Tony shares his takeaways from Mark Travers, Ph.D. article from Psychologytoday.com “3 Happiness Tips From This Year’s World Happiness Report.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/202104/3-happiness-tips-years-world-happiness-report?collection=1160830Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/
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[00:00:00] So almost thirty one years ago, shortly after my wife and I were married, we moved into the Clover Land Apartments in Murray, Utah, and I remember the big debate was where we willing to pay more than three hundred dollars a month in rent. We had found a few apartments and other areas of Salt Lake for I don't I remember it was around two hundred and fifty or two hundred sixty dollars a month, but these were in a slightly nicer area than we anticipated. And I believe that we found a middle floor of this three storey apartment complex and we signed up three hundred and ten dollars a month. And I wasn't quite the ultra marathon runner that I eventually became, but I did get out running on a fairly regular basis. And there was a bank near our apartment. I don't remember what branch or what the name of the bank was, but I remember running past the bank on the way out when I would leave the apartment for a run and then I would circle back around on the way back, sometimes doing multiple laps around the bank. And over time, I know that I would waste hours and hours and miles and miles of dreaming, of finding money in the bushes and the trees near the bank and wondering if maybe money just blew out of people's hands or perhaps somebody fell and they dropped stacks of money.
[00:01:06] And over the year or two that we live there, I found exactly zero dollars and no sense running by the bank. And it was years and even decades later when I heard stories like this one. And these stories are out there. This one is from Runners WorldCom. It's titled When Running Pays Off Craig Davidson. Sixty for Phenix recently passed two unusual milestones. The first is an epic run streak, 40 consecutive years of daily running, which he hit on November 4th. And during that streak, he covered two hundred and seven thousand four hundred and twelve miles, more than double that of some cars. He currently ranks 20th on the list of active U.S. streakers maintained by the United States running streak association. And if you're like me, I think streaker of something other than people that have a running streak. But then the article goes on to say, A few days later, on November 13th, he picked up 47 cents to put him over the ten thousand dollar mark for money found on his runs. He's discovered at least one penny every day on his run since April of nineteen eighty three.
[00:02:02] More than thirty five years of finding cash on the go. Does he consider his run incomplete if he doesn't find money? The interviewer asked why it hasn't happened yet. He told Runner's World that day may eventually come. I'm always looking down so I don't trip and fall anywhere. I don't go searching for the money, but it's out there on the ground. Davidson doesn't make a point of seeking loose change, but he said intersections can be fertile ground for spotting a few coins, convenience stores or gas stations by the driveways, he said. They're so hit or miss, sometimes you find it the most unlikely places. Over the years, he's found three one hundred dollar bills, plus a fifty dollar gold coin. The sheer number of miles he logs increases his odds of cashing out. He typically runs five miles every weekday morning, thirteen on Saturdays and Sundays, getting up early to beat the desert heat. He has treasured a running group and friends. He's been meeting for morning runs for thirty five years. They joked to newcomers, watch out for Craig, who makes frequent incidents. Not so quick. Find ten grand. But for about twenty years I ran for.
[00:02:58] We weekend, so it was with.
[00:03:02] This is my home because
[00:03:04] My I was pretty sure to set aside.
[00:03:10] On this one, I saw multiple bills just lying on the asphalt, and as I approached them, I thought, this is it drug heist gone bad or did the bad guys throw the money out of the window as they were evading the cops? Would this be enough to start a savings account for my kids at that time or pay for some equipment to possibly start a podcast? Or can I finally get those hair plugs that I've been dreaming of? I'm kidding about that part. Although the days. Right. Seriously, maybe thought about the hair plugs weren't this far in my rearview mirror, as I would like to think. But I approached the bills on the ground. I bent down to see what my haul would be. There was not just one or two, but there were three one dollar bills on the ground and a wallet. So three dollars. And I knew they were going to go right back in that wallet as I would do everything I could to find the owner. And that turned out to be pretty easy. The driver's license was in the wallet and it turned out to be a high school kid that my friends knew. And I just asked them to reach out to the kid and return the wallet. And just for fun, I threw twenty in the wallet because I thought it might be funny for the guy to lose his wallet and to not only be surprised and relieved that somebody returned it, but also to be equally surprised that it contained more money than maybe he remembered that it did actually never heard if he was surprised or even noticed the extra 20 bucks.
