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Psychedelic Mushrooms Could Cure Anxiety for Cancer Patients

A New York University study is using psilocybin to help patients overcome the fear of death.

April 24, 2014 

When O.M. was 21 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was a pre-med student at the time. His first reaction was denial, followed by an overwhelming and lasting anxiety, as described in an April 22 Atlantic article by Roc Morin. Even after six rounds of chemotherapy helped O.M. kick the cancer, he was plagued with a devastating fear that the disease might return. He checked his lymph nodes so often to see if they’d grown that he developed callouses on his neck.

He experienced this debilitating end-of-life anxiety from the moment he was diagnosed until the day he ingested psilocybin, extracted from hallucinogenic mushrooms while laying on a psychiatrist’s couch during a New York University study. O.M. is one of 35 study participants, all of whom suffered from severe anxiety due to cancer.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study, which is still ongoing, looks at the potentials for psilocybin to treat anxiety and other psychological distress stemming from  advanced cancer. The second half of the study will look at the effect of psilocybin on “pain perception, depression, existential/psychospiritual distress, attitudes toward disease progression, quality of life, and spiritual/mystical states of consciousness.”

O.M. told the Atlantic that when he ate the mushrooms, it was “like a switch went on.”

“I went from being anxious to analyzing my anxiety from the outside,” he said. “I realized that nothing was actually happening to me objectively. It was real because I let it become real. And, right when I had that thought, I saw a cloud of black smoke come out of my body and float away.”

Gabrielle Agin-Liebes, the research manager for the NYU study, told the Atlantic that O.M. had one of the highest possible anxiety ratings possible prior to the study. The day following his treatment, O.M. scored a zero. He had absolutely no anxiety, and stayed that way for seven months following the treatment.

Photo Credit: Yegor Larin / Shutterstock.com

As Morin’s Atlantic article notes, psilocybin was used for medicinal purposes for centuries by indigenous peoples before Western Christian globalization stomped out its mainstream usage. In the wake of WWII, hallucinogens-as-medicine made a comeback among psychiatrists. When psychoactive substances gained recreational popularity as street drugs, the Nixon administration waged its war on drugs, passing the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Psilocybin was given restrictive Schedule I classification along with LSD, cannabis and other psychoactive substances. Nixon’s war on drugs still rages on today, filling prisons with nonviolent drug offenders and targeting minority populations.

1970s-era policies have also suppressed most research of psychedelics for decades, but thanks to the efforts of determined scientists and research groups like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), government-approved human studies of controlled psychedelic substances are breaking ground again. While the federal government still deems them dangerous and void of medical purpose, research continues to reveal a promising medical potential of most psychoactive Schedule I substances to treat issues ranging from pain and anxiety to addiction and cancer.

A recent FDA-approved study looked at LSD in the treatment of end-of-life anxiety. It was the first controlled study of LSD in humans in 40 years, and the results were overwhelmingly positive, with every patient reporting reduced anxiety and no negative side effects.

The NYU psilocybin study is not the first of its kind. Charles Grob conducted a study with similar outcome measures at Harbor-UCLA. However, the NYU study uses higher doses of psilocybin and examines 32 subjects instead of the 12 Grob examined. The results of the current psilocybin study are still being examined, but principal investigator Stephen Ross told the Atlantic that, “the vast majority of their patients have exhibited an immediate and sustained reduction in anxiety. Consistent with similar studies involving psilocybin, approximately three-fourths of the participants rate their experience with the drug as being one of the top five most significant events of their lives.”

O.M. was among the overwhelming success cases.

“At the hospital they gave me Xanax for anxiety,” he told the Atlantic. “Xanax doesn’t get rid of your anxiety. Xanax tells you not to feel it for a while until it stops working and you take the next pill. The beauty of psilocybin is: it’s not medication. You’re not taking it and it solves your problem. You take it and you solve your problem yourself.”

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A Memory Aid for Seniors: Laughter

SUNDAY, April 27, 2014  (HealthDay News)

Humor and laughter may help combat memory loss in the elderly, a new study suggests.

