Positive psychology in the workplace is concerned with deflecting attention away from negative aspects such as workplace violence, stress, burnout, and job insecurity and toward positive and hopeful characteristics, resilience, confidence, and a productive work culture that values both professional and human success. Positive psychology can create a work environment that fosters positive effects in its employees.
Fun should not be viewed as an unattainable goal during work hours but rather as a motivating factor for employees. However, the manager must consider the type of fun in the workplace. It is not always productive, depending on their employees’ learning styles. Along this line, it is critical to consider the role of cooperative behaviors, team-building exercises, job resources, job security, and job support.
Additionally, the emerging field of positive psychology assists organizations in managing their behaviors creatively and increasing workplace productivity through the application of positive organizational forces. Recent research on job satisfaction and retention have highlighted the critical importance of integrating positive psychology into the workplace.
We all desire a positive and engaging work environment. Who doesn’t fantasize about waking up excited to go to work on a Monday?
Positive Psychology delves into the science of positive emotions, which have been linked to improved health, well-being, longevity, and a higher quality of life.
On the other hand, anger, anxiety, depression, and worry are associated with negative health outcomes, frequently resulting from systemic oppression and harsh environments.
Our genes account for approximately 50% of our happiness; our actions and attitudes account for 40% of our happiness. If our choices and attitudes significantly impact our happiness, how do we cultivate and sustain a positive and well-being culture in the workplace?
Positive psychology can be used to increase employee happiness and satisfaction.
We spend approximately half of our waking hours at work, and many business leaders are beginning to recognize the critical nature of incorporating these psychological techniques into the workplace. While staff may be more friendly and engaged in the space, productivity may also increase.
As an employee, manager, or CEO, you can implement the following ideas to increase positivity and performance:
- Conflict Resolution Skills
- Original Thinking
PERMA in the Workplace
Positive Psychology, founded by Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, has developed an evidence-based model for the active ingredients of well-being over the last 15 years. PERMA stands for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment in his model. So how can the PERMA model be implemented in workplaces to benefit everyone?
When people are happy, they thrive. When our mood improves, we set higher goals and work harder to achieve them. We experience less stress and fatigue and exhibit enhanced teamwork and problem-solving abilities.
However, how do we increase people’s happiness?
When subjects are instructed to write down their daily gratitudes, brain scans revealed increased activity in the brain area associated with happiness. Of course, forcing feelings of happiness is difficult, but when we cultivate a ‘grateful mindset,’ happiness occasionally comes along for the ride.
Certain organizations have applied these concepts in novel ways. For instance, by including ‘appreciations’ as a standing agenda item at the start of staff meetings, individuals can express their gratitude for someone or something. Additionally, this culture of gratitude can help alleviate stress by pausing the hectic reality of work and giving thanks.
A simple example of a shout-out or expression of gratitude to begin a meeting could be as follows. Three examples:
“I want to express my gratitude to Sarah. Last week, she stayed late to demonstrate how to complete my spreadsheets, and I’ve been finishing on time since then.”
“I want to thank Jacob for assisting me yesterday in debriefing a presentation, even though it was not his team’s responsibility to do so.”
“Many thanks to the kitchen staff and catering company for providing delectable food for our event last week.”
You, like any other person, would like to be happy. But what is the meaning of happiness for you? It’s a joy for me to remember when I sit in a library and read my favorite book or when it comes to publishing a book or article after a book. Perhaps my imagination is different from joy with your taste, but the stimulants are inner happiness, and it is difficult to determine the external scales. So, in this book, we want to see what happiness is.
It’s not merely the measure of happiness that is difficult; even the definition of meaning for it is a difficult task. You cannot understand it without finding an equivalence for happiness; you, too, can never describe it in such a way that everyone agrees with you. The encyclopedias have also freed themselves from describing it with a clear definition of happiness as a “sense of happiness.”
So now that it’s not easy to pinpoint the sense of happiness, how can we describe it? Science is the key to understanding feelings like happiness, experimentation, experience, and science. The information available on “happiness” is very small compared to the “discomfort.” A quick search on the Wiley Online Library brings 50522 results to a happy word search while you’re looking at the description of the word depression 409708.
However, scientific attention has grown considerably in the last ten years. As it is likely, everyone would love to be happier, and these days, more than everybody needs joy because the research that has been done tells us that depression is one of the side effects of our modern life.
The natural tendency of humans to change nature has had terrible effects on the human brain. Let’s be honest with ourselves; our brain, which has not yet completely evolved, is involved in trying to gain an understanding of the modern world. Adapting to the digital world has been a coincidence that naturally and in the course of evolution should take hundreds of thousands of years, but it has been accomplished in just a few decades. When the brain communicates with technology, it can be very addictive or addictive. This dependence can lead to negative effects such as worry, stress, depression, and depression.
