5 Ways That Happiness Leads to Success
Happiness is not only the result of success, it is also a cause of it. Emotions provide you with guidance and direct your actions in specific ways.
While fear activates “fight or flight” systems, preparing you for action, happiness activates the so-called “broaden and build” systems, which broaden your attention and change how you look at the world. These changes can help lead to success in several ways.
1. Improved Social Skills
Studies consistently show that people in positive moods are rated as more likable than those who are not. On top of that, they are also more extroverted. In one study, researchers had participants watch either a happy or sad movie clip, then return to a waiting room.
Those who just watched the happy clip were more likely to start conversations with the other person in the room (who was actually a stooge planted there by the researchers).
Increased extroversion and better social responses can help you in so many ways – making new contacts, building positive work relationships, and job interviews to name but a few.
2. Broader Perception and Thinking
Generally speaking, positive emotions broaden attention, while negative emotions narrow it. People in good moods consistently do better in association tasks, such as the following: take the words “Widow,” “Bite,” and “Monkey” — can you think of a fourth word that links these three? The answer is at the end of this article!
Good moods are also better for brainstorming tasks, for example, how many uses for a brick can you think of in 5 minutes? Anytime you need to go into your mind and come up with new links, ideas, and associations, positive moods help.
3. Increased Mental Resilience
Positive moods act as a sort of buffer, protecting you from the impacts of setbacks and disappointments. Researchers have found that if you induce a positive mood before exposing people to a frustrating setback, their pulse rate and stress response returns to normal more quickly.
They also help you interpret setbacks in a more broader fashion, seeing the bigger picture as opposed to relentlessly focusing on that one single issue.
4. Better Physical Resilience
Psychologists examining the impact of happiness on physical health have discovered that positive moods trigger a stronger immune response. In several studies, when researchers induced a positive mood in participants (usually through funny videos), antibody levels in the blood increased.
There is also further evidence that positive moods can reduce the inflammatory response. These benefits make you more physically resilient and can help prevent the number of sick days you take.
5. Happiness as a Resource
These days there are numerous tricks, tools, and habits that can increase happiness, from meditation and physical exercise to counting your blessings, watching humorous videos and spending time with friends.
Don’t just think of these as an end goal. Positive states can lead to further positive outcomes, hopefully creating an upward spiral. Oh, and the answer to the earlier word association was “Spider.”