Thursday, October 31, 2013

How Toastmasters Club Improves One's Happiness Quotient

"Can money buy happiness?" This was one of the questions posed by the Table Topics Master at the last Toastmasters Club Meeting.

That sets me thinking. Money does not buy happiness. But we do need money to stay happy in a society. We need money to meet our basic needs, such as food and housing. Once those are met, higher incomes do little to boost happiness. Instead we will look for true rewarding relationships with friends and ourselves. Research shows that having a tight-knit circle of family and friends is a reliable indicator of happiness. 

Everyone wants to be happy. Today, I will like to share on how Toastmasters Club improves our level of happiness.

1. Providing a Supportive and Positive Environment. According to Dr Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, paying gratitude visit where one pens a letter of thanks and pays a visit to tell one's benefactor will greatly elevate one's happiness index. This is what we do at the Toastmasters meeting. As the Toastmaster of the Day, we thank the appointment holders and prepared speech speakers for making the meeting a success.

2. Providing Encouraging Feedback. As speech evaluators, we learn to listen carefully to identify strengths and areas for improvement. This helps to create a positive flow such that fellow members and guests enjoy the meeting so much that they lose track of time. At the same time, prepared speakers understand that the evaluations provided by the evaluators are based on the evaluators' personal opinions. 

3. Stop Incessant Comparison. Toastmasters Programme is a self-directed one. In this journey, we are our biggest competitor and our aim is to be better than we were yesterday.

Life is full of setbacks. We will all go through different feelings - anger, disappointment, grief, sadness. This is part and parcel of the journey called life. Strategies to be happy include distraction- doing something different; reappraisal- looking at things differently; and suppression- not to think about it.

Whatever strategy that one chooses, one should direct attention to people or things that brings one joy and gratitude. Toastmasters meeting offers that avenue for one to share happy memories.

Every time I attend the meeting, I always volunteer to help out wherever I can. It is akin to attending a motivational seminar, I feel great to contribute and never fail to emerge motivated. More than that, my speaking and leadership skills are also notching northwards in the process.

Toastmasters Club meets my social as well as self-esteemed needs. In short, it is an awesome organisation. What are you waiting for?

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