The rise of the happiness industry has led to a whole wave of theories and movements by forward-thinking leaders, all pledging to help us find a happier, more fulfilling personal or business life. Move over wellbeing, 2017 is all about the pursuit of happiness.
Whatever your take is on finding happiness, here are the golden rules for keeping that frown upside down, according to five leading entrepreneurs.
Rule one - 'Find your why', says Simon Sinek.
Do you wake up every single day, feeling inspired to go to work and then come home fulfilled by the work that you do? One day, says Simon Sinek, the vast majority of people will - but only if they’ve discovererd their Why. Finding your Why, according to Sinek, is "the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do". It’s "deep-rooted in our biology", he says, and whatever industry you are in, finding "what makes you tick" is the key to feeling happy in your career.
Through TED Talks, courses and various books on his website, the author and inspirational speaker encourages employers to create a culture where employees feel inspired to come to work. Perhaps the 'Why discovery' is something all entrepreneurs could use to instill happiness in themselves and their teams.
Rule two - 'Get more sleep', says Arianna Huffington
Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington has long been inspiring people in their personal lives and careers. And perhaps we should follow her lead in seeing happiness as one of many ingredients in our path to thriving as human beings. In her latest book The Sleep Revolution, she claims that we are experiencing a global 'sleep crisis' and that "getting the right amount of sleep enhances the quality of every minute we spend with our eyes open". On the Happier website, Nataly Kogan backs this up. She says, "not sleeping enough makes our brains more negative, whether we realise it or not".
Last year, we saw a shift in the attitudes to sleep when big firms started introducing sleeping pods into their offices. Whether napping at work is the answer or not, the sleep-happiness argument is here to stay.
Rule three - 'Be more hygge', says Meik Wiking
It was the Oxford Dictionary’s 2016 word of the year and 'hygge' is still a key trend in the happiness industry in 2017. This Danish term pronounced 'hoo-guh', is defined as "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or wellbeing". In The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, claims this could simply be "cocoa by candlelight" or "taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things". It may all sound a bit fluffy at first - and has led to various critics claiming it can encourage a harmful kind of conformity, or push us to have low expectations in life - but many claim it’s why Denmark is the happiest nation in the world.
So while wearing our slippers to work may not be quite appropriate, perhaps there’s something to be said for embracing life’s small pleasures. Perhaps hygge will make its way into a boardroom near you soon.
Rule four - 'Practice gratitude’, says Oprah Winfrey
For ten years, talk show host Oprah Winfrey kept a gratitude journal and when she stopped, she says her wealth, responsibility and possessions had grown but her happiness hadn’t. Now, the philanthropist says she’s back to noting every time she has a grateful moment, as "you radiate and generate more goodness for yourself".
The business world, too, is following suit. Industry Leaders Magazine for example, says that entrepreneurs and leaders who practice gratitude adopt a more solution-focused mindset and have peers who give better results. So when you’re having a bad day at work, try writing five things you are grateful for in your job. Perhaps it’s a ritual that more workplaces should adopt in the pursuit of a happy team.
Rule five - 'Listen to your soul', says Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell takes a slightly more spiritual take on the path to happiness. But essentially, the author and intuitive guide says too many of us are like "radios, set to the wrong frequency". To attract what you desire in life, you need to become "an authentic vibrational match with what you want to attract", she says in her book Light is the New Black. Rebecca isn’t the first writer to highlight the Law of Attraction in the pursuit of happiness. However, the former creative director claims that you can be a happier human being by tuning in to the "calling of your soul". Perhaps that means honing a career that draws on your strengths and passions, or waving goodbye to elements of you personal life that don’t truly make you happy. Either way, the author claims you have the ability to "turn your light on" and lead a happier, more fulfilling life.