Happiness + Chocolate = Productivity?

Does happiness increase productivity? Researchers Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr. Eugenio Pronto and Dr. Daniel Sgroi, at the University of Warwick provide evidence that happiness makes people more productive.

The researchers led the study in which more than 700 randomly selected participants were divided into four different experiment groups. Groups 1, 2 and 3 were either shown a comedy video clip or given chocolate, drinks and fruit and then asked to perform math equations. Participants in a fourth group were asked about recent family tragedies, like family illnesses and deaths prior to the math equations. Evidence points to those in groups 1, 2 and 3 being happier and approximately 12 percent more productive. In contrast, those in the final group were less happy and less productive.1

A second study by Strandberg et al surveyed 1,367 respondents – men in their 70’s with similar backgrounds – about their health, life satisfaction and emotions like loneliness and happiness. One of the questions asked was what kind of candy they preferred and concluded that those who preferred chocolate had lower occurrences of depression and loneliness and a more optimistic outlook on life. 2

Why do we feel better when we eat chocolate? One explanation may be that chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, tryptophan and serotonin in the brain promoting a sense of well-being, comfort during emotional stress, and feelings of pleasure and happiness. 3,4

What does this mean for Corporate Athletes like you? Don’t avoid the wrapped miniature chocolates stashed in your office drawer or on your colleagues’ desks. Eating chocolate may be an opportunity to connect with the four dimensions of energy (i.e. physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual). Consider the option of combining a movement break, reflecting on your mission, and a bit of nuts with your chocolate and you’ll have a low glycemic snack to renew your energy four dimensionally. Just remember chocolate is part of your 20% want food so be mindful of the portion size and balancing with 80% need foods throughout the day.

References:

  1. Oswald, et al., Happiness and Productivity, Journal of Labour Economics, Feb 2013
  2. Strandberg, et al, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008) 62, 247–253; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn. 1602707; published online 28 February 2007
  3. Dyer, Dr. Kirsti A., Chocolate: Good for the Mind, Body & Spirit; Medical Wellness Association, 2006: Volume 3, Number 1
  4. Benton D, Donohoe RT. The effects of nutrients on mood. Public Health Nutr. 1999. Sep;2(3A):403-9.