Posted by Kerry Gird on 12th June 2015.

Last week Macmillan Davies hosted a very well attended breakfast seminar in London. The seminar was run by Nic Marks from Happiness Works, where they focus on helping companies how to measure happiness at work and the impact of that on innovation and overall business success. The focus is around doing away with the standard annual employee engagement survey as an indicator of satisfaction with work and using a tool that can provide instant measures and feedback from your staff. I think most people would agree, happiness at work is important and with the likes of Google appointing Chief Happiness Officers, happiness is more than a buzzword.

However, is all this focus on happiness and self-improvement (Six of Amazon’s top 20 self-help titles are dedicated to finding contentment) causing us more misery than happiness? Personally, I am a cynic, I don’t believe in being constantly happy and while I would also say I’m an optimist, I also think that in order to be an optimist, you need to be a realist. While I was soaking in the muggy air on the northern line, later that same week, it was a joy to behold the article in Stylist on if our constant quest for happiness was actually leaving us worse off. This article was so in line with my thinking, I think the grass is greener adage and the constant comparisons with the likes of Kimmy K and VB (who I adore I hasten to add) leave us all constantly wanting more and looking for that “happy” state of mind.

At work we have recently started Mindfulness sessions, with a Buddhist Monk who has gone over the basic concepts and benefits of being more mindful and living in the present. I’ll be 100% honest, I can’t say I have started meditating every night but I am slowly trying to integrate the practice into my life and also using the basis behind it to be more accepting the state of things.

I was also thoroughly happy to read an insightful article earlier this year by a fabulous lady I have worked with, on the lack of reality in pure positive thinking. Does it pay attention to socio-economic class and the other factors that make our existence far more complicated? Again, the article comes back to being able to be accepting of and living in the present rather than an idealised utopia.

I think I’m a reasonably happy person and in actual fact, I smile a lot, I’m not a grumpy, negative thinker but all this bombarding from the media of having to be constantly happy can lead one to wonder if Mondays are the new Fridays!

To steal a quote from Natal’s article:

There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.

Albert Ellis

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