[00:04:18] But where Craig Davidson is up 10 grand, I'm actually down twenty dollars in over two decades plus of running. One more quick story. On another occasion, I was in Tokyo on a business trip with a couple of colleagues and one of them left their laptop computer in a Japanese sandwich shop. And they remembered it a couple of hours later. And I remember we all panicked and we retrace our steps. So we made it back to the shop and there it was in the booth with new people sitting by it, just eating sandwiches. And my Japanese business partner, Yoshida san, promised us the entire journey back that it would be there. And he said at that time that he felt sad, that he didn't feel the same would be said if we had left that laptop sitting in a city in our own country. So today, I want to talk about an article by Dr Mark Travers from Psychology Today called Three Happiness Tips from this year's World Happiness Report. I don't even know if you knew there was a World Happiness report. And we have a list coming up with the three tips that I believe speaks to so many of the concepts that I really enjoy talking about, both in therapy here on the couch and as well as on the podcast.
[00:05:17] So stay tuned to see if there are areas in your life that you can adjust or tweak or even just start to be aware of that add a little more happiness to your life. One of them has to do with finding a wallet. Or do you feel like you could trust that if you lost your wallet that it would be returned to you? There's the tie in to the intro. So we have that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. Hey, and before we dove in and I will be brief, you truly do deserve to be happy, especially with all of the things that every single one of us has been going through the last year or a year and a half. And as the stigma around addressing mental health concerns continues to erode, now is the time to find a licensed trained therapist or counselor that can help you with a variety of issues that you might be struggling with from anxiety and depression to OCD or just overall feelings of disconnect or a lack of purpose. You can head directly to Betterhelp.com virtual couch to get connected with a licensed therapist or a counselor who can meet you where you are at, meaning meet you via email or text or phone call or a video session.
[00:06:18] And you can even start speaking with somebody as soon as 48 hours. And I have to tell you, as a practicing therapist, that is invaluable right now. I get so many referrals each day that unfortunately I don't have the bandwidth to be able to help. So please don't wait another second. Go right to Betterhelp.com virtual couch. You'll get ten percent off your first month services over. Well over a million people have found success in the service of Betterhelp.com. They have sliding scale options. They have a very, very good intake process that puts you with a therapist that matches your needs and even your style. So if for any reason you don't find a fit with your therapist or counselor, Betterhelp.com slash virtual couch makes it easy to to not it's not awkward to choose another therapist. It's not it's not them to you or it's not you. It's them. However that line goes. So do yourself a favor. You deserve to get the help. You need to make you a better you to help you raise your emotional baseline and put you in a position to be a better husband, a better wife, a better mother, a better father, better a better employee, better employer. But you deserve it. Go do that right now, Betterhelp.com says virtual couch.
[00:07:22] And let's get to today's episode. Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and sixty two of the virtual couch.
[00:07:36] I'm your host, Tony over me. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mind coach. I'm recording this one life. So we're going to go where you going to go with it? Coach, coach, therapist, podcast host, father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that's helping people reclaim their life from the harmful effects of pornography. If you or anybody else that you know is looking to put that in your rearview mirror, no shame. Go to Pathbackrecovery.com. There you'll find a link to a book, five myths that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. And let's let's get the Today show. Let's do this. I'm really excited about today's. Did you know there was a World Happiness report? That was something I have heard of over the years. It's been something that has been put out yearly for quite some time. And each year, this World Happiness Report provides a comprehensive ranking of the happiest countries in the world. And for the fourth year in a row, it's kind of fascinating. I want you to think right now, what country would you assume is the happiest country in the world? Well, if you guessed Finland, you are right. And that is for the fourth year in a row, Finland earned the ranking as the world's happiest country, with Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands not far behind.
[00:08:49] And this is an article from Psychology Today. And the article, as I mentioned in the introduction, is by a Dr. Mark Travers. And so all credit to Mark Travers in putting this information together. And so but I want to do I think a long time ago I did a what I thought was a reaction video or reaction podcast. So I have read over this and I got a couple of notes jotted down. But I just want to talk about these three insights from the Happiness Report, and I've got many more thoughts on that. So so what Mark says is while there is much to be gained from a country by country comparison, another way to read the report, he says, is to look for the hidden nuggets of insight that we can use to become happier in our own lives. And here are three insights from this year's report that he said should not be overlooked. So just as I talked about in the intro, he said, Incyte, No. One benevolence matters more to happiness than salary. Now, benevolence, what are we talking about? He says the data clearly shows that people are happier in societies where there's a high degree of trust between people. And one way we know this is from a hypothetical benevolence question included and the World Happiness Report. And I would love for you, just to be honest with yourself here, just check yourself internally.