Previous research has found that the stress hormone cortisol can harm memory and learning ability in older adults. This new study examined whether mirth might reduce the damage caused by cortisol.

Researchers showed a 20-minute humorous video to a group of healthy seniors and a group of seniors with diabetes. These groups were compared with a group of seniors who didn’t see the video.

The two groups that watched the funny video showed significant decreases in cortisol levels and greater improvements on memory tests, compared to the group that didn’t see the video. The diabetes group showed the largest decrease in cortisol levels, while the healthy group had the greatest improvement on memory tests.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

“It’s simple, the less stress you have, the better your memory,” one of the study’s authors, Lee Berk, said in a Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology news release. “Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decreases memory [brain cells], lowers your blood pressure and increases blood flow and your mood state. The act of laughter — or simply enjoying some humor — increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a sense of pleasure and reward.

“These positive and beneficial neurochemical changes, in turn, make the immune system function better,” Berk added. “There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what’s called the ‘gamma wave band frequency’, which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life.”

The findings could be used in designing wellness programs for the elderly, according to study author Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains. Berk and Bains are both from Loma Linda University in Calif.

The study did not prove that humor offsets memory loss, it only found an association between the two.


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11 Universal Truths in Nutrition We Actually Agree on

Authority Nutrition   April 20, 2014

There is a lot of controversy in nutrition.

Sometimes it seems like people can’t agree on anything at all.

But there are a few exceptions to this… some nutrition facts that aren’t controversial.

Here are 11 universal truths in nutrition that people actually agree on.

1. Artificial Trans Fats Are Extremely Unhealthy

There is ongoing debate about fats in the diet, but most people agree that trans fats are harmful.

Put simply, trans fats are polyunsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to resemble saturated fats. This is done by exposing polyunsaturated fats to high heat, high pressure and hydrogen gas, in the presence of a metal catalyst.

This “hydrogenates” the fats, making them resemble saturated fats in consistency, which dramatically improves shelf life. They can raise small, dense LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (the good) cholesterol, cause insulin resistance and belly fat accumulation, while driving inflammation.

There are now studies showing that trans fat consumption is strongly linked to many serious diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

These fats are found mostly in highly processed foods. The best way to avoid them them is to read labels and avoid anything that has the word “hydrogenated” on the ingredients list. A little known fact is that refined vegetable oils like soybean and canola oils also contain significant amounts of trans fats, from 0.56-4.2%, although it’s usually not listed on the label. It’s best to avoid these too.

Bottom Line: Trans fats are man-made fats, made by “hydrogenating” polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These fats can cause severe harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to many diseases.

2. Whole Foods Are Better Than Processed Foods

There is growing consensus that processed foods are harmful.

Humans evolved eating unprocessed “real” foods… which retain all the nutrients and fiber found in foods in their natural state.

Most highly processed foods don’t really resemble real food at all… they consist of refined ingredients and artificial chemicals, assembled in a package that looks and tastes like food.

Processed foods are harmful for various reasons … they tend to be high in harmful ingredients like sugar, refined carbs and processed oils. At the same time, they are very low in micronutrients, fiber and antioxidants.

But what many people don’t realize is that the food industry puts a LOT of science and effort into making processed foods as “rewarding” (and addictive) as possible.

The way foods are “engineered” effectively short circuits the brain mechanisms that are supposed to regulate our appetite.

This is why people tend to eat much more than their bodies need if they base their diet around processed foods, which leads to obesity and metabolic disease.

There are also studies showing that we only burn half as many calories digesting processed compared to whole foods, so people who eat mostly processed foods will burn fewer calories throughout the da.

Bottom Line: Whole foods are much healthier than processed foods, which tend to be low in nutrients, high in harmful ingredients and designed to drive over-consumption.



3. Getting Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids is Important

Humans can not produce polyunsaturated Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

However, they are needed for optimal function of the body and are therefore termed the “essential” fatty acids.

