Magazine article New Zealand Management

Happiness: Why Employers Should Care

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Happiness: Why Employers Should Care

Article excerpt

Businesses should be seriously concerned about their employees' happiness if they want to grow and be innovative, says one of the world's leading psychologists.

Professor Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, told 150 people attending a recent lecture at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, that evidence shows happy people are more productive, and much more creative, than unhappy people.

Seligman refuted long-held theories that only "really miserable" people are creative--saying one reason for this notion is that famous writers and artists such as Sylvia Plath and Fyodor Dostoevsky experienced periods of deep depression.

"It turns out that it was factor of bipolar depression ... and creativity took place when they were up, not when they were down. If you want creativity, you want people feeling good."

He said his experiments in positive psychology show that people have much faster reaction times and are much more aware of what is going on around them when they are happy than when they are sad.

People who are fully engaged in what they are doing are also much more able to ignore discomfort and negative stimulus, he said.

"Engagement is definitely a better analgesic than aspirin, and may be a better analgesic than morphine," which has implications for business, Seligman said. …

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