[00:10:00] And I actually had a session recently where someone had been sent to things from a giant large retail organization to expensive things. So the company had accidentally sent them a second thing. And we had a we had a kind of an interesting conversation during the session about what they wanted to do with that second thing. Now, some would immediately say send it back. Others would say, well, the owner of this company is worth billions and billions of dollars and what do they care? And so, you know, everybody has their own experiences or their own interpretations of what they would do. And what might seem crazy to one might seem completely in right in line for another person. So what would you do in this scenario and this hypothetical benevolence question? So the question reads, imagine that you lost a wallet or a purse that contained two hundred dollars. Please indicate how likely you think it would be to have all of your money returned to you if it was found by somebody who lives close by. And I've heard of many situations where somebody will get something returned, but it will not have money in it any longer and or people just don't get anything returned. My wife and I were in Salt Lake City over the weekend, which that was a story I was going to talk about. And just briefly, I was able to go speak at the Generations Utah Mental Health Association conference on the gun, the topic of I believe it was called spiritual trauma or faith journey, faith, crisis and mental health and evolving conversation.
[00:11:25] And it was it was an amazing opportunity. It was an amazing time. I hope to be able to have access to that presentation and and be able to host or post some highlights from that at some point. But if you're a medical mental health professional and you work in that world of faith journey or faith crisis or that sort of thing, shoot me a note at Contact@tonyoverbay.com and I can maybe share some of those notes with you. But we were talking about a situation where there with my mother in law having an amazing time and we were talking about a situation where my wife had left, I think it was her purse somewhere and just someone had just returned it very kindly had contacted her. My wife tried to give them a reward. The person said no. They were just happy that she was able to get her property back. And we were having a great conversation because she said that she you know, this is a while ago and she she felt bad. But just the way the person looked, I mean, we make judgments. We try not to judge when we make judgments. We're we're kind of program that way. And she just said, man, I just I would not have made the assumption or assume that this person would have contacted me, gone through all the trouble to contact me and then give it back.
[00:12:29] And the wallet was still intact and everything was there, so. But but again, imagine that you lost a wallet or purse that contained two hundred dollars. How likely do you think you would be that you would get all that money returned to you if it was found by somebody that lives close by or even think about that situation where if you found the purse or the wallet and it had two hundred dollars, would you take the two hundred dollars and say, hey, I just found it here without money, but here you go. Or would you just take the money and not even worry about it at all? Or would you, would you leave it altogether, just walk by. Well the next person will do something with it. Or would you take that and do everything you could to return it. So people who think that their lost wallet is very likely to be returned with all the money or approximately one point happier on a zero to 10 happiness scale, and that is significant when you're talking about zero to 10. We're talking about a 10 percent bump in happiness as that represents the average happiness difference between citizens of Finland, again, ranked number one in happiness and the Czech Republic ranked 16th, or citizens of the United States that are ranked 14th and Mongolia ranked forty fifth.
[00:13:32] So another way to quantify the effect of societal benevolence on happiness is to compare it to other factors that influence happiness. So here Mark points out the researchers estimate that benevolence carries more than twice as much weight is what would be expected from doubling one's annual salary. In other words, salary matters. But living in a benevolent society matters more and quite a bit more because we often do think that, well, if I had more money, I would be happy. And I know that can sound cliched, that money doesn't buy happiness. I know there are also a lot of clever things that say doesn't buy happiness, but it buys like cool toys or I forget how the saying goes. And I remember doing an episode a long time ago that there's of course, there's data for everything and research that showed the percentage of happiness gained per dollar over a certain amount. And that threshold or that dollar was probably lower than a lot of people would think. I think it was 70, 80 grand a year. And the theory was that the more money from that point that the rate of happiness did not increase dramatically, but it actually started to level out and then go down. So he says that there is a happiness bonus when people get a chance to see the goodness of others and action and to be of service themselves, say the researchers.
