How is it that the wor takes over your life, leaving you burned out, even miserable? It doesn’t have to be tnat way. Here’s how to make it all better.

How is it that the wor takes over your life, leaving you burned out, even miserable? It doesn’t have to be tnat way. Here’s how to make it all better.

How is it that the wor takes over your life, leaving you burned out, even

miserable? It doesn’t have to be tnat

way. Here’s how to make it all better.



in love, playing with the dog or perhaps a new pair of Jimmy

Choos. It could also be that warm glow you get looking over a full

dining room on those rare nights when everything hums along perfectly.

Turns out, happiness-deep, lasting satisfaction as opposed to pleasures that evaporate as quickly as the last drops of gin in that martini-is considerably more complex. Scientists who spend their lives studying the subject contend that it’s some combination of genetics, values and life experience that lead to a happy life.

Whatever happiness is for you, chances are you don’t have enough of it. You spend most of your time just trying to make sure that everyone else-customers, staff, suppliers, reviewers, inspectors-is happy. You work while others play and the days when life controls you far outnumber those when you control life. Employees don’t show, prices rise, bad weather kills your traffic, the dish-

washer’s been lifting steaks and your spouse has had it with your schedule. You’re on the firing line every day, and that’s one tough place to find happiness.

But figuring out how to find it does more than put a smile on your face. Happy people are healthier, tend to be more suc- cessful-and they live longer too. According to Dr. Ed Diener at the University of Illinois, a lead- ing researcher in the science of happiness, “Not only does happiness feel good, but happy people appear to function better than unhappy people-making more


30 Restaurant Business May 2007 restaurantbiz.corn

restaurantbiz.Gom May 2007 Restaurant Business, 31

money, having better social relation- ships, being better organizational citizens at work, doing more volun- teer work and having better health.”

Diener cites one study that found that, on average, happy people lived 10.7 years longer than unhappy people.

Another study tracked a group of nuns in a Milwaukee convent. Before joining the order back in the 1930s, each nun agreed to keep a diary. The language used and emo- tions exhibited in those journals were analyzed over the years and enabled researchers to separate the group into “happy nuns” and “not so happy nuns.” According to Diener, two-thirds of the not so happy nuns died before their 85th birthdays, while 90 percent of the happy nuns lived past 85-and under almost identical living condi- tions. On average, the happy nuns lived nine years longer.

“That’s huge,” says Diener. “We look at the impact of smoking ciga- rettes on life expectancy, which can cut three years off the life of people who smoke a pack a day. So nine years related to happiness is very significant. There’s a different pat- tern of biological responses that allows happy people to remain in a healthier state for more years.”

Dr. Martin Seligman, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center and author of ‘Authentic Happiness,” is hailed as the founder of the new positive psychology movement. While traditional psychology focuses on helping to make the world a less unhappy place by confronting the distresses that bring people down, positive psychology focuses on posi- tive emotions, character traits and institutions to help make the world a more happy place. That shift in

reasons to be happy we’re 2Rain this business

32 Restaurant Business May 2007 restaurantbiz,cour


two sides of a biological see-saw.

When one is up the other is down.

British researchers have pinpointed a

measurable indicator of this, the hormone

cortisol. When you get stressed, there’s

more cortisol in your blood. When you’re

happy, there’s less.

Why decrease stress? “In a nutshell,

stress will kill you, via high blood pressure,

strokes, eating disorders or diabetes,”

says Dr. Edward Creagan, a professor of

medical oncology at the Mayo Clinic.

“But, more importantly, it erodes the

spirit.” Herewith, seven ways

to get happier by limit-

ing your stress:

Exercise. “The new

research shows that

you don’t have to work out for 20 to 30

minutes to get the benefit,” says

Kathleen Hall, director of The Stress

Institute in Atlanta. “You can do a few

10-minute intervals throughout the day.

Even if you have just a couple minutes,

go up and down a few

steps and get your heart

rate up” This prompts the

body to up production of

endorphins, which create

a sense of well-being.

Get a hobby. “Find some-

thing other than work

that will let you zone out;’

says Creagan at Mayo

(see page 37).

I We get to eat for free.

Clear your calendar. Cut out all but the

most essential meetings, prioritizing

those that are about decision-making

rather than sim-

ply sharing


Redecorate. Is your desk chair comfort-

able? Do you have a photo on the wall

that spurs positive feelings? Does your

filing system work for you? If not, you’re

creating long-term, chronic stress that’ll

put a hit on your body, not to mention

your soul.

Look back. “Think about what you have

achieved and give yourself a pat on the

back,” says Jessica Pryce-Jones, a part-

ner in iOpener, a British consulting firm

that specializes in happiness at work,

Crank up the tunes. “The minute you

listen to music you love, you release

serotonin;’ a brain chemical that affects

your mood, says Hall. “If you can hum

or sing along, you get an extra immune

boost, too.’

