The Ripple Effect Happiness Advantage
Part 3 The Ripple Effect
Spreading the Happiness Advantage at Work, at Home, and Beyond
Once we start capitalizing on the Happiness Advantage in our own lives, the positive changes quickly ripple out. This is why positive psychology is so powerful. Using all seven principles together sparks an upward spiral of happiness and success. So that the benefits quickly become multiplicative. Or in other words creating the Ripple Effect.
As we saw in Principle 6, your thoughts and actions are constantly shaping and reshaping the neural pathways in the brain. This means that the more you practice the exercises outlined in this book, and the more you cement these habits for the long haul. And as your brain becomes more adept at one habit, it improves your ability to capitalize on another. That’s because these principles don’t work in isolation. Shawn Achor has presented them as seven distinct principles for the purpose of clarity. But as you may have already noticed, they are inextricably linked, and using several in concert with one another only enhances their collective power.
The more we capitalize on the Happiness Advantage ourselves, the more we can impact the lives of those around us. Our actions are constantly cascading and bouncing off each other in every which way and direction. Much like the butterflies flapping their wings in the Chaos Theory.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
What scientists found is mirror neurons, specialized brain cells that can actually sense and then mimic the feelings, actions, and physical sensations of another person. Let’s say a person is pricked by a needle. The neurons in the pain center of his or her brain will immediately light up, which should come as no surprise. But what is a surprise is that when that same person sees someone else receive a needle prick. This same set of neurons lights up, just as tough he himself had been pricked. He feels the prick even tough he did not receive the prick. The same thing happens if you watch a sports event on TV and catch yourself involuntarily moving in concert of what is happening on TV.
Your colleagues are Contagious
Thanks to the mirror neurons, our emotions too are enormously contagious. As we pass through the day, our brains are constantly processing the feelings of the people around of us, taking note of the inflection in someone’s voice, the look behind their eyes, the stoop of their shoulders. In fact, the amygdala can read and identify an emotion in another person’s face within 33 milliseconds, and then just as quickly prime us to feel the same.
“Like secondhand smoke, the leakage of emotions can make a bystander an innocent casualty of someone else’s toxic state”.
Spreading the Happiness Advantage
Luckily, positive emotions are also contagious, which makes them a powerful tool in our quest for high performance in the workplace. Positive emotional contagion starts when people subconsciously mimic the body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions of those around them.
Every big wave starts small
When capitalizing on the Happiness Advantage, you are doing far more than improving your own well-being and performance: the more you profit from the principles in this book, the more everyone around you profits.