[00:14:43] So we have within us one of the things that drives happiness is seeing the good in people, seeing the good in nature. We have this default to truth a lot of times is what it's called. And when we see that or when we have an opportunity to be of service ourselves. So INSIGHT number two, employment is paramount even during a pandemic. And here's what we're going to start to riff a little bit. A large body of research suggests that having a strong sense of purpose is vital to our psychological well-being. One of the core ways we derive our sense of purpose is from our jobs. So it should come as no surprise that unemployed individuals exhibit slightly or significantly, not slightly significantly lower levels of happiness and significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression than individuals with part time or full time jobs. So the research found that the life satisfaction of employed people was approximately one point two points higher on this zero to 10 life satisfaction scale. And furthermore, employment was one of the strongest determinants of life satisfaction during the pandemic. The recent the pandemic, in some cases, countries that were more effective in keeping their citizens working, especially their low skilled workers, showed more psychological resilience through the pandemic. So I want to riff on this one before we get into INSIGHT number three.
[00:15:56] So a few different thoughts. When we talk about employment, I think that we need to even look at what does that mean by employment? In my opinion, if someone is a stay at home mom, that that that is absolutely viewed as their job. So if they are finding a sense of purpose in that job, then that would come, I believe is one of those indicators of a higher level of happiness if they find a sense of purpose. Now, not to sound like this is a big controversial take, but I still remember one of the first clients I met with years and years ago who was a stay at home mom, but that wasn't what she really wanted to do. And she felt bad about that. Her kind of her society, her family pressures her. The people that she spent the most time with, they put a significant value on her as a is women who stay at home mothers. And I have to tell you, I grew up with the stay at home mom. My wife has been a stay at home mom. I have so much empathy and compassion and gratitude for the plight of the stay at home mom. But I remember when this woman said, I know I shouldn't want to work outside of the home. And I even remember then when I didn't have all my don't show it on yourself skills that I remember thinking, well, why why shouldn't you want to do that? If that's something you want to do, then let's talk about that.
[00:17:09] Let's explore that. And this was in the initial days of where I was putting together data on my emotional baseline theory, which again is that you the higher you can get your emotional baseline, the better position you are in to be a better fill in the blank mother, husband, wife, employer, employee, person, servant, whatever that is that when you. You feel like your emotional baseline is low, it is more difficult to be present or stay engaged, and the more work that I've done with acceptance and commitment therapy, now these these principles come into play that are just truly amazing, the principle of socially compliant goal. If I am actually staying at home, let's take the stay at home mom. If I'm a stay at home mom and I'm doing it because I think I'm supposed to or I will let someone else down, then by definition that fits into this category of a socially compliant goal. And as Dr. Steven Hayes, founder of says, your motivation will be weak and ineffective because that goes against your own process of unfolding, which means that if you if you want and desire to be a stay at home mom, then then, man, embrace it and own it and you will find that sense of purpose. But if you feel because of all of your experiences that have led to that point in your life, your nature and nurture and birth order, DNA and abandonment, rejection and hopes and dreams and all the things that you saw modeled, if that puts you in a spot where you feel like, no, I want to I want to have these values of, I don't know, adventure, knowledge or whatever they are that you feel like I want to have a career, but then you are a stay at home mom because you feel like you're supposed to, then that can be difficult.
[00:18:43] I'm not saying it can't be done, but that can be difficult, because when you start living life by a socially compliant goal and again, going back to that, by definition, motivation is weak and ineffective because it goes against your sense of self or unfolding, then that leads to another one of the parts of acceptance and commitment therapy that I find fascinating is this concept of experiential avoidance, which means that when you don't really feel connected or have a sense of purpose, instead what we do is we find so many different ways to avoid so many different ways to just occupy our mind with other things, because we don't necessarily feel like a sense of purpose or engaged in the thing that we're doing. Again, in this scenario, we're talking about if someone truly doesn't feel at their core like they want to be a stay at home mom or what I work with constantly, I want to say all the time, but I don't want to do all or nothing.
