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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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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I Am A Totally Different Person Than I Was A Year Ago, And I Am Grateful For That

I am grateful for my struggles because they've made me stronger, and a lot change in a year.

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Last year, I was a totally different person than I am now. I have grown so much, and I have changed, hopefully for the better. It feels like it has been for the better because I am so confident in who I am as a person.

Last year, I was just starting my career as a college student. I was a freshman living on her own for the first time. I was finding out how to adult for the first time. I had to manage my time and prioritize things for the first time.

It was hard, and I've definitely made mistakes along the way, but I've gotten a pretty good grasp of how to do it. Also, I've gotten a ton of help and advice on how to do it well. As a result, I've been able to do more with my time and I've been able to expand myself professionally.

It was a struggle, but I am grateful that I went through them.

This time last year, I was in a group of friends that wasn't right for me. I was focused on school and getting good grades. That wasn't their priority and the people who I thought I would be best friends with forever don't even wave to me around campus today. We grew apart.

This year, I think I've found a couple of groups of friends that are all amazing people. All of the people in these groups are driven and hardworking people. They care about school and their lives after college and are setting themselves up for a brighter future. These people motivate me to work harder in college.

It was hard having those first friendships in college fail, but the people in my life now are so much better for me. I genuinely think the world of everyone that is an active part of my world now because these people are all people who deserve the best in life.

Between this time last year and now I went through a lot of personal struggles. Each time they got harder and more complicated, but I am grateful for these struggles.

It's never easy having friendships go sour, especially for someone like me who values their friendships so highly. I am loyal to my friends to a fault, and when friendships fail it deeply pains me. However, these failed relationships have made me stronger and have made me a more mature and a better person.

This time last year, I was lost. I had a vision of what I wanted to do with my life, but I had no idea how to get there. I had no idea what I was going to do in the meantime until I got there. This was a huge emotional struggle for me.

Now, I am not lost. I have my vision and I still have no idea of exactly how I am going to get there. However, instead of freaking out, I am embracing the moment. I am keeping myself open to new opportunities and in the past year, I have taken a lot of them.

In those new opportunities I have experienced, I have found a love for non-profit work. I've found myself in a sorority after thinking that I would never be in one. I've found myself doing research.

This time last year, I struggled with leaving my comfort zone. From being scared out of my mind doing a ropes course and being hesitant embracing new friendships. I was scared to leave what I knew.

Now, I am constantly escaping my comfort zone. In the past year, I've taken out door-frames in one piece, I have joined a sorority (that was leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone), I have taken on new roles and positions, and I've made new friends.

This time last year I was miserable. I got anxious over almost everything, especially the stupid things that don't matter now. I doubted myself a lot. I got worked up over almost everything and I was always sad.

Now, I am the happiest I have ever been. I don't get anxious over stupid things. I am confident in who I am, and I am happy.

This happiness, this happiness that isn't going away is because of those new experiences and opportunities. I left my comfort zone, and I've become happier. Everything this past year has made me stronger and more mature.

This past year, I've struggled a lot. I went through a lot of high highs and a lot of low lows. If it weren't for these struggles, I wouldn't have grown to be the person I am today.

In this past year, I have discovered some of my values. I have learned things about myself, and I've done new things. I am a different person.

This Thanksgiving and year, I am grateful for my struggles because I am so much more mature, confident, and stronger than I ever was before. I am proud of who I am today, and that is large in part to my friends and the experiences I've had. I am grateful for that, to those people thank you.

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