Return On Flourishing (ROFL): A Keynote given at the Fifteen Seconds Festival in Graz/Austria

For my German-speaking readers:

About two weeks ago, I gave a keynote on Positive Psychology at the Fifteen Seconds Festival in Graz/Austria. It covers a short introduction to Positive Psychology, some scientific facts on the relationship between treating your employees exceptionally well and the financial returns of a company (based among other things, on the research of Prof. Alex Edmans), and a model of exceptional leadership based on ideas of Prof. Michael F. Steger.

Share and enjoy!


Positive Psychology News Digest | January – March (+130 Articles)

Mappalicious_Wordle_Q1_16Just in case you´ve missed some of my weekly updates – here are all the featured Positive Psychology-related articles from January to March 2016:

Time: The Most Inspiring Way to Be Happier and More Motivated by Eric Barker

New York Times: Don’t Grade Schools on Grit by Angela Duckworth

Harvard Business Review: 28 Years of Stock Market Data Shows a Link Between Employee Satisfaction and Long-Term Value by Alex Edmans Study Finds Inner Kindness Is the Key to Success, Happiness by Cameron Glover (feat. Emma Seppälä)

Psychology Today: Why Is Happiness Fleeting? by Itai Ivtzan

The Atlantic: One Simple Phrase That Turns Anxiety Into Success by Olga Khazan

The Telegraph: Mental illness mostly caused by life events not genetics, argue psychologists by Sarah Knapton

The Guardian: Three things you think will make you happier at work (but won’t) by Charlotte Seager

TLNT: Is A Happy Workplace One Of Your Core Values? by Ron Thomas

Fast Company: How To Design Happiness: Experts from Lippincott, Disney, and SoulCycle weigh in on how they craft happy experiences by Mark Wilson

Greater Good Science Center: How Happy Brains Respond to Negative Things by Summer Allen & Jeremy Adam Smith

Fortune: The Massive Difference between Negative and Positive Leadership by Bill George

Washington Post: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends by Christopher Ingraham

Psychology Today: Where does the Word “Mindfulness” come from? by Tim Lomas Swarthmore colleagues, students choose to honor an expert (Barry Schwartz) on choices by Justine McDaniel

Greater Good Science Center: Why Does Happiness Inequality Matter? by Kira Newman

Huffington Post UK: World Happiness Report 2016 Update – Five Key Implications for Education by Frederika Roberts

Forbes: How To Be A Happier Human Being Even When You’re Failing by Brett Steenbarger

Time/Money: Watching cat videos at work could make you more productive by Martha White

Huffington Post: Why Governments Should Stay Out of the Happiness Business by Ruth Wippman

Greater Good Science Center: You Will Never Find Work-Life Balance by Christine Carter

New York Times: Denmark Ranks as Happiest Country; Burundi, Not So Much by Sewell Chan

Fulfillment Daily: Happiness at Work: Get a Big Boost from Small Frequent Pleasures by Ron Friedman

Psychology Today: How Can Positive Psychology Be More Open to the Negative? by Todd Kashdan

Psychology Today : Expectations, Dopamine and Louis CK by Alex Korb

Quartz: This four-letter word is the Swedish key to happiness at work by Anne Quito

Huffington Post (Education): Why Being Tired of Grit is Tiresome by Stuart Rhoden

Chicago Tribune: Stanford psychologist tells us how to fight workplace burnout by Nara Schoenberg

Intelligent HQ: Why is Positive Psychology So Misunderstood? by Ana Teresa Silva

New York Times: Rethinking the Work-Life Equation by Susan Dominus

Inc: 7 things remarkably happy people do every single day by Peter Economy

Slate: A whole field of psychology research may be bunk by Daniel Engber

Brookings: Some good news for International Women’s Day: Women are (usually) happier than men by Carol Graham

Harvard Business Review: How to practice mindfulness throughout your workday by Rasmus Hougaard & Jacqueline Carter

