Being happy at work – in a way that empowers you to get up with a spring in your step and looking forward to what the day will bring – is very much a matter of personal choice.
As in so many other aspects of your life, happiness is determined more by your mindset than your circumstances. Positive thinking habits are easy to learn and with a bit of practice can become part of a richer, more fulfilling and – yes – happier life.
Make being happy your top priority.
That doesn’t mean being self-centred and selfish: quite the contrary. But it does mean putting the intent to be happy right at the top of your list of things to do each day. If you don’t, other things will push in and take over.
While it sounds so simple, getting a fix on the always-happy mindset can actually take some work at the beginning.
So, give yourself a few minutes of peace and quiet first thing in the morning to review and affirm just what it is you want out of that day. And top of the list is ‘to be happy at work’.
Make a plan
It’s one thing to expect to be happy – and that’s all good.
But it’s when you also plan to be happy that things just seem to fall properly into place.And of course, there’s little that makes a professional happier than achieving a number of set goals – no matter how small – across the course of a single day. So, be SMART and set yourself specific targets that you can reach at different points throughout the day.And if you want to keep boosting that ‘feel-good’ mood, remember the way to go is:
Start small and once you are creating happiness by effortlessly achieving each small goal you set, take the plunge and set the bar higher. The greater the effort required to soar over, the great your satisfaction (happiness) when you do!
Include a treat
No, that does not necessarily mean chocolate or more coffee. Although those treats will probably make you happy in the short term, they don’t really constitute a firm strategy for the longer term.
Doing something you love is a more lasting treat. You can up your happiness ratings bigtime with simple activities that give you pleasure – if only for a few minutes at a time.
Build small and simple happiness generators into your day.
A short stroll through the park. Ten minutes to sit on a bench or the grass, doing absolutely nothing. Phoning someone you’ve been meaning to contact for ages. A quick but leisurely browse through the florist, the book or the card shop.: it doesn’t matter where as long as it has lovely things for you to look at. Look up. Watch the clouds across the sky. Window shop as you walk. People watch and dream a little. Smile at strangers.
Set yourself both fun & satisfying tasks.
Then, turn your attention to your work. Find facets that give you a happy buzz and work those into your workaday schedule. Then look at other aspects that perhaps are not so much fun, but are guaranteed to bring a sense of achievement at the end of the day.
Use these smartly to counterpoint any negative or boring tasks that you must cover.
Identify workplace strengths and weaknesses
If you’re not happy at work, it could be because your own weaknesses are creating problems for you? Maybe you could change this by taking charge of your own personal development?
There’s nothing like gaining new skills and triumphing over shaky spots to impart a fantastic, long term sense of achievement that persists both at work and in your personal life.
Be a friend
We know that people who cultivate friendships live longer and are happier than those who don’t.
So, be interested in your colleagues. Take time to get to know them. Enjoy their diversity.
Somewhere in there may well be a ‘best friend’ – someone you can ultimately rely on to provide support, companionship, laughs, sharing and caring.
No one at work is going to spoon feed you with information. So, get proactive. Develop an information network. Be curious. Stay on top of developments around the workplace. And when you’re able, put your hand up to help. Nothing cheers the spirit as much as unconditional giving.
Choosing to be happy at work means you need to stay away from the people and influences that can bring you down. Avoid doom sayers, negative conversations, gossip, and unhappy people.
If you get caught up, just smile, think your own positive thoughts and high-tail it out of there – one happy step after another.
Feedback isn’t something you need if you’re on top of the job and giving it your best. But if you’re not completely positive about how you’re performing and that’s niggling at you, giving you some anxiety and making you unhappy in the role, you may need to find way of improving the situation.
An effective way is to discover what – if anything – you’re doing wrong. And of course the only way to determine this is to ask.
Ask your boss for a frank and open assessment of your work – and say why! Knowing what you’re dealing with is a sure fire way of doing it better. And doing things better is a shortcut to a happier life.
Probably the most acute cause of unhappiness at work is feeling overwhelmed by the deadlines and the sheer volume of ‘stuff’ you have to do to meet them.
First up, you need to stop moaning, stop prevaricating and stop making excuses for not handling your work load. Swim don’t wallow.
Get a work plan and do your best to stick with it, cheerfully and willingly. Take short breaks. Stretch and exercise. Keep your sense of humour firing. Believe you can do it – and given time, you probably will.
If not, go to your boss. Explain the dilemma, show how you’ve tried to solve it and come up with some ideas for solving the traffic jam.
Learn the disciplines of happiness
There are a number of very good websites and books on the topic of creating happiness for yourself. One of these is found at www.thehappinessinstitute.com
From there, it’s simply a matter of being curious and moving on to explore the pursuit of happiness as it best relates to you and your unique situation.