Oxford Happiness Instrument

Dr. Brian Inbody
RUG 2012
How to achieve higher morale and
happier employees
 More productivity, less missed time, less turnover
 Understand the Science of Happiness
 Creating an environment to improve happiness
 Ways to utilize strategies to improve happiness
 For centuries psychology studied depression
 Only very recently have they begun to study happiness
What is happiness?
 What is it not correlated with:
 Money (past a certain point)
 Beauty
 Materialism
 Youth
 Marriage, Kids
 Situation (only moderately)
What is correlated with happiness?
 Happy people:
 Devote a great deal of time to family and friends
 Express gratitude regularly
 Offer help to others often
 Are optimistic about the future
 Savor life’s pleasures and live in the moment
 Exercise regularly
 Are deeply committed to lifelong goals and “things larger than
themselves” such as religion or causes
 Have the same bad things happen to them as everyone else,
they just deal with them better using poise and strength
Two Schools of thought about
improving happiness
 It’s genetic (naturally happy and grumpy people)
 Our happiness is predetermined
 We all have a natural set-point of happiness that we return to
over time
“We can no more make ourselves happier in the long run
than we can make ourselves taller.”
Two schools of thought about
improving happiness
 One can improve their happiness over time
“Life is pain, you just get used to it.”
 Hedonic adaptation
 The bad feeling
You leave a room and come back in and only then can you
smell a bad odor
 The good feeling
The pleasure of a new car lasts only until that first payment
 Because of hedonic adaptation we must continually do
something to increase or decrease our happiness level
past its “set point”
 Lottery winner – “Happiness is hard work!”
Ways to negatively affect happiness
 Large Events
Loss of Job (6 months or more)
Loss of limb (3 years)
Loss of Spouse (5-8 years)
Happiness will return to set-point over time thanks to adaptation
Large negative events sometimes make people more happy over
time than if the negative event would not have happened to them
(POWs, Paraplegics)
 Small Events
 Traffic jams, car won’t start, taking care of children, teenager angst
 Small events have a worse overall effect than large events
 Worst of all is prolonged isolation
 on-going cumulative effect
Areas that happy people excel in that
others don’t
 Seeking pleasure - lasts the least amount of
 Engagement - always around people, always
want to help others
 Meaning - involved in something larger than
themselves, part of a cause
 They delude themselves - no kidding
 They believe in themselves and in the world more than
maybe they should – optimism is a must
Happiness is contagious!
 40+ year study of heart disease in one small
community also included information on mood
Researchers found “viruses” of happiness that traveled
from person to person through their connections.
If your connection (friend or family member) is happy
you have a 15% greater chance of being happy.
If a friend of a friend is happy you have a 10% greater
chance of being happy and you don’t even have to
know that person
It takes 4 degrees of separation (friend of a friend of a
friend of a friend) before the happiness effect stops.
Can money buy happiness?
 Yes – until needs are met, then lowers happiness as
“money responsibilities” increase
If it is spent right – yes!
Using your money to help people and causes you care
about actually adds to your long term happiness
Using your money to enhance your social interactions
also increase happiness (vacations instead of blu-ray
Buying things adds to your happiness but only
temporarily (remember hedonic adaptation?)
Ways to positively affect happiness
 Gratitude journal
 Once a week spend 20 minutes writing what you are grateful for
 5 acts of kindness a week, especially on the same day
 Lasts 1-2 months
 Write a letter and visit someone you are grateful to
 (Last 3-6 months)
 Conduct happiness inventory on a regular basis
 Avoid Social Comparison
 Commit to your goals
 See your work as a calling and not a job
Creating an Atmosphere of
Happiness at Work
 Time off to contribute to the community
 Campus Charity drives – Angel Tree, Relay for Life,
 Employee to Employee and Employee to Student
Appreciation and Gratitude
 Help them make their job a calling by emphasizing the
emotional aspects of working there, no matter the
level of employee
Happiness is…
 Positive relationships with other people
 Kindness, gratitude and capacity for love matter much
more than love of learning, curiosity, accomplishment,
or success.
 Stumbling on Happiness by Gilbert
 The How of Happiness by Lyubomirsky
 The New Science of Happiness by Claudia Wallis,
Time Magazine, 2005
 This Emotional Life documentary, PBS, hosted by

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