Psychology Today: Positive Psychology: What Does “Positive” Mean? by Itai Ivtzan

Rewire Happiness: Transformative Technologies and Their Impact on Well-Being by Sophie Janicke

NPR: Is ‘Grit’ Doomed To Be The New Self-Esteem? by Anya Kamenetz

Washington Post: The worst kind of boss is not the one who’s always a jerk by Jena McGregor

Irish Times: Can you teach wellbeing? Martin Seligman thinks so by Ronan McGreevy

The Psych Report: The Paradoxes of Creativity: Sensitive Rockers, Mindful Daydreamers, and Celebrated Outcasts by Evan Nesterak

New York Times (Well): Why Doctors Care About Happiness by Danielle Ofri

Evening Standard: Older people are ‘happier in their late 60s’ by Hannah Al-Othman

PsyBlog: How To Naturally Boost The Brain Chemicals Sapped By Depression by Jeremy Dean

Quartz: Neuroscience says these five rituals will help your brain stay in peak condition by Vivian Giang

Positive Psychology News Daily: Workplace Positivity? What’s the Right Amount? And Why? by Donna Hemmert

Inc: Want to Be Truly Happy? Harvard Researchers Say This Is the One Thing You Need by Bill Murphy Jr.

Wharton Knowledge: The New Success Track: Happiness by Emma Seppälä

Huffington Post UK: It is Time to Embrace Stress as a Mental Wellbeing Issue by Simon Stevens

Greater Good Science Center: How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative by Jill Suttie

Fast Company: 7 ways turn your current job into your dream Job by Stephanie Vozza

New York Times: Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push to Measure Students’ Emotional Skills by Kate Zernike

Washington Post: We all know exercise makes you live longer. But this will actually get you off the Couch by David Brown

Harvard Business Review: How to Build a Culture of Originality by Adam Grant

Psychology Today: Second Wave Positive Psychology: An Introduction by Tim Lomas

Think Advisor: Advisors in Pursuit of Happiness by Olivia Mellan

Psychology Today: Being Positive: It’s Not Mindfulness, It’s Savoring by Ryan Niemiec

Psychology Today: 4 Science-Backed Tips For Achieving Your Dreams by Emma Seppälä

Psychology Today: The Hard Data on Self-Love and Why It Leads to Success by Emma Seppälä

MIT Technology Review: First Evidence for the Happiness Paradox: That Your Friends Are Happier than You Are, no author

Inc: 11 Signs You Have the Grit You Need to Succeed by Travis Bradberry

Forbes: The Surprising Power Of Appreciation At Work by Chris Cancialosi

Greater Good Science Center: Can Helping Others Help You Find Meaning in Life? by Elizabeth Hopper

New Yorker: How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova

Wall Street Journal: ‘Resilience’ skills help you remain positive and productive under stress by Laura Landro

Forbes: Amy Cuddy: How Leaders Can Be More Present In The Workplace by Dan Schawbel

Boston Globe: How nice bosses get ahead by Emma Seppälä

Washington Post: What people around the world mean when they say they’re happy by Ana Swanson

Psychology Today: Re-setting Your Happiness Set Point Part 1 | Part 2 by Linda and Charlie Bloom

Talent Management: 6 Resolutions for Career Happiness in 2016 by Dan Bowling

PsyBlog: 33 Surprisingly Simple Things That Make People Happiest by Jeremy Dean

NBC News: United Arab Emirates Names Official ‘Minister for Happiness’ by Alex Johnson

Scientific American: How to Be an Optimal Human by Scott Barry Kaufman

Scientific American Mind: Can Positive Thinking Be Negative? by Scott Lilienfeld

The Guardian: Banish those midlife blues – the secret to happiness starts with one small step by Tracy McVeigh

Washington Post: The end of college rankings as we know them by Jeffrey Selingo

Washington Post: A Stanford psychologist explains why spacing out and goofing off is so good for you by Emma Seppälä

