In the United States, we live in one of the richest, safest and most free countries in the world. Yet according to the “2016 United Nation’s World Happiness Report”, we rank No. 19. Why is this? We spoke to happiness expert Chris Butsch for some answers.
Millennials and Unhappiness
A millennial himself, Butsch believes that “millennials are a generation suffering from an unhappiness epidemic.” He argues that the American dream is skewed and that it stunts our happiness because the seeds to a happy life simply aren’t engrained into our culture. Affected a year ago by unhappiness, Butsch traveled the world to fully understand what it means to be happy. He interviewed hundreds of people (including millennials), studied positive psychology and read up on many underreported studies by some of the leading universities in the country, all of which forever changed the way he thinks about happiness. Read on for some of his key findings.
Achieving Workplace Harmony with Millennials
“The wrong approach is to treat millennials differently, or to give them special treatment,” Butsch states. “They like to work for well-run businesses and they don’t work well for companies that give them special treatment or hire a special consultant that tells managers to treat them differently…it all comes down to best practices.” Also, according to Butsch, millennials like to receive regular feedback from management. Studies have shown that millennials are seeking affirmation that the work they are doing is moving them in the right direction. Hence, if feedback is provided to millennials and regularly, it should eliminate ‘that’ millennial asking for a promotion shortly after starting a new job, or worse yet, quitting a new position with little explanation.
According to The Journal of Happiness Studies, all happiness derives from just two sources: true happiness and pleasure. Confusing the sources of happiness is something that Americans often do. “True happiness and pleasure are very different and the distinction is important to know,” says Butsch. Activities such as dining with a friend, reading, or volunteering lead one towards true happiness. A pleasure, on the other hand, is something that gives you temporary happiness. Drinking a soda is a perfect example of temporary happiness. If you have dinner with a friend versus drink a soda alone, the next morning you’ll actually wake up happier if you’ve done the true happiness activity of dinner with a friend. “You’ve actually increased your baseline happiness, referred to as your hedonic set point.” So the idea here is to do more true happiness activities.
Mindfulness: Moment to Moment Happiness
We all know that meditation, a strategy to lower one’s stress and increase the ability to focus, increases happiness levels. But what you may not know is a meditation technique called mindfulness, a practice that has penetrated many Fortune 500 Companies, including Adobe and Google. Mindfulness allows individuals to be able to reengage fully in the present moment without having distractions. In other words, eating mindful, listening mindful, a mindful walk, etc. So how about turning off your computers and cellphones to be more present? It really is that simple. The idea is to make peace with your present moment to be happier.
In this episode of In Process Podcast, Trusted Counsel interviews Chris Butsch , speaker, meditation instructor, millennial happiness expert and author of the new book “The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness.”
During the course of the podcast you will learn about:
- What led Chris to write a book specifically for millennials (and that every office should have a copy of the book)
- The building blocks of happiness: true happiness versus pleasure
- The problem with social media and its impact on our happiness levels
- How to increase your happiness levels over time
- Why everyone needs to have a sleep app on their phones
Stream the conversation with Chris in the player below to learn more. Don’t miss an episode, subscribe to InProcess Podcast on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show to your smartphone.