Dragging yourself through the doldrums of a tedious workday may get the job done, but how effectively? Now you can break the tedium and actually increase your happiness, productivity, and focus, according to new neuroscience research. These recent studies show that there's a simple, playful way to boost your ebbing energy, and the answer is not what you'd expect.
If you're looking for a way to perk up your workday and get more done, you may be able to do just that by gazing into the big brown eyes of a puppy. According to a study done by the Virginia Commonwealth University, a little bout of puppy love reduces the stress-response hormone cortisol, which is essential for us to be able to learn and perform effectively.
On the more playful side, more recent studies have shown that interacting with puppies releases the powerful hormone and neurotransmitter, oxytocin. Also known as the "love hormone," oxytocin can actually facilitate trust and attachment, decrease depression and anxiety, and increase positive self-perception. It also increases the circulation of endorphins and dopamine, the euphoria-producing hormones that we all love so much.
As a result, productivity levels can increase substantially. Both the speed at which you work, and your overall performance are enhanced because interacting with dogs will promote relaxation and a reduction of stress, studies say.
I know that's true for me. My handsome Weimaraner, Riley, lays under my desk most of the day. His rhythmic breathing and soft fur certainly relax my mind and body.
Let's face it, though: A puppy, or even a grown dog, can also be a distraction. Don't despair. Similar studies say that looking at puppy pictures will produce similar effects. In particular, a Japanese study in which the subjects looked at pictures of baby animals and then performed a variety of tasks showed improved performance, particularly in perceptual tasks that required focus. It also made the subjects more attentive.
But if you're fortunate enough to have a real, live doggy mascot in the office, you'll notice other benefits, including increased communication and camaraderie. The presence of a dog is shown to spark conversation between people who may not otherwise communicate, leading to increased engagement and overall satisfaction in the workplace.
In a study from Central Michigan University, subjects were asked to create a 15-second ad for a product. Some groups had a dog in the room, others did not. The outcome? The groups with a dog in the room rated their group members higher on trust and team cohesion measures than those with no dog.
A doggie culture is known to be a more productive, trusting, and happy environment. Employees also report higher levels of job satisfaction and a more positive perception of their employer. Perhaps built-in breaks to enjoy puppy pics at Daily Puppy should be a part of everyone's workday.