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Depressed? Work in a Team!

The team dynamic is built on a complex relationship of give and take. Working in teams can be some of the frustrating or rewarding experiences we’ll ever encounter. When we reflect back on the times we’ve worked in teams, the memories normally seem to be how great and fun the experience was. Ever wonder why?

Take a minute and reflect on the past six months odds are the best times were probably the ones where you were participating in an event with a group. For example, I know some of my favorite moments have been team projects where I’ve been asked to participate in.

What is it about teams that makes up happy?

In researching this very question, I came across an interesting post by Scott Belsky on the blog, The 99%. In his post, he brought up the idea of “hive psychology”. In a nutshell, “hive psychology” is the idea where “happiness is correlated with losing oneself in a greater whole, and how such needs may be rooted in evolutionary instincts.” Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has conducted a lot of research and written extensively about “hive theory.” In a 2008 publication, Haidt wrote that “the self can be an obstacle to happiness, so people need to lose their selves occasionally by becoming part of an emergent social organism in order to reach the highest levels of human flourishing.” He believes that “the most effective moral communities – from a well-being perspective – are those that offer occasional experiences in which self-consciousness is greatly reduced and one feels merged with or part of something greater than the self.” Not only are we happier when we’re in teams, we produce a superior quality of work. This is why those team bonding outings that your manager makes everyone participate in, are so important.

It’s important to create teams that people strongly associate themselves with. Haidt writes “Researchers have consistently found that being part of a group with which one strongly identifies is associated with greater well-being.” How’s this done? It’s done by sharing joint experiences. Not only is it important for greater well-being, but also it’s well documented that happiness is directly related to increased productivity. So think of it as a two for one deal, a happy team is a productive team.

Whatever your goal, remember that working with others may be the best path to accomplish it.

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