Now, science has made discoveries about the nature of wellbeing and the superior mental, physical, and emotional benefits that result from it.
These discoveries come from many fields including neuroscience, psychology, occupational health, sociology, and economics. Read about the discoveries in the personal health and workplace below.
The pursuit of happiness is more accessible than the sages ever dreamt thanks to scientific discoveries and tools like MAP’s new scientifically validated wellbeing assessment, algorithms, and deep health technology that take the search for better wellbeing to a new frontier.Read more about How It Works and Happiness and Wellbeing.
Higher life satisfaction amongst employees is associated with better revenue, sales, and profits.
Happiness can benefit work and workplace in more ways than we think.
Mental benefits include an increase in motivation and an improved ability to integrate information.
Social benefits include better relationships and more cooperation.
Key discoveries include:
MAP has a scientifically validated understanding of how the benefits of workplace wellbeing are more likely with high levels of personal wellbeing.
This workplace-personal life connection happens because your personal life and your life at work interact and influence each other in a two-way flow.
“Well-being programs should be considered as an investment rather than a cost.”
Happiness can improve a team’s ability to integrate information. It can also broaden attention and focus that improves behavior and decision-making, leading to rich personal benefits.
Happiness will promote these positive traits in your team and workplace culture:
Good for team. Good for organizational culture. Great for society.
“The happiest people pursue the most difficult problems.”
The mind and body are connected.
Happiness and wellbeing strengthen the physical systems underlying health, immunity, and living longer. They also improve lifestyle behaviors.
Plus, Positive emotions can speed up recovery from injury and disease.
Positive mood is associated with lower rates of viral infections, stroke and heart disease.
Happier individuals are more likely to live longer. For example, a 2015 worldwide study of older-aged people who had higher subjective wellbeing found a 300% increased chance of being alive 8.5 years later.
Did you know that happiness is as important as not smoking for how long you live?
For more insights on the current scientific research on mechanisms that connect the mind and body, read below about the Whitehall Study and the Brain.
For insights on the scientifically validated mechanisms and wellbeing assessment that MAP uses to improve happiness and wellbeing, read about How It Works.
Reduced autonomy and control at work directly causes health problems
Many public health studies have discovered that better wellbeing is connected to positive outcomes.
A 2012 study of 11,000 men and women aged over 50, for example, found that those in the top 25% who reported enjoyment in life, were 28.7% less likely to die. In other words, enjoyment in life is associated with living longer.
But then the question comes to mind: ‘Do people aged over 50, who live longer simply report more enjoyment in life because they haven’t died yet?’
Mechanisms have been discovered that explain how wellbeing directly causes positive outcomes.
The Whitehall Study made a valuable discovery because it found
It is the largest longitudinal study of people in the workplace in the world, investigating more than 10,000 UK civil servants aged 35-55 years old since 1985. Analysis of the civil servants is ongoing and published as a series of studies.
A key discovery is that social status is a major cause of ill-health, like heart disease.
However, the cause is not one of income or lifestyle, but the psychological experience of inequality - how much control your team has and the opportunities for social participation - that profoundly affects health. Discoveries revealed that workers have an intrinsic need for autonomy and social engagement.
The Whitehall Study also revealed mechanisms that showed reduced autonomy and control at work directly causes health problems.
One mechanism revealed that more stress amongst workers reduced their heart rate variability and, thereby, increased the risk of heart disease. Another mechanism showed that stress increased levels of the hormones cortisol and catecholamines, which increased the risk of diabetes.
MAP is a unique scientifically validated survey that measures workplace wellbeing. It takes into account hierarchy at work, by designating workers into distinct groups called Quadrants.
A Positive mood increases activity of the brain centre associated with curiosity and creativity
Neuroscience is another branch of science that shows how better wellbeing can lead to positive outcomes.
Discoveries show how wellbeing affects the brain’s functions and even its structure.
Studies have discovered that natural brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) like dopamine increase with better wellbeing. One mechanism shows that dopamine embeds a positive feedback loop, so when you respond to something positive in your life, this makes you better able to seek and receive something else positive at a later time.
Researchers have looked at centers in the brain using imaging technology. In 2009 a study revealed that positive mood led to increased activity of the brain centre associated with increased curiosity and creativity.
Neuroscientists have discovered that the brain’s structure changes in response to how we think and feel. Studies show that mindfulness training (a type of meditation linked to improved wellbeing in psychological studies) increases nerve tissue in parts of the brain that regulate thought processes and emotion.
For insights on the mechanisms that MAP uses in its scientifically validated wellbeing assessment to improve happiness and wellbeing in workplaces,
Baard P.P., Deci E.L., & Ryan R.M. (2004) Intrinsic Need Satisfaction - A Motivational basis of performance and Well-being in work settings. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2004, 34, 10, pp. 2045-2068.
Bartles M. Genetics of Wellbeing and Its Components Satisfaction with Life, Happiness, and Quality of Life: A Review and Meta-analysis of Heritability Studies. Behav Genet, 2015;45:137-156
Bloch-Jorgensen Z. T, Cilione P. J, Yeung W. W. H, Gatt J. M. Centeredness Theory: Understanding and Measuring Well-Being Across Core Life Domains. Front Psychol. 2018 May 1;9:610. link
Bloomer E. Workplace interventions to improve health and wellbeing. Institute of Healthy Equity, Public Health England. link
Buunk, B. P., Doosje, B. J., Jans, L. G. J. M., & Hopstaken, L. E. M. (1993). Perceived reciprocity, social support, and stress at work: The role of exchange and communal orientation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 801-811.
De Neve J-E, et al. Objective Benefits of Subjective Wellbeing. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. link
Dirks, K. T., & Ferrin, D. L. (2002). Trust in leadership: Meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice. Journal of Applied Psychol- ogy, 87, 611-628.
Forgeard MJC, et al. Doing the right thing: Measuring wellbeing for public policy. Int Journ Wellbeing, 2011;1(1):79-106.
Frei, R. I., & McDaniel, M. A. (1998). Validity of customer service measures in personnel selection. Human Performance, 11, 1-27.
Gandy, WM et al. (2014). Comparing the contributions of well-being and disease status to employee productivity. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 56(3):252-257
Gatt J, et al. Mental wellbeing: Measurement and intervention using a neuroscience framework. As yet unpublished.
Gummer, B. (2001). Peer relationships in organizations: Mutual assistance, employees with disabilities, and distributive justice. Administration in Social Work, 25, 85-103
House, J. A. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 268-279.
Isen., A., M., (2001) An Influence of Positive Affect on Decision Making in Complex Situations: Theoretical Issues With Practical Implications. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 11(2), 75-85.