[00:19:30] Statements are people that are underemployed or they are they are they feel like stuck in a job. They've got the golden handcuffs or they feel like it is just not what they want to be doing. So their entire job, their nine to five or sometimes even more, they are living in a socially compliant world on a day to day basis. So they're doing a job. They don't find a sense of purpose. And so in doing so, they are consistently, experientially avoiding looking for anything other than what they feel that they need to be doing or they're supposed to be doing by nature of what their job is. And then what that leads to is they typically get to the early afternoon or that sort of thing. And at that point, it's like, you know, I'll I'll do this tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow I'm going to I'm going to kill it. But for now, I'm going to spend a little more time on the Internet or play another game or on social media. That's experiential avoidance. When somebody is living a sense of purpose, when they are just loving their day to day their job, taking care of their kids, studying, learning, whatever it is, if they are if they are really living true to their values, then you don't want to experience a void.
[00:20:35] And I can tell you, I have been there, literally been there. I spent a decade in high tech and I just thought, this is this what I do? But I didn't find high tech is my passion. I mean, I love going to Japan, some of those kind of things and going to trade shows. And I presented all over the world. I love the part where I got the present. I got to speak and get excited about things. But those negotiations in that day to day and meeting with other tech people, that that was not my sense of purpose, which then would would definitely lead to experiential avoidance, where it was just trying to drag out a day to get to the end of the day. And but tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm on it. Tomorrow I'll do I'll do better. Or if it was, I always make the joke that if it's it's why we make it the Wednesday and you still haven't really accomplished a lot now Monday, you know, just like we do with diet or exercise or you can't start in the middle of the week. But Monday, that's a new day. And all of a sudden, if it's the 16th of the month and it's like next month, I'm on it, or if it's the month of July, then it's next year, I'm going to kill it next year.
[00:21:31] So that concept of experimental avoidance is just so it's almost ingrained in us because we really want to, as this happiness report talks about, we want a sense of purpose. That's one of the biggest drivers of happiness. But sometimes we don't even know where to start or we feel stuck in our jobs. There are people that I work with on a regular basis that they're they're paid pretty well. And so they feel like, well, I put myself in this position where what am I supposed to do now? That's a whole other podcast for a different day. Because if you really do feel stuck, well, then we need to identify your core values and try to work them into the job that you're in now and have some really cool examples of that. That sound like I've purely made them up examples of people that have had some value of of a connection or of kindness, and they've been able to implement that into the workplace by starting new programs, even within a large corporate environment that really give them that sense of purpose. So that, number two, employment is paramount even during a pandemic can mean anything from having a job. They. You don't necessarily feel a sense of purpose or connected to or if you feel like the things that you're doing on any given day to day situation, don't really speak to your core values that in that scenario, then you are looking for just ways to make it through a day, not ways to thrive during the day.
[00:22:51] OK, insight number three. This one has a list. So I'm going to I'm going to bust through this one pretty quick. But inside number three, he says a pandemic may change the way we work, but it doesn't change what makes us happy in our jobs. So the researchers investigated what makes people happy at work. And specifically, they looked at the extent to which the workplace happiness was defined by the following 11 characteristics. So I'm going to go through these. I'm going to throw some nice, good old therapeutic principles. And I will tell you, I can already anticipate that they are all pretty much all going to be based on acceptance and commitment therapy principles or maybe even some four pillars of a connected conversation principle. So the 11 characteristics, number one, feeling like we achieve our goals at work. And I think that this one speaks back to that sense of purpose. And so talk about goals. And I've been working with a buddy of mine, Neal Hooper, who has an online program. He has a podcast, The Happiness Playbook. And Neal and I have been doing a lot of work around the concept of goals. I am fine. I am a fan of goals, don't get me wrong. But I feel like so often we're we're putting these goals in front of us that we really don't find a real passion behind or we don't find real purpose behind.
[00:24:01] So we may put a goal. And this is where I talk often about the acceptance and commitment therapy view of a New Year's resolution. So if somebody says I have a goal to run a marathon, but at their core, they they hate running, they don't want to run, then that is going to be one of these socially compliant goals. They put this goal in front of him. That isn't something they really even believe in. Now, if their goal is to exercise daily now, that's a goal that is a little bit more tangible or easy to achieve because that can mean anything. That can be push ups, sit ups. That can mean weightlifting. It can mean an elliptical trainer, a rower running. It can be anything. So feeling like we achieve our goals at work is one of these characteristics that's key to finding happiness. So I would challenge that. Are you going after goals that you truly believe in or that matter to you? If not, your motivation is going to be weak for those. So in the work that Neil and I have been doing, in particular, we have been looking at setting Value-Based goals. That's absolutely essential. And then when and I don't want to sound so dramatic, but when not if you you may not succeed on a daily basis on achieving these goals, then what do you do with that information? You don't beat yourself up.