Do what you love. “You

will never be miserable if

you have a passion for

something, whether it’s a

dog, your family, your

work,’ says Creagan.

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3 quick steps to calm STEP 1 Eat Starting your day with

breakfast increases your metabolism,

stabilizes your blood sugar – and

staves off the onset of hunger-

induced irritability.

STEP 2 Breathe. Take a deep breath, inhaling

from your diaphragm,

pausing and exhaling

deeply. Focus on the physical

sensation. Repeat twice more. Besides simply creating a moment of

quiet reflection, deep breathing

increases the flow of oxygen to your

brain, which then lowers your heart

rate and relaxes your muscles.

STEP 3 Talk. Come up with a

positive, three- to five-word

phrase (e.g., “life is good,” “I am powerful”) to use as a mantra or affirmation in tense

moments. The catch: You have

to actually believe it in order for

it to work. If you do, you’ll lower your

cortisol levels, according to Kathleen

Hall of The Stress Institute.

How do you deal with stress? “Go into one of the restaurants at prime time, watch the action. Brings me back to my roots.”–JOF XING, LE COLONIAL

“Kneading dough is… extremely calming and requires you to center


“I knit The repetition of the stitches clears my mind and relaxes me.” -NICHELLE D. RaTER, CONSOU-


“Turn off my cell phone and tell everyone to call my business partner for one whole day’ -SHAR; SCtNEIDE, FUNKY DINER

“I find therapy in retreat- ing to the butcher shop:”



“Head to the nearest golf course and whack the ball as hard as I


“I like to sit down to a good game of computer chess:’ -FRANKLIN BECKER, BRASSERIE

“I eat a pint of Haagen Dazs and a bag of cook- ies then I go for a run:’ -TENNEY FLYNN, GW FINS

“Play squash. The only person you have to please or push is your- self:’ -FRANK BONNANO, LucA 0WITALIA

“I like to take my Lotus out to the racetrack and put the pedal to the metal7 -CHRISTIAN SHAFFER,


“I play war games on my PlayStation 3, then eat a big sandwich standing in the kitchen’ .- ADOLI-O SUAYA, THE LODGE

“Play pinball. When you’re hitting your ramps all is right in the worldr’ -ERIC GREENSPAN, THE FOUNDRY ON MELROSE

“I take a mambo dance class. It keeps me focused on my footwork7 — VICTORIA BURGHI,


“I count to 10 in Spanish, but using my twin boys’ voices.” -ANTHONY C. BOMEACt,


“Paddle out into the ocean-away from land and work-and just be:’ -JOHN KOWALENK.o, HAMPTONS



Gbe lndutged in as your schedule allows. Says Dr. RuseII Rosenberg, director of the Atlanta Sleep Institue “There’s plenty of scientific evidence to demo trate’hat sleep loss affects moods in a negativ way and adds to-.stress”

So .I you want to be happier and decrease the amount of stress in your life, you’ve got to catch

moe Zs. Experts agree that the optimal amount of p is 75 to 8 hours a night But Rosenberg says

it’s important not to get overwhelmed by the thought of finding several more hours for sleep in an

already jam-packed schedule. “Even just adding 30 minutes onto your nightly sleep can help,” he

says, “You don’t have to go from getting five hours

to eight hours to notice a difference”

No matter when you go to bed, try to wind down

first, whether you read, watch TV or do some gentle

stretching (vigorous exercise should be avoided

before bedtime). The key, says Rosenberg, is to

put a buffer between your work day and bedtime.

“Sing songs to my nine- month-old baby boy:’ -GWEN TROST, SANDRINE’S


“I ride around on my scooter and soak up

some sunshine:’ -DAVE QUERY, BIG RED F

“Get a neck massage, watch Law & Order reruns that I’ve seen before.’ -KYLE SHADty, NUTRITION &


“[Make] a big pot of my mother’s famous meat- balls and red sauce,: -MICHAEL ERICKSON, FIFTH


“Call somebody who’s… more stressed than I am and compare days:’ -MIKE HILL, F REPL

“Karate is the key for me. It clears my mind of everything’ -DOUG GULIJA,


“I [take] short vacations into the walk-in. I vent; 5 minutes later I’m a new man.” -MICHAEL SALM-O, MACYW S CrLiAR BAR & GRILL

“Take a long walk in Central Park:’ -TONY MAY, SAN DOMENICO


3 We get hassled a lot by the courts, but at least Mickey D’s didn’t actually have to pay that lady when she spilled hot coffee on herself.