There is actually quite a bit of controversy regarding polyunsaturated fats… but most of it revolves around Omega-6 fats.

The other kind, Omega-3, is actually not controversial at all. Pretty much everyone agrees that it is needed and that most people aren’t getting enough.

Omega-3 fatty acids are required for various purposes. They are structural molecules in cell membranes, especially in the brain.

Omega-3 consumption is linked to improved neurological health… including improved intelligence, reduced depression and a lower risk of dementia.

But they also play critical roles in other cellular processes, such as inflammation, immunity and blood clotting.

The modern diet is low in Omega-3, but extremely high in Omega-6. This is a terrible combination… because eating a lot of Omega-6 actually increases the need for Omega-3.

The best way to get enough Omega-3s is to eat fatty fish and grass-fed/pastured animal foods. If that is not an option, taking an Omega-3 supplement like fish oil is important.

Omega-3s are also found in some plant foods, including flax seeds and chia seeds. However, the Omega-3s in plants are not nearly as potent as the Omega-3s in animal foods.

Bottom Line: Omega-3 fatty acids are very important. They function as structural molecules in the brain and play key roles in important cellular processes.

4. Added Sugar is Unhealthy

Added sugars, like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, are harmful.

People mainly disagree on how harmful and why they cause harm.

Some think they are chronic metabolic toxins while others think they’re merely a source of empty calories.

But pretty much everyone agrees that, at the very least, most people are eating too much sugar and would be better off eating healthier foods instead.

Right now, Americans are eating about 70 pounds (32 kg) of sugar per year, and within those averages many people are eating a 100 pounds or more.

There is mounting evidence that sugar may be partly responsible for the worldwide pandemics of chronic, Western diseases.

However, keep in mind that most people aren’t deliberately eating this much sugar. They’re getting a lot of it from conventional foods that have sugar added to them.

The best way to avoid added sugar is to read labels and familiarize yourself with the many names they use (such as corn syrup, evaporated cane juice and more) for sugar.

Bottom Line: Most experts agree that sugar is harmful and that people are eating too much of it. There is mounting evidence that sugar may be partly responsible for many chronic, Western diseases.

5. Green Tea is a Healthy Beverage

Although coffee is controversial, most people agree that green tea is healthy.

It is very rich in powerful antioxidants, including a bioactive compound called EGCG.

Many studies show that the people who drink the most green tea have a lower risk of serious diseases like heart disease and cancer.

There is also evidence that the bioactive compounds in green tea can boost metabolism and increase fat burning.

Green tea also contains certain amino acids that may help improve concentration and brain function.

Overall, green tea is a super healthy beverage that has been intensively studied, with almost every single study on it showing impressive health benefits.

Bottom Line: Although coffee and caffeine in general are controversial, most people agree that green tea is healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants and has led to major health benefits in many studies.

6. Refined Carbohydrates Should be Minimized

Some think the majority of our calories should come from carbs, others that they are completely unnecessary and may even cause harm.

But even the most extreme low-carbers agree that unprocessed carb sources are, at the very least, less bad than their refined counterparts.

Refined grains, for example, have had the bran and germ removed from the seed. These parts contain the most nutrients, but they also have fiber that mitigates the blood sugar raising effect of the carbs.

When you remove the fiber, the carbs spike blood sugar and insulin rapidly. This leads to a subsequent drop in blood sugar, making people crave another high carb snack. This is one of the ways that refined carbs stimulate overeating.

There are numerous studies showing that consumption of refined carbohydrates is linked to obesity and many Western diseases.

If you’re going to eat carbs, stick to unprocessed sources that include fiber.

Bottom Line: Although carbs are controversial, almost everyone agrees that whole, unrefined sources are much healthier than their refined counterparts.

7. Vegetables Are Healthy Foods

Vegetables are healthy … pretty much everyone agrees on that.

They are the default “health foods.”

Vegetables are among the most nutritious foods in existence, calorie for calorie.

They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and thousands of trace nutrients that science is just beginning to uncover.

Numerous studies show that eating plenty of vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of almost every chronic disease.