At least two dimensions were considered for pleasure in Aristotle’s time: “Hedonia means pleasure” and “eudaimonia, meaning a good life.” In contemporary psychology, pleasure is considered to be pleasure and meaning. Positive psychologists like Dr. Martin E. P. “Marty” Seligman have added another distinct element to happiness: commitment. The commitment refers to the “good life” in which work, family, friends, and entertainment are balanced.
Using these three aspects, scientists have created a scientific term for happiness: the subjective sense of Well-being; this term means everyone’s mental and practical assessment of their own life. According to a 2012 SWF article, these assessments include mental responses to stimuli and mental recognition of satisfying things. So (SWF) combines life satisfaction and a sense of success.
In surveys of real-life people worldwide, it is noted that our genes determine only 50% of our happiness, 40% of which are determined by daily activities, and the remaining 10% by the consequences. So about 40% of it, the choice is perfect for you.
Can happiness be measured? No joy is touched. You cannot save happiness in your pocket and save it later. So, is there a way that can be measured and scientifically studied? Yes. The researchers believe that the way this work is an honest review of our happiness. For example, when you are exposed to stimulus A, you feel happier or less.
In a study published by (Heizomi et al.,2015) in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry, happiness and mental health were measured in 403 high school students. General health, happiness, individual satisfaction, observed stress, hope, and life satisfaction in students were measured using written questionnaires completed by the students themselves.
The result of the research was that happiness is closely related to mental health. According to the results, “students who were more successful in establishing a relationship and those who said they enjoyed attending ceremonies and celebrations showed more mental health.”
In a speech by Daniel Todd Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard, compares happiness in terms of being reflective with optometry:
“The visualization of another science is entirely based on the reporting of individuals from their inner experiences. The only way an observer can figure out how your vision is to ask you: is it so clearer, or (ticking) this way? “
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, researchers in the Harvard research project on Adult Education began a study of the health and status of 268 male students from Harvard University. By order of Dr. George Eman Vaillant (2012), some men who are now spending their ninth decade of life are still under study. The study, titled “The Grant Project,” examines the lives of these men during the war, work, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, grandparents, and aging. Some of the archived results of these studies have been published in the Atlantic Magazine, and the fundamental research has been published in George Eman Vaillant’s (2012) book, “Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study. ”
A newer example of such a BBC documentary, the Child of Our Time, is being reported by Professor Robert Maurice Lipson Winston, Baron Winston, and is scheduled to examine the first 20 years of the life of the 25 British children born in 1999 or 2000.
The Psychology Science: Mind the Gap Between Happiness and Disasters
So, according to Seligman’s description of happiness (i.e., pleasure, meaning, and commitment), inner health, and the report that people have given themselves in their happiness, researchers are still better at understanding who is happy and what makes them happy. And why?
How is happiness related to depression? Wherever it is talk of happiness, it’s difficult to ignore its relation to depression. I asked Shawn Achor (2010), New York Times bestselling author of the book 2010 called “The Happiness Advantage” and founder of Research Good thinking positive about how that depression is associated with happiness? And he replied:
“When I was studying at Harvard University, I was depressed for two years. Not happy, on the contrary, is not happy, and not happy is not always bad. Opposite to joy, it’s unimaginable. We must feel the loss of passion and pleasure when moving forward.”
Then I asked why depression is like spam. Shawn answered:
“People consider depression to be a disadvantage because they are mistaken in thinking that if they are strong enough, negative emotions cannot prevail over you. The most ardent executive executives, army officers, Harvard Professors, and American football players have been deeply depressed. Sometimes, ignoring our feelings and hoping to become more aggressive results in the opposite and makes us weaker. Key to a strong immune system against emotional weakness, awareness of feelings, and the use of the constructive and useful energy they create.
Glance at history and review positive psychology and happiness
First, the Bill of Rights (The book of American National Law) says that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is the right of every American; thus, every American has the right to go after happiness; that is, more than 200 years ago, the fathers of this country have made happiness one of its fundamental bases.
William James (2003), considered the father of psychology, describes in 1902 in his book “The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature” that happiness is one of the most important factors in human life, and those looking for happiness have a healthy brain. As you see, he says that the brain is important, not healthy intelligence and mind. Interestingly,
the new research on happiness indicates brain health research, which I will get back to later.
