Users take to social media to vent their spleen as soon as a brand stumbles online. There are thousands of examples of complaining users. Last month a blind passenger and his guide dog were removed from a US Airways flight – and the passengers complained across all media channels.
Users took to complain about the behaviour of the restaurant owners at Amys Baking Company’s social media meltdown after appearing on Remsays Kitchen Nightmares TV show.
We seem to complain about anything on social channels – hoping that the brand will listen to us. Angry tweets get retweeted more often. Sina Weibo analysed over 70million posts from 200,000 users and found that anger elicits faster responses from the largest number of people.
But wouldn’t it be be great if we had an opportunity to be nice from time to time? Good news spreads. Happy, funny items are more likely to get shared – especially if they are about ourselves, a study has found.
Social networking site Happier aims to change our attitude to the negative side of life. The site is filled with things to make you smile and make you feel a little bit better about your day.
Happier is a Boston based company with “a mission to inspire millions of people to be happier in their everyday lives”. Based on research Happier focuses on making people happy. Circuits in our brains light up when we are happy and when we are happy, folks around us become happy too.
Nataly Kogan spent the first 13 years of her life in soviet Russia. The family escaped to Vienna before taking the train to Italy to spend months in a refugee centre. On getting to the US, she tried to “chase the big happy” but found that after 20 years of doing this she wasn’t happy at all.
Her nirvana moment was realising she was “chasing the non-existent impossible state of happy” and was missing the “small happy moments” that made up her day. Collecting your own positive moments will make you happy.
Stop saying “I’ll be happy when” and start saying “I’m happy now because”.
Focusing on small positive moments have been scientifically proven to make you feel happier. It seems like a really small principle to capture these moments – but you can capture this “emotional bookshelf in your pocket” with an iPhone app that reminds you to collect your small moments every day.
Sometimes a moment can be as simple as enjoying a giggle with a friend – or as simple as “getting to go to the bathroom after needing to go all day”
Smiling releases endorphins and you have the ability to impact others’ happiness. Making someone’s day will make them feel great – and make you feel happier too.
- People who write down three positive things about their day report feeling happier, less, anxious and more optimistic. People who continued to do that for a period of three weeks reported feeling more optimistic and positive for up to six months afterwards.
- People who think more positively are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack, catch a cold or the flu.
- Functional MRI shows that focusing on a few positive things every day can permanently alter the chemistry of the brain to become more positive.
- Being happier is contagious: If you have a friend who is positive, you’re 25 percent more likely to be positive.
- People who express thanks to others feel better about their lives, exercise more, and go to the doctor less.
So what does Happier recommend that we do to become – and stay happier?
Focus on, capture and appreciate small positive moments in your life. Expressing gratitude has been shown to do more than improve your mood. People who write down a few positive things about their day are healthier, more energetic, less stressed and anxious, and get better sleep.
Surround yourself with happier people. Happiness is contagious. Dr. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, researchers Harvard and University of San Diego, found that each additional happy friend increases a person’s probability of being happy by about 9 percent.
Do nice things for others. Research has shown that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves and doing small acts of kindness increases life satisfaction.
Spend more time with family and friends. Having friends can save your life. Low social interaction can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is twice as bad for your health as obesity.
Spend money on experiences instead of things. Research shows people report feeling happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than objects.
Get moving. You only need to get moving for 20 minutes to start feeling happier. When you exercise endorphins are released in your brain and you feel awesome.
Set goals and don’t make them too easy. Studies have shown that working towards challenging goals makes people happier and actually suppresses negative feelings along with increasing positive ones.
Get more sleep! Researchers have shown that about 6 hours of sleep a night is the amount of sleep that makes people the happiest.
Try and learn new things. People who have a variety of experiences have more positive emotions than those who have fewer variety.
If you feel that your Facebook feed is full of people complaining and moaning – then trying to be a little bit happier might be just the tonic you need. Write down some happy moments and share them with yourself – or your friends. Paying it forward – and sharing your happiness will make everyone around us all feel better today…
Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and Google+ or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.