Vegetables are also among the most weight loss friendly foods. They have a low energy density, lots of fiber and make people feel full with a low amount of calories.

Bottom Line: Vegetables are low in calories, but very high in micronutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Many studies show that vegetable consumption is associated with good health.

The composition of whole foods is incredibly complex.

They contain way more than just the standard vitamins and minerals that we’re all familiar with.

Whole foods contain hundreds, if not thousands, of various trace nutrients… many of which have powerful health benefits.

Science has yet to uncover many of these nutrients and modern nutritional supplements are far from being able to replicate all the nutrients found in foods.

Although many nutritional supplements can have impressive benefits, most experts agree that they are not able to compensate for an unhealthy diet.

For optimal nutrition, the foods you choose to eat are by far the most important.

So… take care of your diet first, then add supplements to optimize (if applicable).

Bottom Line: Whole foods are incredibly complex and contain thousands of trace nutrients, many of which science has yet to uncover. No amount of supplements can replace all the nutrients found in whole foods.

9. Olive Oil is Super Healthy

Olive oil is the default healthy fat.

It is part of the Mediterranean diet and has been a dietary staple for some of the world’s healthiest populations.

However, getting the right kind of olive oil can be tricky these days.

It is critical to choose extra virgin olive oil from a reputable seller, because many of the lower quality versions have been refined and diluted with cheaper oils.

Quality extra virgin olive oil is very high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and loaded with powerful antioxidants.

Many studies have shown that it has various benefits for metabolic health.

It also contains anti-inflammatory compounds and the antioxidants in it have been shown to help fight various steps in the heart disease process.

All things considered, quality extra virgin olive oil may just be the healthiest fat on the planet.

Bottom Line: Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and loaded with powerful bioactive antioxidants, many of which have anti-inflammatory effects and protect against heart disease.

10. Optimal Health Goes Beyond Just Nutrition

Nutrition is important… but it’s still just one part of a bigger picture.

There are other aspects of life that can be just as important when it comes to feeling good, living long and avoiding disease.

Exercise is a big one. Although it seems to be mostly ineffective for losing weight, it has incredible benefits for mental well being and metabolic health.

Other lifestyle factors, that unfortunately are often ignored, are sleep and stress levels.

If you don’t exercise, are overstressed and chronically under rested, then you won’t be even close to optimally healthy… no matter how good your diet is.

Bottom Line: There are many aspects besides nutrition that are just as important for overall health. This includes exercise, managing stress levels and getting adequate sleep.

11. The Best Diet (or “Way of Eating”) For YOU is The One You Can Stick To

There is a lot of debate about the different diets.

There are the paleo folks, the low-carbers, the vegans, the balanced diet folks and everything in between.

But the truth is … all of these approaches can work.

The problem is not which diet (or way of eating) is “best,” the key is finding something that is sustainable for each individual.

Losing weight and improving health is a marathon, not a race.

What matters in the long run is finding something that is healthy, that you like and can live with for the rest of your life.


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One Need No One Can Afford to Ignore

February 18, 2014 

What do you really need if you want to lead a successful life? It seems odd in hindsight, but for a very long time no one seriously asked this question. Life was divided into traditional compartments – work, family, religion – that hadn’t changed for centuries. A breakthrough came when the psychologist Abraham Maslow offered a new model that put basic needs first and worked up the ladder toward higher needs. Thus feeling safe and secure was a basic need, while art, imagination, and God came later.

This “hierarchy of needs” has had a huge impact, and it suits common sense. A successful life requires a solid foundation to be secure. Yet life keeps changing, and I think there is now one need that supersedes all others. Without it, money and family won’t make up for the lack. A prominent career and professional status will be undermined. The very possibility of leading a happy life is jeopardized.

This one need is the need for self-care.