Sigmund Freud defines happiness as having love and a good job in life. Also, you will see that Carl Gustav Jung (2009; 2012) sought to find out how we can have a healthy brain. He wrote the book “The Red Book,” which was also about happiness. Similarly, Carl Ransom Rogers (1960) and Abraham Harold Maslow (1968) were looking for flourishing and the meaning of life. Erik Homburger Erikson (1994) wrote a book called “Identity and the Life Cycle” This book collects three early papers that—along with Childhood and Society—many consider the best introduction to Erikson’s theories.
“Ego Development and Historical Change” is a selection of extensive notes. Erikson first undertook to relate to each other observations on groups studied on field trips and children studied longitudinally and clinically. These notes are representative of the source material used for Childhood and Society.
“Growth and Crises of the Health Personality” takes Erikson beyond adolescence into the critical stages of the whole life cycle.
In the third and last essay, Erikson successfully deals with “The Problem of Ego Identity” from biographical, clinical, and social points of view—all dimensions later pursued separately in his work. The content of this book is also about how one person can achieve happiness.
The science of psychology was initially set to have three goals: Treating mental illness, improving people’s lives, and ultimately developing exceptional talents. Unfortunately, after the Second World War, the soldiers who returned from the war were so mentally distressed that they allocated most of the US funding to treatment methods. Fortunately, they successfully treated ten mental diseases that could not be treated before due to extensive research.
According to recent statistics, 82% of people will be depressed at some point in time. Do you think we can solve this problem or think the psychologists are talking nonsense? They live on the easy street and have some prescriptions just good for conferences?
At first, in psychology, they used to sympathize with the patients without doing any particular treatment. Then, cognition therapy was introduced, which suggested that their feelings would change by changing the individuals’ thoughts. If you tell a person that what he does is wrong and somehow show him such wrongdoing, his emotions will change. All psychologists see cognitive therapy as a revolution in this field.
WHO and Dr. Seligman
In 1948, the World Health Organization was asked: What is health?
They answered: A person is healthy when physically, mentally, and socially healthy and happy. The physical aspect mustn’t be mentioned merely, and other dimensions are also included.
Martin E.P. (“Marty” Seligman) believes happiness has three stages: the pleasant life, Engagement life: the life you are involved in, and the meaningful life.
Check Dr. Seligman’s website at the address www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu. This website is under the supervision of Pennsylvania University in Philadelphia.
Two of his famous books are Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment (2002), Learned Optimism, and Authentic Happiness (2006), which are awesome.
Seligman says in his memoirs that I was working in our garden at home one day, and at that time, happiness sparked to my mind. I was with me in the house garden, collecting the leaves. My daughter was also happily playing in the garden. I was nagging. My daughter said: Why are you so angry and nag? Do you remember two years ago telling me not to moan and nag? It is now two years that I have tried and succeeded. If you try, you can also stop nagging. The interesting point is that he says if my daughter can change her behavior at age 6, we can do the same in adulthood.
Positive psychology suggests that you need to strengthen your talents and powers when you manage to eliminate the pains. Seligman has a test on his website (VIA Survey of Character Strengths). Using this test, you can measure 25 strengths (powers) and compare yourself with more than 400,000 people on his site. On happiness, we believe you just need to concentrate for 24 hours and have strong solidarity with your friends.
Research suggests that a part of happiness is “Stiffness and Resilience,” which means you can solve a problem ahead and do not get scared when facing problems.
People with panic attacks feel their heart rate increases when stressed and need emergency help. We see that some people are afraid of this situation. A woman named Ellen Langer at Harvard has studied the subject. For example, a woman who experiences a panic attack says, “I’m dying, and gets scared, her heartbeat increases.”
There are two systems in the body: HPA System and SAM System. One is good, and the other is bad. A person with such a condition says: I know it will go away soon when I panic. This causes the SAM System to function. When you get scared, the HPA System is activated and acts destructively in your body.
We now have a system called New Cognitive Therapy. It combines positive psychology with cognitive psychology, which treats depression at first. Then, it starts to build and work with 40%. Because we believe that 60% of happiness depends on the gene, some have it in their gene, and some have not. However, 40% of happiness is in our hands.
One of the awesome books in this area is “A General Theory of Love” by Thomas Lewis et al. (2001), about the development of the brain, which is also very complicated. In this book, a lot of human genetic features are described. Part of the brain of a baby has formed before birth. In particular, Systema limbicum, which is the emotional part, has not yet been developed. The baby’s brain is learning, changing, and developing after birth. According to the book, the relationship between mother and baby makes these brain cells to be created. That is, all of those are created by love.
Now, positive psychology believes that if you have had an unkind mother, and thus, this part of the brain has not been generated in your brain, you can now create them by changing your thoughts. According to some research, you can do that.
