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Want to Increase Happiness and Avoid Burnout? Science Says Do These 3 Simple Things

Source | INC : By Marcel Schwantes

Happiness was a hot business topic in 2016, and something tells me it’s not going away in 2017.

The research that has come out over the last several years published in books by positive psychology researchers like Shawn Achor, Martin Seligman, Tal Ben-Shahar, and Barbara Fredrickson confirm that resilient and positive minds can raise productivity levels and transform how organizations work and profit.

But in our quest for the latest productivity hacks to keep adrenaline high during the day, is too much productivity a good thing?

Enter research psychologist Emma Seppala. In her new book The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success, Seppala warns those of us who like to work too much to drop the frantic approach to productivity because “not only does workaholism double the risk of depression and anxiety, it actually lowers productivity and decreases work performance.”

Now imagine the prospect of a whole bunch of workaholics under one roof and what do you get? A company at risk for more “stress-related accidents, absenteeism, higher employee turnover, lower productivity and higher medical costs,” says Seppala.

So what’s the source of this overwrought and agitated culture of work we live in? Seppala believes it’s our constant fixation on the future, that in order to be successful and happy, we have to keep grinding it out and focusing on what’s ahead because, we think, the eventual payoff from our nonstop productivity will be all worth it.

In essence, we worship a false god under this belief system. By living in a perpetual state of anxiety, we relinquish our personal happiness in the present with the false hopes of a better future. The end of the road is a chronically-stressful lifestyle, lack of sleep, and less joy.

The Solution

Seppala cites several studies that pave the road for a much better outlook in life. It’s as simple as making three changes:

1. Detach from work.

Science has found that people who simply unplug and detach from work on their downtime recover from stress faster and increase their productivity. Some recommended activities in the recovery phase include exercise, walks in nature, and picking up a hobby not related to work.

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