The accumulated knowledge of medicine, psychology, and longevity studies agree about this. Each of us has the potential to avoid disease, retard aging, and achieve a higher state of well-being if we pay attention to self-care. A new horizon has opened that millions of people aren’t fully aware of. They continue to hold on to old worn out notions that deprive them of power over their futures. These notions include the following:

1. Doctors exist to keep you well.

2. Old age is a state of decline.

3. Money solves most problems, and the more, the better.

4. Everyone has inner demons. It’s better to keep quiet about them.

5. What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

6. Life is unfair and bad things happen randomly.

7. Genes cause everything, and there’s nothing you can do about your genes.

Without examining these notions in detail, they are all contradicted by self-care.

1. Wellness is each person’s responsibility.

2. Old age reflects your beliefs about it. Positive beliefs lead to a positive old age.

3. Money provides for basic needs. After that, there’s no correlation between more money and happiness.

4. Facing your personal issues has a huge impact on how healthy you will be in the future.

5. What you don’t know gets repressed and creates emotional and physical difficulties. Your cells metabolize everything that happens to you.

6. Life matches your conception of it. The mind shapes how events turn out, not vice versa.

7. Genes are fluid and dynamic, responding at every moment to your inner and outer world.

The import of this list is that you have the power to create your personal reality, which is what self-care is ultimately about. We are badly in need of a new model for well-being. Decades of public information about prevention has made headway, but the whole subject feels less than urgent to most people. Whatever they think is good for them, most people segment their lives into work, leisure, and family. Little time is left for self-care. Yet caring for yourself today is exactly what determines your life for decades to come.
A new model of self-care would include the following:

– Making happiness a high priority.

– Making sure your life has purpose and meaning.

– Living according to a higher vision.

– Expanding your awareness in every decade of life.

– Devoting time and attention to personal growth.

– Paying attention to the fate of the planet.

– Following at least the minimal regimen of good diet and physical activity.

– Allowing the brain to reset by introducing down time several times a day.

– Getting to know your inner world through meditation, contemplation, and self-reflection.

– Practicing gratitude and appreciation.

– Learning how to love and be loved.

As you can see, self-care goes far beyond eating our vegetables and signing up for the gym. It amounts to a new model for success and happiness, a model that abundant evidence supports. Right now, the existing models feel very dead end. Consumerism is a ticking time bomb; “work hard and play hard” leads to exhaustion and eventual physical debility. Postponing happiness until you retire wastes decades of life. “Looking out for number one” deadens the soul.

So give a thought to self-care as the one need you can’t afford to ignore. It’s a simple concept that can change how you live tomorrow and every day after that.

Deepak Chopra, MD, Founder of The Chopra Foundation, Co-Founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, coauthor of Super Brain with Rudolph Tanzi and for more information visit The Universe Within. 


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Making Better Food Choices – Eat Real Non-Altered Foods

Richard Smith Cedar Rapids Alternative Energy Examiner   December 30, 2013

Do you find yourself feeling off after eating what you thought was a healthy meal could the fresh veggies be GMO produced product? Our aim should be to eat real, non- altered foods, especially when on any kind of budget, reported Danielle Braff, a Chicago Tribune reporter.

Braff interviewed Mira and Jayson Calton, co-authors of “Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS),” to share their thoughts about the importance of eating real, non-altered foods. Why are genetically modified organisms (GMOs’) bad for us? Companies are taking an ordinary tomato and sticking the DNA of a fish into the tomato to make it grow better. They are turning off and on genes in a food, reported Dr. Calton. Numerous short-term studies have been done and so far, across the board, the results do not look good. Unfortunately, no long-term studies have been completed.

How do we figure out what foods have been genetically modified? Below is a list of GMO altered produce:

– Soy

– Corn

– Canola

– 55 percent of sugar

– Papaya

– Zucchini

– Tomatoes

– Squash

If you are on a budget and can’t afford to buy organic foods, you can still eat healthy by purchasing the following conventionally grown produce known as the fab 14:

– Onions

– Pineapple

– Avocado

– Cabbage

– Asparagus

– Mango

– Kiwi

– Cantaloupe

– Sweet potatoes

– Grapefruit

– Watermelon

– Eggplant

– Sweet peas – Mushrooms

 

plu

One note of caution: Not everything at your local farmers market is organic. Mira Calton stated, “Ask the farmers if they plant genetically modified seeds…If a farmer doesn’t know what GMOs’ mean, then turn and run.” Make sure you know your PLU numbers. Conventional produce carries a 4-digit PLU label. Organic produce have a five-digit beginning with the number 9. By all means avoid five-digit PLUs starting with the number 8, which typically means the item is a GMO.

