who teaches a free course about happiness.

"A lot of people think that once they learn their skills, once they're set in life that everything will be okay, but that's a fallacy that we call in my business, 'The Arrival Fallacy,'" Brooks said during the CNBC Work Summit 2023 this month.

The premise of the arrival fallacy is that once you accomplish a certain thing, you'll automatically be happier and more satisfied with your life, Brooks said.

Some examples of the accomplishments that people think will get them the satisfaction they're looking for, according to Brooks, include:

  • Securing a high-paying job or financial stability
  • Getting married
  • Buying the house they've always wanted
  • Losing a certain amount of weight

Regardless of what that destination is for you, Brooks said you should avoid the arrival fallacy and embrace change in order to really be happy.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 11, 2023

New Study Reveals The Personality Traits Associated With Dementia Risk

By Jillian Wilson

New research found a link between a negative affect and dementia risk.

Could your personality affect your memory?

A recent meta-analysis published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, found a connection between certain personality traits and the risk of dementia. The data was made up of eight smaller studies, totaling 44,531 people age 49 to 81. Of the group, 1,703 people developed dementia. Participants took part in personality assessments and underwent brain examinations after they died.

Researchers compared dementia diagnoses with the “big five” personality traits, which are agreeableness, openness, extroversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism. They also compared diagnoses in people who had either a positive affect (a personality that leans more toward positive traits like joy, enthusiasm and confidence) and negative affect (someone who tends to have more emotions like anger, nervousness and fear).

People who had high levels of neuroticism and those with negative affect “had a higher risk of developing dementia over the long term,” said Dr. Joel Salinas, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at NYU Langone Health and the chief medical officer of Isaac Health, who was not affiliated with the study.

“And then those who had low levels of conscientiousness, extroversion and that positive affect ... [were] tied to an increase of risk as well,” Salinas added.

Conversely, researchers found that people with a positive affect or personality traits including extroversion and conscientiousness had a lower risk of developing the disease. Those who are extroverted have a more robust social life and get energy from being around others; someone who is conscientious is considered responsible, organized and goal-oriented.

Read full article here.

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.

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