Broadcasting Happiness Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Broadcasting Happiness is an encouraging resource that will help you boost your health and happiness in your relationships, work, and community by showing you how to unlock the power of positive words and stories.

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Broadcasting Happiness Summary

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What do you think of when I say the word “broadcast?” It makes me think of the way people talk about old news or radio stations. Sharing information through the media has been around for a while now, but we can all publish our own messages these days. 

Whether it’s on Facebook or with your coworkers, we all broadcast ourselves to others. In some cases, this is a really negative thing. But we each have the potential to use the power of good messages to improve our lives and others around us.

That’s what Michelle Gielan’s Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change is all about. You’ll learn a ton from this book. Even how something as small as a word can make a great impact on your productivity and health. 

Here are the 3 most exciting lessons this book teaches:

  1. You can get healthier by sharing happiness.
  2. People cooperate better and perform better on tests and at work when you prime them with positive words and stories.
  3. Even when dealing with the difficulties of life you can find ways to look on the bright side while accurately seeing your situation.

Are you pumped up to learn how to unleash the full power of positivity and become healthier and more successful? Let’s go!!

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Lesson 1: Sharing happiness is more about how you share information, and it has the power to improve your health.

Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time. Our early ancestors’ cave writings are the perfect example. What began as simple drawings has evolved into the mass media that we know today. 

Unfortunately, the news usually isn’t great at making you feel optimistic. Just recently their coverage of the Coronavirus outbreak has people hoarding toilet paper and cowering in fear! 

But not all bad events need to be shared with such dramatization and negativity. Take CBS’s Happy Week for example. During the 2008 recession, a string of bad news cut viewership in half for the network and they wanted to do something about it. 

Getting some help from the great Martin Seligman, the anchors shared the news in a way that focused on solutions. This helped people get through, and CBS had more people watching after this week than in the entire previous year combined!

The power of encouraging stories is so great that it can improve your health. 

In a famous study, Dr. Ellen Langer had a bunch of 75-year-olds pretending they were 20 years younger. She encouraged them to share stories, but could only tell of experiences prior to when they were 55. 

The differences in results of strength, memory, and intelligence tests before and after the experiment revealed the life-changing effect they’d been through. Every one of their scores went up after only a week, including an improvement in eyesight!

Lesson 2: You will do better on exams, at work, and in your relationships by broadcasting positive words and stories.

If you’ve ever done a group project at school, you know how wildly different people are when it comes to working. Some are driven and organized while others are sloppy and lazy. It’s hard to get along in these kinds of settings no matter what kind of person you are. 

That’s why as a team member or manager, you need to use the power of priming. This is when you talk about good experiences or use uplifting words to keep people cooperating. And science shows that it works. 

In one study, Stanford researchers divided people into two groups. One saw negative words like “impatient” or “rude,” and the other got to see happier words like “calm” and “respectful.” They then took a language test. 

The first group took on some of the characteristics of the words they saw before, interrupting the researcher more often. But the second group was kinder and more cooperative, just as the scientists had primed them to be!

Other research reveals that you’ll do better on an exam if you think the right way before taking it. Some of the participants in the study were told to focus on the traits of a brilliant professor before taking the test. The others had to think of a “hooligan.” 

Those that had priming by the thoughts of the professor did better on the exam than the rest.

Lesson 3: Nobody escapes hard times, but approaching them the right way can make it easier to get through them.

Bad things happen to all of us. Often, our natural tendency is to hold it all in. But the best way to get over difficult experiences is to talk about them. You can help your friends do this without encouraging negativity if you use the four C’s:

Social capital means the body language and eye contact that we use to connect with people. When we do this it shows the other person we’re listening. It gives them the much-needed relief that comes from being heard.

Context is making sure that you’re getting all of the information accurately instead of letting the other person hold back. It’s about making sure you really understand the full picture of what’s going on.

Then you have Compassion, which is empathizing with their feelings. You’ve got to ask yourself if you actually listened. Did you feel with the person the pain of what they’re going through as if it was you? 

Commitment comes last and means displaying the genuine care you have for your friend. It’s going above and beyond the typical “how are you?” and the shallow listening that most of us do in our day-to-day exchanges with one another. 

If a person is being too negative, however, don’t feel like you have to stick around. It’s not okay to let them bring you down, so take a breather if you need to. Think about the problem and see how you might approach it differently to help.

Broadcasting Happiness Review

I’m a big believer in the power of positivity, and Broadcasting Happiness just reinforced it for me! I am blown away by the research and tips this book gives and that it doesn’t sugar coat it but also goes over negative things also. This is one of those books that will really change your life for the better!

Who would I recommend the Broadcasting Happiness summary to?

The 39-year-old manager who wants to find ways to improve the morale and performance of their team, the 23-year-old blogger who wants some science-backed ways to make a positive difference in their follower’s lives, and anyone who wants to be happier and healthier!

Last Updated on August 31, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.