Penn Current: Penn professor explores what it means to be positive by Michele Berger

Financial Times: Companies with a purpose beyond profit tend to make more money by Simon Caulkin

Greater Good Science Center: Five Ways to Put Self-Compassion into Therapy by Tim Desmond

Gizmodo: English is Surprisingly Devoid of Emotionally Positive Words by George Dvorsky

New York Times: How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off by Adam Grant

Psychology Today: Is It a Good Idea To Build on Signature Strengths? by Todd Kashdan

Scientific American: The Differences Between Happiness and Meaning in Life by Scott Barry Kaufman

Psychology Today: Can You Help Others Find Meaning In Their Work? by Michelle McQuaid

Cosmopolitan: 12 Ways to Feel Happier at Work – Yes, even at the job you hate by Judith Ohikuare

Psychology Today: The Surprising Link Between Compassion and Success by Emma Seppälä

Forbes: How To Light The Fire When You’re Burned Out by Brett Steenbarger

New York Times: You Are Stronger Than You (and Your Therapist) Think by Michael Bennett

Scientific American: The Science of Healing Thoughts by Gareth Cook

The Guardian: Is mindfulness making us ill? by Dawn Foster

Penn Current: Q&A with Scott Barry Kaufman by Lauren Hertzler

Stanford GSB: Should Employees Design Their Own Jobs? by Louise Lee

Fast Company: It takes more than just being a good person yourself to inspire ethical conduct in employees by David Mayer

Knowledge@Wharton: Why Compassion Serves You Better Than Self-interest by Emma Seppälä

Fast Company: The Surprising Link Between Compassion And Success by Emma Seppälä

Forbes: One Powerful Step That Can Turn Around Your Trading Psychology by Brett Steenbarger

Greater Good Science Center: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Kinder by Jill Suttie

Quartz: The Stanford professor who pioneered praising kids for effort says we’ve totally missed the point by Jenny Anderson

Harvard Business Review: Manage your Emotional Culture by Sigal Barsade & Olivia O’Neill

Harvard Business Review: We Learn More When We Learn Together by Jane Dutton & Emily Heaphy

New York Times: Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate by Adam Grant

Fulfillment Daily: The Surprising Benefit Of Going Through Hard Times by Carolyn Gregoire The 5 most important findings from the science of happiness that apply at work by Alexander Kjerulf

Forbes: Mapping World Happiness And Conflict Through Global News And Image Mining by Kalev Leetaru

Psychology Today: The One Thing To Know About Happiness by Andrea Polard

Psychology Today: 6 Surefire Ways To Increase Your Charisma – Backed by Science by Emma Seppälä

New York Times: Having Friends Is Good for You, Starting in Your Teens by Nicholas Bakalar

Quartz: In our pursuit of happiness, Americans are losing sight of what actually makes us happy by Geoff Chang

Forbes: How To Bring Presence To Your Biggest Challenges by Paula Davis-Laack

Harvard Business Review: Income Inequality Makes Whole Countries Less Happy by Jan-Emmanuel De Neve &  Powdthavee Nattavudh

BPS Research Digest: Follow your heart – Having an unanswered calling in life is worse than having no calling at all by Alex Fradera

New York Magazine: How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain by Christian Jarrett

Washington Post: Your relationships are just as important to your health as diet and exercise by Elahe Izadi

Huffington Post: The science of happiness: Everything you need to know about the feeling we all crave by Jason March et al.