Dr. J. Davidson is one of the greatest scientists in the world. The Times magazine named him one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006.
He does research at UCLA (The University of California, Los Angeles). His work is focused on testing different people. Then, he studies their MRIs. Subsequently, the subjects do the happiness tests. Those who get high scores in those tests will undergo another brain scan, and
those with lower scores will be tested the same. The results suggest that when someone says I’m happy, the left side of his brain, the logical and rational area, becomes active. Hence, in positive psychology, they control the right side of the brain through the left side.
Seligman narrates that once there was a 100 years old church in the south of Chicago. A road was supposed to be constructed in the region. Thus, the church has to be destroyed. Many nuns were living there. Dr. Seligman’s students say let’s go there to see if we can find any interesting evidence there. Thus, they decided to go. All the records of this church were kept in the church’s basement. They took some of the old papers to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Dr. Seligman worked. They then opened and reviewed the files, which were full of things written by the nuns before they became nuns. In those applicants, they had written their reasons for becoming nuns.
A few of these nuns had written such things: I am in misery, poor; my father has died, and I had nowhere to go and took refuge in Christ.
A series of writings like “I think is the most sacred and most beautiful thing that I can do, and I’m so glad to become a nun.”
He divided these writing into two groups, including those who had said they were happy and those who were sad. Then, they went to the head of the church and asked him about the situation of these nuns at that time. Remember that those applicants had been written 60 to 80 years ago. They realized that those with a negative view all had died before 65. But of those who were happy, only 25% had died before the age of 65, and 75% of them had reached the age of 80.
Pygmalion, one of the gods of Greek, does not find a woman to love anywhere in the whole of Greece. He goes to the mountain and carves a rock with a passion for making it look like a woman he has always dreamed of. She has been so beautiful and always appeared in his dreams. Then, he feels to crying. Thus, the Roman gods (Zeus, Aphrodite, and Venus) give a soul to the statute, and they will live happily ever after.
My Fair Lady movie in 1964 was like the example before.
Dr. Robert Rosenthal and his team went to the south of Boston, where the financial situation was not good, and people were poor. They told the teachers in the region that they
wanted to do an IQ test on the kids there. They claimed to have a test that revealed their hidden talents. They took a conventional test from the children and randomly told the teachers some of these children have talents that will resurface themselves.
Interestingly, after a year, they returned and took the same test. They asked the teachers whether they had seen any changes. The teachers said it was strange and that these children had made progress this year. The exact word we use in this regard is “Pygmalion effect.”
They went to a company called Hitech in Boston. Using a random sampling method, they told the company’s directors that these employees like the company so much and will provide a great service to the company this year. After a year, the boss said, “Yes, these were good employees, and this year, we rewarded them all. Interestingly, none of these people knew that they had been chosen. On January 11, 2007, a paper was published in the Gallup Journal of Management about the effect of happiness and its relationship with the business. Dr. Loosen wrote an article where he says that we used to think that a company’s assets are the products it sells, its employees’ education levels, and its leadership and management power. But today, we have noticed that the mental capital of the company is its biggest capital.
They took the staff for training, where they taught them optimism, hope, stiffness, and resilience. These employees who passed that course came back to the company and worked together. After a year, they realized that the money spent on training was compensated, and the training made some progress in the company.
According to Dr. Julia Donaldson, 7 out of 10 deaths in the US occur due to the lack of exercise, lack of proper nutrition, inappropriate response, stress, and tension.
Dr. János Hugo Bruno Hans Selye has written a book about “The Stress of Life (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956), one of the most famous psychology books. Herbert Benson from Harvard has written the book (2019) “Beyond the Relaxation Response: The Stress-Reduction Program That Has Helped Millions of Americans.” They talk about relaxation and meditation. In 1984, an article was published in Wall Street Journal about Dalai Lama that invited scientists to his place to work on concentration and meditation.
At UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, there is research on how people can influence so much, both in their lives and company.
Dr. Andrew Weil, who works at Harvard in nutrition and health, believes that if people create a life without stress and tension for themselves, they will always be healthy.
The research was done on people from 1939 to 1944 at Harvard University to measure happiness. All of the subjects were from rich families with welfare. However, they found that it does not make happiness. Cherish Peterson and Seligman reviewed the letters of soldiers who had returned from the World War and saw that some had been very short-sighted until the age of 45; since then, everything had changed.
At Yale University, the researchers examined happiness and positive psychology in people with life-threatening illnesses like cancer. Forty people who have colon cancer first received cognitive therapy to help them. They then received relaxation and meditation sessions. As a result, they had learned to overcome somehow some of their stresses, and their strength increased.
