Research Finds the Key Influences on Your Happiness & Well-being

Research Finds the Key Influences on Your Happiness & Well-being

Personality Type, Geography, and Occupation among a variety of factors that influence workplace well-being
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If you think video games are a waste of time, new research by CPP Inc., challenges that assumption. According to their research, for people with a certain personality type, videogames contribute more to a personal sense of well-being than other stress management techniques or socializing.

Happiness (or “well-being” as researchers like to call it) has been a rapidly growing trend of study and for a good reason! Not only do we benefit from being happy, but our employers benefit too—happy workers are more energetic, creative, and cooperative, and tend to work harder and better, according to CPP’s research. The researchers looked at well-being through Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, the most widely accepted happiness framework, which identifies well-being along five areas:

  • Positive Emotions—internal feelings such as happiness, contentment, and pleasure
  • Engagement—deep psychological connection, absorption, and interest in an activity or a cause that’s intrinsically motivating
  • Relationships—where the positive aspects of the relationship greatly outnumber the negative aspects and involve mutual feelings of caring, support, and satisfaction
  • Meaning—having a sense of purpose and direction in life and feeling connected to something bigger than oneself
  • Accomplishment—pursuing success, winning, progress, or mastery for its own sake

The study—Wellbeing and MBTI® Personality Type in the Workplace—found that well-being is influenced by a variety of factors including MBTI personality type, geography, age and occupation.

How do age, gender, and where we live affect well-being?

How does getting older affect our happiness? The research found that well-being increased with the age of the respondents (score one for #adulting). And women on average rate their well-being higher than men.

Also, the effectiveness of how you attempt to increase your happiness is very much influenced by where you live, and possibly your culture. For example, respondents from Africa indicated that the two happiness activities associated with religion and spirituality were effective, while European respondents rated those same two items as less effective in increasing their happiness than their African counterparts.

Does Introversion or Extraversion influence happiness?

It may not be surprising that factors such age, gender and location impact our sense of well-being. But what about us as individuals? One of the purposes of the MBTI® instrument is to help us discover what comes most naturally to us, regarding the way we prefer to communicate, think and make decisions. The study also looked at the relationship between a person’s MBTI personality type and their well-being, and found several connections. A few examples include:

  • Well-being is lower overall for individuals with a preference for Introversion (I) compared to those with a preference for Extraversion (E)
  • Individuals with preferences for ISTP (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving) and INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging) show lower levels of workplace well-being, with ISTP showing the lowest levels
  • Those with preferences for ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving), ESTJ, and ENTJ show generally higher levels of workplace well-being, with ENFP showing the highest levels

Video games can make some people happy

People of a certain personality type benefit from playing video games in terms of well-being. Interestingly, the group that showed the all-around lowest levels of workplace well-being (ISTP) rated many of the activities that we normally assume contribute to well-being lower than other groups. What does make them happier? They rate “playing video games” as an activity with moderate to high levels of effectiveness when it comes to well-being.

This isn’t saying video games should be thought of as a contributor to workplace well-being—for the entire group of respondents, it ranked among the lowest-rated activities. Then again, so did yoga, playing sports, religious activities and meditation.

So what activities did people find helped them most with their well-being? Listening to/playing music, spending time with family/friends, eating healthy, exercise and walking. Yes, exercising is a high contributor to well-being, and playing sports isn’t—so an employee gym membership may be more beneficial than a company softball team.

Librarians are happier than entertainment and media

The research showed that there are measurable differences between how people in different occupations rank their well-being. The occupational group with the highest overall level of workplace well-being was respondents who selected “Community and social services” and “Education, training, and library occupations.”

On the other hand, respondents who selected “Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media” and “Office and administrative support” reported the lowest levels of workplace well-being.

While the study found numerous general trends, the biggest takeaway is how individual the path to well-being is for all of us.

There’s no formula that works the same for everyone—we’ve each got to identify our own way. And companies that want a happier, more productive workforce should allow the flexibility to tailor their programs to the preferences of individual workers. In some cases, it may even mean allowing a certain amount of video game playing or office meditation. Now that’s employee engagement we can get behind.
Cover Image Credit: Google

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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Sorry, Real Life Doesn't Have A "Safe Space" For Your Excuses

Your excuses are invalid. Take responsibility for your actions.

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If I had a penny for every time I heard a college student use a pathetic excuse to get out of something, I would be a millionaire. It seems like every other person I meet these days has zero sense of responsibility in life. They're too sensitive, too unmotivated and just all around lazy. What's up with that?

Something that I don't think a lot of college students realize is that when this is all over, you get thrown out into the real world. You can't email your boss asking for project extensions; they will laugh in your face. You can't use "I have anxiety" as an excuse to get out of doing something. You can't get butthurt every time your boss comes down on your for not doing adequate work. That is life.

Sorry, but real life doesn't have a safe space for you. Your future employer won't baby you and hold your hand every step of the way. You won't be able to call in sick and skip work 3 times a week like you skip class. The real world has expectations and believe it or not, they are WAY more grueling than college.

People will judge you. You will get yelled at by your boss. Hard deadlines will be expected to be met. If you can't deal with it now, good luck to you out there because it only gets harder. I understand that everyone has their own issues in life, but if other people can get past theirs enough to work hard and be successful, your excuse is simply that: an excuse.

Life was never meant to be easy. The whole reason we applied to college was to be challenged and readied for our future careers. I will bet that almost every college student promised themselves they would work harder in college. Giving excuses isn't working harder, it's looking for the easy way out. The easy way might seem better in the short run, but it teaches you nothing and prepares you for nothing. Not to mention, people will get to know you as "that one moron that always has an excuse to not do their work." I don't know about everyone else, but that is the LAST way I would want to be known.

Instead of making an excuse, work harder. Be responsible. Meet deadlines, do your work early, manage your time. It really is simple when you look at it that way. Yeah, life gets stressful. Are you going to be the person who begs for their "safe space" and cries or are you going to get going and do what needs to be done? I know which person I would hire, that's for sure.

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