[00:25:12] You don't shame yourself. You kind of notice what are the things that have kept you from continuing to move toward that goal and you reevaluate and you and you get back on the horse, you're resilient. No. To having a clear sense of purpose. So I think this is what I was speaking to a little bit in that second point or that second thing. We talked about having a purpose so that clear sense of purpose is important. And how do you find that sense of purpose? Again, you are the only version of you that has ever walked the face of the earth. So you need to really be able to sit and tap into what is important for you. And I talk about this so often, but one of my favorite exercises to do with clients is to go through a list of values and to do a one on one with the client, not even to have the spouse in the room, because we find that we all have different values. And I was talking with someone recently and they have a value. One of the values on this value list that that I often refer to is it's fun and humor. Now, for some people, that isn't a value.
[00:26:11] You might enjoy a little humor, but to this person, they're funny. They enjoy humor. Humor not only can diffuse an intense situation, but they feel like it's a good way to break the ice or to communicate or to really to really connect with somebody. But because of some situations in their life right now, they realize we're going through this list and we hit that fun and humor. And that is a definite core value. And I love this point. Then they stopped and said, I don't think I'm living my values right now. So we took a look at their current work environment. And inserting humor is an area that they could do right now. They can start to insert their value based goal into their current environment. So and honestly, if you're working with me in therapy, I use a lot of humor. And I remember when I was a brand new therapist and I remember when I felt like I have to look or act like a therapist would. I remember feeling at times like, oh, I can't say that joke right now or I shouldn't use humor right now. And I remember thinking, no, I'm that's a that is such a deep core value of mine that I have to be myself. Now, if the person doesn't like that I use humor, then I also have to be able to accept that and not try to convince them that no, no, you don't get it.
[00:27:17] Like, I'm really funny, you know, or trust me, this will help. If that person doesn't connect to that style, then I need to be able to sit and be comfortable with that invalidation. And that's OK. When I was speaking at this conference over the weekend or it was Monday of this week, it was. It was so fun because I still find myself getting ready to speak and this thing was going to be broadcast worldwide streamed and there were people in the room and I'm talking about a somewhat controversial topic for some. I love talking about mixed faith, marriage and stages of faith and spiritual journeys and all of those things. But I remember I still had that really brief moment where I almost thought I couldn't be funny or I couldn't crack jokes. And instead I thought, no, that's this is who I am. And so the first thing I did was I made a joke. There's a I have to link to this at some point. But when I was promoting my free parenting course, there's a nice way to throw a plug in there. Right. You can go sign up for it. Right now, it's on my Tony Buy.com. It's a parenting positively, even in the not so positive of times. And it's based on the nurtured heart approach. And again, it's free. But I was promoting that on a local news station.
[00:28:21] Good day, Sacramento, I believe it was, and the clips out there. But right before I go on, they've got you waiting and I'm listening to the anchor and the anchors interviewing someone who they wrote a book or they were talking. It was Elmo's dad. Elmo from Sesame Street's dad is on the screen. And I forget he's talking about something awesome, like don't bully people or something. And I am here. I've got 90 seconds to promote a parenting course on TV and and I'm excited. I'm ready. And I start thinking, I didn't know Elmo had a dad. And then thinking, darn, you do not do not. When they cut, you don't say anything about Elmo's dad. Don't say anything about almost dad. You got 90 seconds to promote your parenting program. It can help people. It can. And there like now here we go to Tony Overbay and he's got a free parenting course. And my first thing out of my mouth, I don't know, Elmo had a dad. And so then 30 something seconds of my 90 second spot. We were cracking jokes about Elmo's dad, but didn't know we had a dad. And what did that do? I felt actually like I was more true to myself and I had a lot of wonderful feedback. And and if somebody decided I'm not taking that parenting course because that man made a joke about Elmo's father, then bless their heart, that's OK.