Another study was conducted on 65 women with cancer. Those whose illness had not recurred had a fighting spirit, while those with recurrent diseases were the same with depression, which used to say we would die. The National Cancer Institute conducted this study.
Dr. Marlene Behrmann at Carnegie Mellon University gave the people optimism and pessimism tests. Then, he put Rhinovirus in their noses (the virus is like a cold virus). He followed up with the subjects for three weeks and realized that the optimists nagged less and were better and recovered quickly.
By providing positivity, engagement, connection, meaning, and recognition, you can cultivate a motivated workforce that wants to be there and incrementally improve the company.
In other words, “the more effectively your brain directs its energy toward positive outcomes, the better your chances of success.”
Do you believe it is worthwhile for CEOs and other leaders to invest more in their organizational culture?
Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: How a positive brain fuels success in work and life. Currency.
Benson, H. (2019). Beyond the Relaxation Response: The Stress-Reduction Program That Has Helped Millions of Americans. Harmony.
Erikson, E. H. (1994). Identity and the life cycle. WW Norton & Company.
Heizomi, H., Allahverdipour, H., Jafarabadi, M. A., & Safaian, A. (2015). Happiness and its relation to psychological well-being of adolescents. Asian journal of psychiatry, 16, 55-60.
James, W. (2003). The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature. Routledge.
Jung, C. G. (2012). The red book: A reader’s edition. WW Norton & Company.
Jung, C. G., Shamdasani, S. E., Kyburz, M. T., & Peck, J. T. (2009). The red book: Liber Novus. WW Norton & Co.
Lewis, T., Amini, F., & Lannon, R. (2001). A general theory of love. Vintage.
Maslow, A. H. (1968). The psychology of being. Pacifica tape library.
Rogers, C. R. (1960). Psychotherapie en menselijke verhoudingen: theorie en praktijk van de non-directieve therapie. Het Spectrum.
Seligman, M. E. (2006). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. Vintage.
Seligman, M., & Happiness, P. A. (2002). Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment.
Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. McGraw-Hill.
Vaillant, G. E. (2012). Triumphs of experience. In Triumphs of Experience. Harvard University Press.
Mohammad Heydari is an Iranian associate professor, scientist, and author. He was born on August 14, 1992, in Tehran, Iran. He published more than 13 books and over 88 scientific papers with famous authors and high-level research groups in his research fields; Currently, his papers are published and accepted by 37 different countries.
Mohammad Heydari is currently working at Business College, Southwest University, one of the country’s 100 key national universities. In August 2020, Dr. Heydari was accepted as the youngest associate professor and faculty member of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) at Business College, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. At the same time, he was nominated for the “National Young Talent Program” title, one of the highest awards for foreigners working in academia.
In 2019, he received the Chinese Government Ministry Award Education Scholarship for outstanding research and academic activities at the national level. In 2017, Dr. Heydari received the (Nanjing Municipal Government) scholarship in (MS&E). Dr. Heydari earned his DSc., Ph.D. from the School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China. Dr. Heydari’s research is in the areas of (1) Human Resources and Business Administration, Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Organizational Studies; (2) Applied Mathematics, Optimization Algorithm & Operation, Supply Chain Management, and Decision Analysis; (3) Entrepreneurship Management and Psychological Entrepreneurship Research.
Author Email: [email protected]
Mahdiye Saeidi is an Iranian researcher and author. She was born on February 17, 1978, in Arak, Iran. She published one book, accomplished many scientific papers with Dr. Mohammad Heydari and worked in high-level research groups. Mahdiye Saeidi is currently working at Business Operation Dept. in National Iranian Tanker Company, one of the biggest shipping companies in the world, as a vessels’ demurrage and freight account, controller and vessels’ operator from March 2004. In 2017 she reached her Master’s degree in Information Technology from Payam Noor University of Tehran. The title of her Master’s thesis was assessing the effective factors in the acceptance of Internet of Things technology in smart buildings. She researches in (1) Information Technology (2) Human Resources and Business Administration.
Author Email: [email protected]
Jiaqian Zhu is a bachelor degree student, born in zhuzhou, Hunan, China, on October 30th, 2002. she is currently studying in Business College Southwest University, one of the country’s 100 key national universities. she studies two majors, the major is International Economics and trade, the minor is Psychology, and used to be an science student.
In 2021, in her first academic year, she won the “National Inspirational Scholarship”，the honorary titles of “Merit Student”. And received third-class financial aid from the school.
she have a particular interest in the area of human resources and business administration and psychology.
Author Email: [email protected]