Positive Psychology: The Science of Success and Wellbeing
Soma Analytics hosts monthly networking events for HR and Wellbeing executives who share an interest in innovation and wellbeing. Special guest speakers have talked about topics such as stress, mindfulness and sleep. On this occasion, and as it was Positive Thinking Day, Dr Patrick Jordan spoke about Positive Psychology: Five Key Principles of Success and Wellbeing. View the highlights below.
Dr Jordan is an internationally renowned expert in the area of positive psychology. He is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine and a winner of numerous professional and business excellence awards. He enables organisations to understand their customer behaviours in order to meet their needs – and his innovative approach is based on the latest scientifically validated findings from psychology and the social sciences.
Dr Jordan’s talk focussed on the Five Key Principles of Success and Wellbeing, and he provided some fascinating examples along the way.
People who believe they are responsible for how their lives turn out, also believe that they will make a difference in the world. They also tend to have a greater sense of wellbeing and success than the ones who do not.
The Hospital Cleaner Study
One of the substantial examples of how feeling responsible affects motivation at work is the Hospital Cleaner Study. Researchers looked into how hospital cleaners frame their work. The cleaners that said they were simply cleaning the hospital’s floor were not motivated enough and didn’t take as much responsibility for their job when compared to cleaners that said: “I am part of a medical team who saves lives”.
This research shows that leaders have to put extra thought into the way they delegate tasks – giving employees the feeling of responsibility that allows them to flourish at work.
Dr Jordan advises us to identify what we would like to achieve personally or as an organisation in the long-term? Goals have to be clearly defined and consistent with the overall aims.
Alignment at Work
The Alignment Theory talks about conditions which promote self-actualisation. In a work context, it is important to understand why people within your organisation enter into a specific profession and whether they are doing what they are supposed to do.
People who are optimistic tend to be more positive in their lives; because if they believe they will achieve something, they will most likely keep trying.
Soma’s favorite study from only 5 years ago, is also the most famous within positive psychology, and sought to prove that practicing positivity increases the quality of work.
Researchers analysed the statements which nuns wrote at the time of joining a convent. The main findings were surprising: practising positivity not only helped the nuns to improve the quality of their work, but also allowed them to live 10 years longer!
People become more valuable to an organisation by enhancing skills that they are already good at rather than practicing skills they are poor at. Simply put, if you have an engineer in your team with bad presentation skills, don’t send him to a presentation course. Persevering intelligently is all about using your human resources wisely to do better in one thing than other organisations.
Connect with Others
Recognition for good work releases dopamine in the brain, which creates feelings of pride and pleasure. People want to be noted and appreciated and research in positive psychology showed that a lot of employees haven’t received enough recognition at work within last 12 months. The best leaders are the ones who make others feel special. Having a positive relationship with colleagues at work, boosts energy and impacts productivity levels – so #PracticePositivity.
For our ice-breaking game we decided to #PracticePositivity.
From a positive psychology perspective, cultivating gratitude can increase our wellbeing and happiness. So, we encouraged our guests to think about all of the good things that had happened to them that day. This helped them to feel positive emotions and relish all of their good experiences before going to sleep later that evening after the event. Dr Patrick Jordan advises us to start a Gratitude Journal to help to decrease stress levels within our busy daily lives.
By the end of the night the room was filled with conversations about positivity, gratitude, and leadership, and how to apply it in both personal and professional contexts.
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