Yes, it will take some time to get use to this system, but start slow and before you know it you will be a pro at picking out healthy produce without spending a lot of money!

Article found in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, August 24th, 2013 edition, page 2C.

Please note that this article is intended as a reference article only. It is not a medical article. The information provided is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may be provided by your doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, I urge you to seek competent, medical help.


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U.S. top court asks if Coca-Cola juice label is misleading

By Diane Bartz      WASHINGTON Mon Apr 21, 2014

(Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court justices grilled a lawyer for Coca-Cola Co on Monday, asking why a juice label touting the presence of pomegranates and blueberries should not be considered misleading if the drink contained just a trace of the fruits.

Coca-Cola argued that it could not be sued over the labeling of one of its Minute Maid juice products because the label complies with rules of the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees some aspects of labeling for processed foods and drinks.

POM Wonderful, which makes a product that is 100 percent pomegranate juice, had filed suit against Coca-Cola, claiming the Minute Maid juice label was misleading and would hurt sales for its own product.

The Minute Maid juice is sold as a “Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices.” It is mostly apple and grape juice with just 0.3 percent pomegranate juice and 0.2 percent blueberry juice, according to a POM court filing.

Attorney Kathleen Sullivan, who argued for Coca-Cola, said the company could not be sued by POM for being “misleading” under the Lanham Act, which is designed to protect trademarks.

Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to disagree: “I don’t know why it’s impossible to have a label that fully complies with the FDA regulations and also happens to be misleading on the entirely different question of commercial competition, consumer confusion that has nothing to do with health.”

Pomegranate and blueberries are popular with health-conscious Americans because they contain antioxidants that some believe prevent cancer and heart disease, although the science behind that belief is unclear.

juicelabel

The question of whether the labeling is misleading drew sharp questions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “I think it’s relevant for us to ask whether people are cheated in buying this product.”

Sullivan said consumers were sophisticated enough to know that when they see a food label containing the word “flavored” that other juices would be in the bottle.

Justice Anthony Kennedy shot back: “Don’t make me feel bad because I thought that was pomegranate juice.”

Kennedy also raised the question of “whether people are cheated in buying this product.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreed with Kennedy, saying: “You’re permitted to use this name under their (FDA) regulations. But why are you permitted to use it in a misleading way?”

Sullivan took exception to the justices’ statements. “Coke’s label is as a matter of law not misleading,” she said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, addressing a related issue, argued that the FDA has a huge job.

“Labels for juices are not really high on its list. It has very limited resources. You are asking us to take what it has said about juice as blessing (on) this label,” she said.

Kennedy agreed: “It is doubtful that FDA has sufficient resources to police food and beverage labeling.”

In a parallel fight, the Federal Trade Commission has accused POM of making health claims for its juices that the company cannot substantiate. POM is appealing.

Shares of Coca-Cola closed at $40.75, up 0.07 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

The case at the Supreme Court is POM Wonderful LLC v. The Coca-Cola Company, No. 12-761.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Ros Krasny and Leslie Adler)

source: Reuters


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10 Ways To Be Happier at Work

Take control, fight little hassles, get fair pay, receive feedback and more…

Lists of how to be happy at work often implicitly blame workers themselves.

If you’re not happy, they imply, it’s because you’re not prioritising properly or you need to smile more, or some other trite rubbish.

Don’t accept this: organisations are mostly to blame for unhappy employees.

Psychological research has shown what makes people unhappy at work, and it’s not lack of smiling.

Here are ten factors truly associated with being happy at work.

