Can you train people to be happier at work?

How to fly? Peter Pan said it plain. "Think happy thoughts."

When  brains are primed to be positive, people perform better than when they are in a negative or neutral state. Research supports positivity having an influence on creativity, in a good way.

Author Martin Addison says it is possible to imprint the brain with positive patterns by using a series of habits and mindset changes .  These might just be the thing to encourage people your organization to enable creativity day-to-day.

1. Create the habit of gratitude. Get them to write down three new things each day that they are grateful for. Make these things specific. If you spend two minutes a day doing this, your brain becomes slightly happier. Try doing it for 21 consecutive days. The more you think of things you’re grateful for, the less time you have for thinking about hassles and complaints.

2. Exercise. Many people know that exercise releases positive endorphins and that when you exercise, you’re more likely to eat healthier. If you could exercise daily for 21 days in a row, the benefits would cascade into other areas of your life.

3. Reduce multitasking. Our brains like to do one thing at a time. When we attempt to multitask, we decrease our success rate on those tasks. To be happier and more productive at work, people should try to do one thing at a time.

4. Perform conscious acts of kindness. Altruism is a great way to feel good about yourself. Thinking of how you can help someone else changes how you see the world – from how is the world affecting me to how can I affect the world? It may seem a small change but this is very important. Train employees to find positive things that they can do for – or say to – other people.

Adapted from an article submitted by Martin Addison to Oct 12, 2011. Martin Addison is CEO of Video Arts, the video training, m-learning and e-learning company. He can be contacted on 020 7400 4800 or via

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