4 We’re the backbone of the U.S. economy: our economic input will be $1.3 trillion this year and we’ll employ 12.0 million people. May 2007 Restaurant Business 33

scientific thinking has spurred new research into happiness and new efforts to measure the most import contributors to it. While some have said that trying to get happier is like trying to get taller, the positive psy- chology camp contends that people can, indeed, induce or elevate their happiness by focusing on a number of key contributors. Here’s the latest on what they’ve learned.

Abe Lincoln once said, “I have noticed that folks are generally about as happy as they have made up their minds to be.” Tolstoy was more direct: “If you want to be happy, be.” It’s mind-over-misery and social psychologists say studies have shown that simply choosing to be and acting happy can be habit forming and life changing.

Seligman cites a 35,000-person poll from the National Opinion Research Center, in which 40 percent of married Americans described themselves as “very happy,” compared with just 24 percent of unmarried Americans who said the same. He admits that it could be that happy people are the ones who get married to begin with. But researchers generally agree that mar- riage offers strong emotional security.

If health and happiness are linked, marriage apparently helps in this regard. A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health supports findings that married people live longer than those who are widowed, divorced, separated or never-married.

The study puts the lifespan of marrieds at seven years longer than non-marrieds.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests that married people are healthier. Based on interviews with 127,545 adults, between 1999 and 2002, the study found that married adults, among other things, are: o Less likely to be in fair or poor health, and to suffer from health con- ditions such as headaches and serious psychological distress. * Less likely to be limited in various activities, including work. * Less likely to smoke, drink heavily or be physically inactive.

Or at least don’t expect them to boost your happiness. While parents might insist their kids are their greatest sources of joy, research shows that the

emotional and financial toll that accompanies those precious bundles of joy cancels out

any happiness gains. British economists Richard Layard and Andrew Oswold found that

children have a statis- tically insignificant

, 0 impact-and even a small negative effect-on happiness.

Layard cites a study in which 1,000 working Texas women divided their average day into “episodes,” or specific activities, and indicated their level of happiness during each episode. Of 19 identified activities, childcare ranked 16th in terms of associated happiness, only higher on the scale than com- muting and working. The same study showed that when asked to rank groups they’re happiest spending time

Continued on page 38


researcher at the University of Illinois, developed a tool for gauging happiness. Called the “Satisfaction with Life Survey;’ it’s considered by many in the psychological community to be a valid indicator of a person’s overall level of happiness, or “subjective well-being? Think you’re happy? Take

Diener’s test and find out. Using the 1-7 scale shown, indicate

your (brutally honest) level of agree- ment with each of the five statements. When finished, add up your score and check it against the happiness scale.

Scale 7= Strongly agree

6= Agree 5= Slightly agree 4= Neither agree nor disagree 3= Slightly disagree 2= Disagree 1= Strongly disagree

Survey statements In most ways, my life is close to my ideal. The conditions of my life are excellent. I am satisfied with my life. So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Happiness scale 31-35 Extremely satisfied

26-30 Satisfied 21-25 Slightly satisfied 20 Neutral 15-19 Slightly dissatisfied 10-14 Dissatisfied 5-14 Extremely dissatisfied

h1 5 Restaurants’ share of the

food dollar keeps growing: 6 We know what ’86’ means.

1955 Present

7 Blood oranges, tomatillos, yuzo and other exotic and hard-to-source ingredients are now just exotic.

34 Restaurant Business: May 2007 restaurantbiz,com

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Continued from page 34 with, kids came in fourth, after friends, parents/relatives and spouse and only above co-workers, self/alone and boss.

findg od Embracing religion has been shown to contribute to happiness. Dutch sociol- ogist Ruut Veenhoven, who directs the World Database of Happiness, a com- pilation of more than 1,500 surveys around the world, found that countries with the highest degree of religious participation also report the highest degrees of happiness.

Psychologists offer three explanations for the link. social support networks involved in organized religion; a firm belief structure and a feeling of being close to God; and “religion itself,” which generally provides for positive experi- ences and holds the promise of relief from the pain of this life.

get a doQg A recent Market & Opinion Research International poll reveals that dogs bring more happiness into people’s lives than steady relationships and job satisfaction. In fact, owning a dog came out atop the happiness index, with 81 percent of the 2,000 people surveyed stating that their happiness “significantly improved” upon

getting a dog.

Dogs can make you healthier, too, and not just because of all those daily walks. Research from the University of Missouri-Columbia suggests that sim- ply stroking a dog prompts a release of so-called “feel good” hormones that lower blood pressure and decrease depression and anxiety.