1. Get control

Psychologists have consistently found that people who work in jobs where they have little control find their work very stressful and consequently unsatisfying.

The more control people perceive in how they carry out their job, the more satisfaction they experience.

Look for ways of taking control of your job.

Even exerting relatively small amounts of control can make you feel happier with your work

2. Fight little hassles

Coffee machine doesn’t work? That same information needs to be put into two forms?

People’s job satisfaction is surprisingly sensitive to daily hassles.

Those little hassles all add up.

People don’t mind working hard when the task is difficult, but when it seems like a pointless inconvenience, they get unhappy. Quickly.

Talk to your manager about getting rid of these little hassles.

Also, build a consensus with your colleagues that the little hassles are worth addressing.

3. Fair pay

The bigger the difference between what you think you should earn and what you do earn, the less happy you’ll be.

The question is, who do you compare yourself to: the other people in the office or other people with your job?

Both comparisons will likely affect how happy you are with your job.

It’s perceptions that are very important here, along with the absolute levels of pay.

You may be able to live with small differences, but big disparities tend to eat away at you.

If this is the case, it could be time to move on.

4. Address family problems

Having a child may be wonderful, but it’s also very stressful.

According to a study of almost 10,000 people in the UK, those who had children became significantly less satisfied with their jobs afterwards (Georgellis et al., 2012).

Professor Georgellis explained:

    “People are less happy at work for up to five years after their first baby is born, though the effect seems to be stronger for women, especially those in the public sector.”

It’s a reminder that outside events affect how happy people are with their jobs, not just aspects of their jobs.

Are you sure it’s really your job that is getting you down? Perhaps there is a situation at home that needs dealing with.

5. Feeling of achievement

To feel happy in their jobs, people have to feel they are making some progress.

In some jobs achievement is obvious, but in others it’s not.

As smaller cogs in larger machines, it may be difficult to tell what we’re contributing.

That’s why the next factor can be so important…

6. Feedback

When it comes to job satisfaction, no news is bad news.

Getting negative feedback can be painful, but at least it tells you where improvements can be made.

On the other hand, positive feedback can make all the difference to how satisfied people feel.

If you’re not getting feedback, then ask for it.

The right feedback can help satisfy the need for achievement.

7. Seek complexity and variety

People generally find jobs more satisfying if they are more complex and offer more variety.

People seem to like complex (but not impossible) jobs, perhaps because it pushes them more.

Too easy and people get bored.

This won’t be possible for all employees, but look for ways to add complexity and variety to your job.

You might think more complex work is best avoided, but the challenge will likely make you happier.

8. Ask for support

Workers often complain that the big bosses communicate little about the overall direction of the company.

People want to know their organisation cares about them, that they are getting something back for what they are putting in.

We get this message from how the boss treats us, the kinds of fringe benefits we get and other subtle messages.

If people perceive more organisational support, they are happier with their job.

If this area is lacking, try asking your manager for more information and support, and point out why it is needed.

9. Honeymoons and hangovers

People experience honeymoon periods after a month or two in a new job when their satisfaction shoots up.

But then it normally begins to tail off after six months or so.

The honeymoon period at the start of a new job tends to be stronger when people are particularly dissatisfied with their previous job (Boswell et al., 2009).

But what about when the honeymoon period is long gone and you’ve entered a long hangover?

Sometimes the only way to be happier at work is to find new work.

10. Happy in life, happy at work

People who are generally happy find it easier to find happiness at work.

That’s according to an analysis of 223 studies on the connection between job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Bowling et al., 2010).

Lead author, Nathan Bowling said:

    “…if people are, or are predisposed to be, happy and satisfied in life generally, then they will be likely to be happy and satisfied in their work.

However, the flipside of this finding could be that those people who are dissatisfied generally and who seek happiness through their work, may not find job satisfaction.

Nor might they increase their levels of overall happiness by pursuing it.”

This is worth remembering for those people who never seem to be happy with whatever job they are doing.

Sometimes the kind of happiness you are looking for cannot be achieved through work.

source: Psyblog