We all know what ‘happy hour’ is. That time of day after work to meet up at a bar/restaurant and have a few drinks, usually on a Friday afternoon. As we begin a new year in which we are more connected than ever, where there will be no shortage of reasons to not be online 24/7, where there will be more distractions and challenges, let me propose a new ‘happy hour’ model. I actually like the term ‘happy hour’ even though it seems more like a ‘social hour’ and little to do with ‘happiness.’ What if happy hour were actually a happy hour?
As I coach athletes, coaches, and executives, I have formally embedded this concept already and having amazing success with it. It is part of a Neuroplasticity Methodology I use and also in the high performance model. It has benefits on all parts of life as it impacts our brain, the organ we use in all situations everywhere we go. The concept is simple. Pick an hour a day and formally designate it your happy hour. The specific hour can change but it is to be done daily. In one organization I work with, they have formally committed to 1/2 hour a day at work for this purpose. During this hour, commit to an activity that makes you happy, genuinely happy. The time constraint and geography can limit what activities you can do, but they can be anything from naps, to leisure walks, to eating ice cream, to reading poetry, to calling old friends, to walking over to day-care and playing with kids, to watching inspiring youtube videos, to learning something new, to helping someone else, to planning for a family event, etc. The first step is to build a comprehensive repository of what makes you specifically happy. Use your mobile device and add to this list each day. During you happy hour, look at the list and pick one to do.
Neurologically, this proactive insertion of dopamine into your body counter-balances the inherent stress of other activities leading to better creativity and collaboration. There is a ton more I could write on this but you can easily google the advantages of being happy or the disadvantages of being stressed on performance. As a leader, a coach, or an athlete, I encourage you to give permission to your team, to model this, to share each others’ happy hours for just a week and test it out. If you see the kinds of benefits I have seen, then keep doing it. Consider Happiness an achievable goal for 2019 that has a direct positive correlation to human performance.