Getting a dog isn’t something to rush into, though. Daisy Okas, a spokesper- son for the American Kennel Club, says that you’re making a 10- to 15-year commitment with significant lifestyle and financial implications.

forget money Except in situations where basic needs are not met, money doesn’t buy happiness. In a 1995 survey, Diener

determined that people on the Forbes 100 list reported being only slightly happier than the average Joe. And a 1978 study found that 22 lottery winners were

no happier than a control group. Say what? Scientists chalk it up

Sto a phenomenon called the “hedonic treadmill.” Basically, regardless of how much you make and how much stuff you

accumulate, your expectations con- tinue to stray upwards, you continue to compare yourself against those who

have more. As such, you’re never truly satisfied. That treadmill, they say, accounts for the fact that dramatic increases in wealth and standard of living in the past 50 years have resulted in no increases in levels of happiness.

nurture friendships Money might not buy happiness, but friendship does. According to Diener, “We need good friends and family, and we may need to sacrifice to some extent to ensure that we have intimate,

loving relationships- people who care about us and about whom we care deeply. The happiest people of all seem to have good friends.”

setgoals It’s working hard toward goals-not actually achieving them-that contributes to happiness, according to a group of

Swedish researchers. They argue that people need to stay active and find fulfillment through setting goals that are interesting to work on and well- suited to their particular strengths and abilities. “From our research, the people who were most active got the most joy,” said lead researcher Dr. Bengt Bruelde of Gothenburg University in the BBC’s series on happiness. “It may sound tempting to relax on a beach, but if you do it for too long it stops being satisfying.”

go withiyour flow In short, play to your strengths. What you’re after, says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist at Claremont Graduate University and author of “Flow-The

Continued on page 46

14 Americans have more disposable income than ever before.



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Continued from page 38 Psychology of Happiness,” are situations

in which you’re completely engaged

in your work and your performance is

effortless. That’s a state he calls “flow”

and it leads to feelings of great satis-

faction, regardless of the nature of the work.

,unplug it From time to time pry yourself away

from cell phones, e-mail, BlackBerry or

whatever other 24/7 communications gadgets you’ve come to believe you

can’t function without. Jeff Davidson,

author of “Breathing Space: Living &

Working at a Comfortable Pace in a

Sped-Up Society” and founder of the

Breathing Space Institute, says when

you’re constantly plugged in your cre-

ativity and spontaneity diminish. You

wind up in a continual mode of react-

ing and responding instead of steering

and directing, the activities that most

business leaders say bring them the

greatest satisfaction.


Psychologists recommend keeping a “gratitude journal,” in which every day,

or maybe once a week, you record

three to five things you’re thankful for or that you love. They also recommend

reaching out to others to express

gratitude or appreciation for something

they’ve done that touched your life in

a positive way. University of California at Riverside

psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky led a

study that found that, over a six-week

period, taking the-time to count and

document their blessings significantly

boosted subjects’ overall satisfaction with life. A no-journals control group

had no such gain. Psychologist Robert

Emmons, at the University of California

at Davis, found that such exercises

improved health, raised energy levels

and relieved pain and fatigue in

patients with neuromuscular disease.

tryfogiens Forgiving those who’ve done you wrong

can do wonders for your happiness and

health, says Dr. Fred Luskin, director

of the Stanford University Forgiveness

Project and author of “Forgive for

Good.” Luskin’s research found that

being unforgiving raised stress levels

and blood pressure, wore down the immune system and deregulated the nervous system.

You’ve heard it before, but science

backs it up: Laughter is the best

medicine. Researchers at the University

of Maryland School of Medicine in

Baltimore have shown that laughter is

linked to the healthy function of

blood vessels. Situations that provoked

laughter in study subjects caused the

endothelium, tissue that lines the vessels,

to dilate and increase blood flow.

Sure, you could just send a check to

support a charity, but happiness experts say getting engaged and per-

sonally involved is the way to go. So

is getting in the habit of performing

smaller, simple, helpful gestures every

day-opening the door for someone

with their arms full, offering to pick up

groceries for an elderly neighbor.

b m o parents

If all else fails, chalk your general level of satisfaction (or lack thereof) up to genes. University of Minnesota

researcher David Lykken in 1996

published a study of 4,000 sets of twins.

After comparing happiness data on

identical versus fraternal twins, he con-

cluded that roughly 50 percent of one’s

satisfaction with life comes from genetic

programming. Genes, he said, influ-

ence such traits as general disposition, ability to handle

[0 stress and being 5 prone to anxiety

36 3 • and depression. El

18 It’s so easy to find skilled, reliable workers…

19 …OK, maybe not, but we do have an incredibly diverse workforce that is the envy of other industries:

20 We make peoplehappy for a living.

46 Restaurant Bmsiness May 2007 restaurantbiz.rom

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TITLE: Let’s Get Happy! SOURCE: Restaurant Business 106 no5 My 2007 PAGE(S): 30-4, 38, 46

(C) Copyright (2001) VNU Business Publications, USA. All rights reserved. To contact the publisher:

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