Does Success Make You Happy or Does Being Happy Make You Successful?

By on May 4, 2011

By Carolyn Anderson –

The topic of happiness seems to be coming up frequently in the literature. Over the last year, I have read three books on the subject and it also seems to be featured in many magazines. The underlying theme of all I have read over the last while on this topic is that although the real meaning of happiness is different for everybody there is no question that happiness is a choice.

Recent research out of Harvard conducted by Shawn Achor reveals what an important choice it is. It seems that instead of successful people being happy the studies have revealed that it is primarily happy people that are successful. This success included almost all the areas of life including work, health, friendships, creativity and energy. Apparently when we are “happy” our brain is releasing more dopamine and serotonin which helps us to function more effectively. This helps us to remember and retrieve information in a more efficient way, to organize tasks more effectively and to be more creative.

To find corporate examples to support this theory think Zappo’s, Google and Apple, three of the best companies to work and also three of the most successful. Treating their employees with respect and valuing their opinion’s as well as providing a positive and “fun” working environment has been a large part of the success of these companies. Tony Hsieh founder and CEO of Zappo’s talks all about this in his bestselling book “Delivering Happiness”. We now have studies to support the theory that happy people are more productive.

I know it is impossible to feel happy all the time. We are human and sometimes life is hard and the days seem long. So what can we do when we are feeling a little blue to try and kick up our happiness levels and get those dopamine and serotonin levels flowing. Try these techniques:

Mood Elevating Tips

  1. Smile. Even if you don’t feel like it. It will change your mood
  2. Laugh out loud
  3. Have a work out. Exercise does wonders
  4. Do something for others. Philanthropy makes us happy
  5. Meditate
  6. Write down what you are grateful for
  7. Sing (unless like in my case doing so will make others unhappy) or listen to music you love
  8. Get together with people you care about

It really is a choice to be happy. And it is amazing how little things can have a huge impact on your over all wellbeing and according to the studies your overall success.

What do you do to improve or maintain your happiness?

Dr. Carolyn Anderson is a practicing ophthalmic surgeon, entrepreneur, and speaker near Vancouver, Canada. She writes for the Huffington Post and on her own website at CarolynAndersonMD.com. Carolyn speaks on a variety of topics including empowering women and retirement strategies for optimum health and energy. Carolyn also publishes an online magazine for active older adults called  http://impowerage.com/.

Dr. Carolyn Anderson

About Dr. Carolyn Anderson

Dr. Carolyn Anderson is a practicing ophthalmic surgeon, entrepreneur, and speaker near Vancouver, Canada. She writes for the Huffington Post and on her own website at CarolynAndersonMD.com. Carolyn speaks on a variety of topics including empowering women and retirement strategies for optimum health and energy. Carolyn also publishes an online magazine for active older adults called www.Impowerage.com.

One Comment

  1. Linda Menesez

    May 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I so agree with you, Carolyn! I believe that happiness is a choice. Sometimes it’s easier to choose happiness than other times, as you said. In general, I believe if you keep your focus on the positive things in life, and remember to count your blessings, you will be sharing a wonderful energy with all who come in contact with you. People are drawn to those who are happy, optimistic, and grateful for their many blessings.

    In addition to the eight activities that you mentioned, the thing that will instantly raise my spirits is to get out in nature. Whether it’s going to the beach, the mountains, or the woods, I believe that nature has a magical effect on lowering stress and raising anyone’s happiness level. Even going out to my backyard and watering the plants or sitting by our small pond makes me happy. I love listening to the birds singing, and watching the bees and butterflies moving among the flowers! It truly is magic when you join with nature in a mindful way!

    Thank you for a wonderfully empowering article,

    Linda

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Does Success Make You Happy or Does Being Happy Make You Successful?