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Are We Promoting Happiness Or Just Responding To Poor Mental Health In Work?

Author: Mike Jones

I think we would all agree that ultimately there is nothing more important in life than being happy.

This becomes even more apparent in a business. There's increasing research talk and development around employee engagement and wellbeing.

The reason for this industry increasing is because there is a new problem arising. That problem is, by and large, most people in businesses are struggling with happiness. The outcomes of which are high levels of burn out, absenteeism and employee turnover accompanied by low levels of engagement and productivity.

Considering how important happiness is and how pivotal it is to success, how many of us actually understand what it is?

In response to the question, what is happiness, most people would say something along the lines of 'the absence of negative emotions and the presence of pleasurable emotions'.

I used to think like this, so I did all I could to have more fun and find more pleasure whilst doing all I could to avoid stressful or not pleasurable things.

This approach to life simply doesn't work.

Anything you would say that brings happiness will always be followed by some form of pain or suffering, this is the nature of existence.

The party is followed by the hangover.

The relationships inevitably lead to loss.

Good health will always be followed by sickness and the business wins will always be followed by challenges and losses.

The truth is, being happy isn't about constantly feeling good and comfortable.

Being happy is, ultimately, about being peaceful.

And being peaceful is about being able to accept the inevitable sh*t storm of pains and challenges life is going to throw at every single one of us.. as well as enjoying the many good times it throws at us.

The problem is most of us aren't taught anything about happiness. We're taught that happiness comes from pleasure and achievement. Therefore we must live our lives in the pursuit of pleasures and achievement, and when we are not experiencing these things that is bad.

This is a recipe for unnecessary suffering and struggle in life.

I didn't begin to learn this until I left the military in my mid 20's and concluded that I didn't know how to be happy. I had done what society had taught me, had the partner, good job, and money and independence. Others respected me for my military career.

Yet none of this made me feel happy, and I still experience much pain and suffering that I didn't know how to handle.

So I set off with a backpack and travelled for three years. During that time, I discovered the teaching of the Dalai Lama and the Buddha. For the first time, I began to learn about the true nature of happiness.

Interestingly, when learning from these experts on life, one of the first and most fundamental things they teach is that suffering is a natural and inevitable part of life.

Without it, we would not be able to appreciate or enjoy joy and happiness.

Once we can accept that pain is inevitable, we can learn to accept it and work with it more positively instead of doubling its negative effect on us by trying to battle or avoid it.

Why am I sharing this insight here on a business wellbeing and engagement blog?

You and all of your staff are going to face challenges, pains and heartaches in life. Many of them will come about as a result of your business.

Imagine if, instead of waiting for the issues to arise from this, we put processes in place to reduce the likelihood of those issues arising.

Some basic training into the nature of suffering, how to accept it and how to better handle vs avoid or battle is key to promoting good mental health.

The problem is most of us don't know and aren't shown this. We think that suffering and challenges are bad. In the business setting, where stresses and challenges are inevitable and usually significant, it will often lead to poor mental health, sickness and employee turnvoer.

The result of this is visible all around us. Epidemic levels of poor mental health and a huge focus on reacting to it (there has been a huge uptake in Mental Health First Aid training over the last few years).

I'm not suggesting having Mental Health First Aiders isn't an excellent thing to do in any business. It is, and we actively recommend this to every client we work with.

But we need to do more than just be able to better respond to poor mental health.

We need to understand and promote good mental health.

We need to understand and promote happiness.

A key part of that is accepting and developing a more positive relationship with suffering and pain.

There's an excellent psychological framework called Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) that is centred around this. ACT training has been developed, tested and proven to work in the workplace by experts.

You can find lots of insights into this at

If you'd like to chat with us about how you can incorporate this into your business, take a few minutes to fill out the scorecard below, then follow our invitation for a follow-up call.

About Mike: Mike believes that a structured pathway to health and happiness is the solution to individual, business and global challenges. Mike was never made to feel good in the schooling system, experienced poor management in military and burn out in his first business. Seeing these problems were widespread Mike Co-Founded Better Happy to help other business owners and employees achieve their visions faster with health and happiness.

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