Beyond Happy: The Role of Well-being in Our Work Lives
Happiness is a tricky subject; its meaning varies from person to person. There is fleeting happiness: the happiness we feel when we get something we want. Then there is a richer form of happiness that comes from doing something meaningful, like work or volunteering. This latter form of happiness is more fulfilling and its affects are longer lasting.
Famed author Shawn Achor wrote in his first book, The Happiness Advantage that “happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.” This is a lifelong pursuit, exploring and living into our potential as human beings. Achor’s insight points to that richer form of happiness.
But isn’t there more to living than pursuing happiness? After all, many of us will experience the positive affects of it in our lives. In our hyper-stimulated world, we’re bound to grow tired of the pursuit of happiness, even if it does make our lives better.
But isn’t there more to living than pursuing happiness?
So what is beyond happiness? Author and Professor Beth Cabrera believes it’s well-being. In her book Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being, Cabrera explains the connection between happiness and well-being. Check out what she has to say in the video below.
Women and Well-being
Work consumes our lives. Unfortunately, for women the struggle to have a career and be mom and/or wife can lead them down a slippery slope that often leads to frustration. Here’s what Beth Cabrera offers on the subject:
Like happiness, well-being can be difficult to explain beyond the simplistic, “it’s how I feel.” Cabrera explains that well-being is both feeling good and doing good.
Feeling good may be partially a result of your genetics, but it’s also “due to your intentional activities,” says Cabrera. Doing good helps complete the intention behind Cabrera’s definition of well-being. Doing good involves experiencing meaning in your life. This important distinction is key to experience significance. What helps drive this? Cabrera says it’s knowing and defining your personal values and developing your strengths, for starters.
With the dual dimensions of well-being, what emerges is a holistic view on living the good life. On the one hand, positive well-being helps us feel physically, spiritually, and emotionally good. Cabrera advocates developing a practice of being grateful. This is noticing the good in people or circumstances, a difficult practice in cynical workplaces. It’s hard to feel grateful and not express it, an important practice that can lead to positive well-being.
It’s hard to feel grateful and not express it, an important practice that can lead to positive well-being.
The Mindful Leader
Cabrera also advocates and teaches a class on mindfulness. Here’s what she has to say about this important, emerging workplace topic.
As most of us move swiftly from one meeting to the next, we lose little bits parts of our attention as it is chipped away by one demand after another. We rarely have time to reflect on the outcomes and interactions in the meeting we’re leaving. Mindfulness helps us slow down and carve out time on our calendars to reflect, plan, even interact with others in more meaningful ways.
Well-being is not a gender specific topic. Its presence in our lives can lead to greater fulfillment in our professional and personal worlds. Certainly the demands on us differ depending upon our gender. Ultimately what matters is each of us actively pursues practices and ways of being that lead to our well-being; our personal lives will benefit. This is where well-being becomes a powerful business philosophy; when employees pursue well-being, the ripple effect enters into the professional world, improving performance, relationships, and even cognitive capabilities. This is a mutually beneficial outcome- one that benefits each person, their loved ones and colleagues, and ultimately the organization.
When employees pursue well-being, the ripple effect enters into the professional world, improving performance, relationships, and even cognitive capabilities.
Reading Beyond Happy
Beth Cabrera’s book is succinct and practical. Though she aims her message at working women, the book’s message is relevant to all people, women and men. You can check out Cabrera’s book here.
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