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.

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October 18, 2020

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.

BY DANA TANYERI

AYBE IT’S A CHAR-GRILLED STEAK AND A BONE-DRY MARTINI. OR BEING

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

ILLUSTRATIONS BY BILL MAYER

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

APPINESS AND STRESS REPRESENT

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

information.

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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RELAX
BY MICHAELA CAVALLARO

rl

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

and focus” -LIONEL
VATNET, LA FARM BAKERY

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

DATED RESTAURANT OPERATIONS

“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:”

-BRYAN MOSCATELLO,

INDIGO LANDING

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

can:’ -JORDI VALLES, SALT

“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,

AVENUE

“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,

CAFE CENTRO

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

NANA RESTAURANT

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

EVENT MANAGEMENT

_o rtsleepy
STTING A G0OD NIGHT’S SLEEP ISN’T A LUXURY TO

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

BISTRO

“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 &

CULINARY CONSULTANTS

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

GROUP RESTAURANTS

“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,

THE PLAZA CAFE

“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

-COMPILED BY PATRICIA CORE

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.

restaurantbiz.com 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

Are you happy?
D R. ED DIENER, A LEADING HAPPINESS

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.

begracious

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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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

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: http://www.vnuemedia.com/

 

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