[00:29:34] But I had to be true to myself. So having a clear sense of purpose is the second characteristic of workplace happiness. The third one is feeling appreciated, and that's one where I feel like everyone wants to be heard every well. And this one goes along with number four, which is feeling a sense of belonging. So three and four, feeling a sense of purpose or feeling a sense of belonging and feeling appreciated. And so everyone wants to feel like we matter. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to know that somebody cares about us, that they have our back. Because this goes back to if you want to go deep into evolutionary biological parts of the brain where we feel like if we're not appreciated, if we feel like we don't have a sense of belonging, that we're going to be abandoned. This goes back to our deep childhood abandonment wounds. And we feel like if if people aren't if I don't feel part of this group or clan and I'm booted out, then I might be devoured by a saber tooth tiger. So we really want to feel appreciated in the sense of belonging. We want to be part of a tribe or a group which can be so difficult when we may feel like our group isn't there for us. Number five is having time and location flexibility. And again, I told you, I'm going to react a little bit.
[00:30:36] I read through this list and I decided that I would not put too many notes here because this one I was about to say I can be completely wrong. I'm just stating my opinion in the moment. But having time and location flexibility, there's a part of me that feels like this is that psychological reactance component of psychological reactance. Again, is that instant negative reaction of being told what to do. So sometimes I feel like if we're saying you need to be here at this time, our own brain at its core wants to say, no, I can do whatever I want. So I feel like maybe this one speaks of being able to have time and location. Flexibility gives us a sense of freedom and a sense of we're not chained down or we're not. If things come up that we have the freedom to be able to to float, to do what we need to do, that is best for us. Number six, working in an inclusive and respectful environment. And I think that one could probably even go back to the three in the four appreciated sense of belonging, working in an inclusive and respectful environment. We want to be heard. We want to be respected. We want to feel like we matter. We want to feel like our and our opinions are important. Or at least listen to number seven, the seven seventh characteristic of workplace happiness, learning at work.
[00:31:40] And I feel like I often this is maybe a little bit of a side tangent, but I feel like in working with people, oftentimes people say I just want to have a job where I don't have to do anything or I just do the same thing over and over. So at least I know what's expected of me. And I hear people when they say that until then you actually get somebody that's in that position where they feel like they they miss this opportunity for growth or they may be good at a repetitive task, but they want more. I mean, I have literally found this even in working with surgeons who who do the same procedures over and over. Now, for some, it's an amazing thing, but for others, they may feel like I'm not I'm not I'm not scratching that itch to learn a true story. But back in my technology days when I left technology, I actually owned part of a nut and bolt company. And it was a fascinating technology. And I traveled a lot with a business partner. And Hunan, who recently passed away and I've never talked about him, but it's been I don't know if any of his family listened to my podcast, but to give a big shout out to my my buddy Mark Doyle, who passed away recently, I really miss him. But this we would we would go tour these facilities.
[00:32:49] He's not in both facilities. And I remember going to this one at one point. And this company there was a guy there and he had a notepad on on a table for his elbow and all he was all he was doing. But what his job was, was just separating these these nuts and looking for imperfections. And he had been doing that for thirty five years, showing up every morning in this repetitive task. So for him, he loved doing that. He found a sense of purpose. He had some headphones on. But for a lot of people, you really do want to learn at work. And I found that's been one of the most wonderful things I did not anticipate about my current job when I did make the move to be a therapist is being able to continually learn to to learn the latest. I mean, I've been seeing couples for years. I've seen over a thousand couples. I love the concepts around F.T. emotionally focused therapy. But in creating this magnetic marriage course I've talked so much about recently, I, I came upon the really the depth of the the concept of differentiation. And that's been something that I've been implementing in my own life and even had experiences where I had some aha. Moments around differentiation that I probably talk about in a later episode just this past weekend and interacting with some extended family.
[00:33:59] So I feel like, you know, in this 11 characteristics of workplace happiness, learning at work is significant. Number eight, having a manager who helps us succeed. And I feel like we can start to get this pattern going of where we want to, having a manager who helps us succeed. We want to be heard. We want to know that we matter. We would know that our opinions matter. And I've used my four pillars of a connected conversation, even in doing some corporate training, where even if the manager maybe disagrees with what the employee is suggesting, that it's still important to recognize that my four pillars, that that person is not saying something to hurt anyone, you can't immediately put out the message of you're wrong and pillar three, ask questions before making comments. So if somebody says at work, I really feel like it would be great if we did something different. I guarantee you that having a manager that says, OK, even if it's something that that manager feels attacked on, that they know that that person didn't wake up in the morning and think, oh, I'll let my manager have it today and tell him I think this is what we could do better or this is what we're doing wrong. But no, to kind of say, OK, they are not trying to hurt me. And number two, I can't say that's ridiculous or I'm going to shut that person down.
