Shiny Happy People?

Cover of "How to Be Happy: Seven Steps to...

I have just seen reports of new research from University College, London
which indicates happy people live longer.  Professor Andrew Steptoe who led the research said to the BBC that longevity might be an outcome experienced by ‘the kind of people who are happy [as they] are the kind who take care of themselves and are therefore quite healthy’.

I can see why that would be the case.  It seems common sense to me if you are fulfilled – in personal, professional, or emotional terms – you are in all likelihood less stressed.  Carry that unstressed feeling over into an active retirement and you are looking at part of the recipe for many golden years.

In terms of coaching I think ‘I want to live life in a way which makes me happy’ could be developed into a workable goal.  I’m not sure living longer could realistically be built into that.  Benjamin Fry‘s book, ‘How to Be Happy’ may be a useful background reference.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19926775

Equally interesting is research from Dr John Eastwood of York University, Toronto.  This shows that boredom can amount to ‘the aversive experience of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity’.

The research, discussed in a Guardian article, notes that ‘frustrated dreamers who haven’t realised their goals can expend all their emotional energy on hating themselves or the world, and find they have no attention left for anything else’.

Of course it wouldn’t be feasible to coach someone whose goal was ‘not to be bored by their life’.  They would need to phrase their aim positively, saying what they wanted to move toward, rather than what they wanted to move away from.

Thinking about it perhaps there is a link between the two pieces of research.  The trick for those experiencing boredom might be to get coached.  That would provide the opportunity for those who are motivated, to stop, reflect, and change course.  It might even give them the chance to start pursuing a goal of living an interesting and happier life…in the longer term.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/14/boredom-is-bad-for-health

About Roger

Personal Performance coach and project manager. Passionate about working with others to deliver personal and organisational change.
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