New York Times: ‘Design Thinking’ for a Better You by Tara Parker-Pope

Fast Company: Countries Do Get Happier When They Get Richer–But Only If They Share The Wealth by Ben Schiller

Wall Street Journal: Latest Game Theory: Mixing Work and Play by Rachel Emma Silverman

Greater Good Science Center: How Humility Will Make You the Greatest Person Ever by Vicki Zakrzewski

Science Daily: Brain can be trained to regulate negative emotions, study shows, no author

New York Magazine: 3 Insights From a New Book About Creativity by Melissa Dahl

Psychology Today: 10 Questions to Help You Reflect on 2015 by Paula Davis-Laack

Harvard Business Review: Strengths-Based Coaching Can Actually Weaken You by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

New York Times: How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity by Pagan Kennedy

Business Insider: A Harvard psychiatrist says 3 things are the secret to real happiness by Tanya Lewis

Greater Good Science Center: To Change Yourself, Change Your World by Kira Newman

Psychology Today: 3 Things Extraordinary Leaders Do by Emma Seppälä

Fulfillment Daily: The Joy of Imperfection: How Not to Drive Yourself and Others Nuts in 2016 by Mona Shah Joshi

Positive Psychology News Daily: Instead of a Resolution, Try a New Year Routine by Jan Stanley

Forbes: The Positive Psychology Of Job Interviewing by Brett Steenbarger

News Digest - Mappalicious

Article about Positive Organizational Scholarship on Zeit Online

For my German readers (or those that like to use Google Translator):

I´m really proud and happy right now. I´ve published an article on ZON, the online presence of Die Zeit, Germany´s most-read weekly newspaper (and one of the most prestigious in general). It covers a short overview of Positive Psychology and then takes a deep-dive into Alex Edmans´ research on the relationship of employer centricity and capital markets performance.




The healthiest Companies outperform their Competition on the Stock Market

Smiling - MappaliciousAre you working for a company that treats you like a valuable human being? Do they care about your psychological and physiological health? Yes? Good for you! And good for them as well!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared Alex Edmans´ studies on how the “Best Companies to work for” in the U.S. outperform their competitors on the stock market. Now here comes another piece of compelling evidence for the idea that treating your employees exceptionally well is not a cost factor, but rather gives your company an edge pertaining to financial performance. For a study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, a group of researchers compared the stock market performance of companies that were awarded the “. Everett Koop National Health Award”(a prestigious award for companies running outstanding employee health programs named after a former Surgeon General) with the average performance of companies comprising the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index. What they´ve found:

The Koop Award portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 Index. In the 14-year period tracked (2000–2014), Koop Award winners’ stock values appreciated by 325% compared with the market average appreciation of 105%.

The researchers conclude that “this study supports prior and ongoing research demonstrating a higher market valuation – an affirmation of business success by Wall Street investors – of socially responsible companies that invest in the health and well-being of their workers when compared with other publicly traded firms.”


Image via Gratisography


Why Companies with Happy Employees outperform their Competition on the Stock Market

Edmans_SatisfactionDo happy employees affect a company´s bottom line (in a positive way)? What seems like no-brainer is actually quite hard to detect in real life. Studies in Positive Organizational Scholarship have been able to show that happy workers tend to be more productive, but this relation has been mostly detected for individuals, not on the “systems level”.

Alex Edmans, finance professor at London Business School, has been busy trying to change that. He created a hypothetic stock portfolio comprised of the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” (as a proxy for organizations that treat their employees exceptionally well) and tracked this for more than 20 years. His conclusion: after controlling for confounding variables such as company size and industry, employee-centric companies significantly outperform their competitors year after year.

What more, he also seems to able to detect a causal relationship. Over the years, some firms drop out of the “Best Companies” ranking, while others obviously make it for the first time. Edmans finds that corporations begin to outperform their competition – several years after they´ve managed to be listed on that index.

Here are Edmans´ original research papers on this fascinating topic:

Alternatively, you can read a summary in this piece on The Atlantic: Happy Workers, Richer Companies?

Or, you can have him explain it to you personally via his TEDx talk. Share and enjoy!


Alex Edmans´s talk will also be posted as No. 48 on my topical list of Positive Psychology-infused TED talks, Michael Norton´s is already there.