[00:35:07] They're not going to feel like they can open up to us or be their best selves. So even as a manager in that situation, not saying that's ridiculous, but moving into my pillar, three questions and comments and saying, hey, tell me more, maybe help me see my blind spots or tell me where you came up with that idea or what you're sharing with me right now. And then pillar four is staying present. So that manager in that situation can't go into victim mode and say, OK, fine, I guess I guess you can just do whatever the heck you want. And it doesn't matter that I'm your manager now. It's going into victim mode that's wanting that person to now come rescue you. So I even feel like having a manager who helps us succeed falls into this, having trying to figure out how to how to have a connected conversation with somebody at work, number nine, being paid fairly. That one, I think somewhat speaks for itself. I think there's also we we all want to we are doing comparisons. We we're comparing ourselves to others in our group or tribe because we feel like if for some reason that we are less than that, that we may eventually be on our way out from the group, that we might be abandoned. And as I've talked about in many, many podcasts, and if I had more time, I would do it right now.
[00:36:11] But my my big favorite abandonment and attachment speech. But as we move into adulthood, we have to recognize what an abandonment wound looks like, that when people don't respond the way we would like for them to say, let's say that if we aren't being paid fairly, then we immediately go into the what's wrong with me might not as valuable. Am I not lovable who may not in my broken and but but so that being paid fairly, I think speaks on a lot of different levels to success in the feeling, happiness in the workplace. No one is feeling supported. I think that's that part where again we all want to know that we, we are cared about that we matter that maybe I'm going a little overboard with the EFT principle here, but that we're loved, that we're supported in the workplace, that we know that someone will hear us, that they will listen to us, that we won't be shut down or manipulated. And no one is trusting our colleagues. And that's that's the eleventh characteristic of workplace happiness, trusting our colleagues, because we want to be able to know that we are in a supportive environment, that we're not we don't have to be as protective, that we can be more open, that we can be more radiant with our energy, and that we can express ourselves and know that our colleagues or or we can trust them and that we know that they they are not going to take advantage of us, that that is a workplace happiness que for sure.
[00:37:26] So wrapping things up, they found in the top four drivers of workplace happiness where belonging flexibility in. Elusiveness and purpose and interestingly, he says, having a helpful manager was the characteristic least correlated with workplace happiness. So really we have this deep desire from within to find meaning and purpose and expression and value. So while having a good manager is important, they pointed out that that's the least correlated with workplace happiness. So a lot of these are really these things that come from within. Furthermore, the researchers tracked employees responses to these questions over the early months of the pandemic. And from December twenty nineteen to June twenty twenty, they found little evidence of the pandemic influenced the drivers of workplace happiness. For instance, there were no changes in the order of the 11 characteristics listed above from December to June. So the authors concluded that even in turbulent times, the well-being of workers is highly dependent on the consistent and fundamental driver. So as a result, organizations that cultivate workplace environments to foster and sustain these drivers in good times may also be better prepared to withstand labor market shocks and support employee well-being in times of economic uncertainty. So that's all the time we have for today. I hope that you were able to pull a little something out of this of what does bring you joy or work in the workplace or in life, because this is from the World Happiness Report that how about we all try to take something from this list today or something that you've heard today and see if you can implement it in your daily life? Are you living by a sense of purpose or are you aware of what your core values are? If you're not, should be an email email@example.com.
[00:39:00] I can send a link to you of place online that I often point people to where they can. There's a find your values exercise and that might be the place I would start is really tap into what are your core values? Are you living by those values? Does your job touch on those values? And if not, can you work those values into your job? That might be a good place to start. And and just know that one of the other themes here is you're not broken, you're human. So you have all the thoughts and feelings and emotions you do because you are you and I got to be honest, it's pretty awesome that you're you. But let's make sure that you agree with that. So we're have a great day as taking us out. Per usual is the wonderful the talented Aurora Florence or the song just had a perfect time of year. It's wonderful. All right. Have a great week. I will see you next time on the virtual couch.