What a suggestive title, right? But you might think: “Oh, I would love to, but it must be very difficult”. The following question that comes to your mind is: Is it possible? How can I do it? What do I need to do to be happy at work? If you want me to tell you the truth, it’s easier than you think!
In this article, I’m going to give you a few tips to achieve happiness at work.
Focus on what depends on you
When faced by day-to-day problems, analyse what you can change, what you can act upon, and get on with it to solve it. Protesting, getting angry or complaining will be of no use to you. Thinking over and over about what happened will not help you either, will it? The helpful attitude in the face of setbacks is “to change what you can change, and accept what you can’t change”.
Focus on the process and, especially, on the result
It is very important to achieve goals, but if you don’t get the expected result, analyse what happened that made it go wrong, instead of beating yourself up for the “unobtained result”, since it won’t solve anything, it will prevent you from moving forward and improving, and it will contribute to your discomfort.
Solve the conflicts
When facing a work dispute with a colleague, focus on thinking on how you could fix it, arrange a meeting with that person just focusing on the solution, and ask him/her: What do we need to do so that we can solve this issue? Do the same if there has been some kind of problem with a client. It is important that, after analysing what has happened, you get all hands on deck to solve it, and don’t let time go by. It is understandable that, out of fear, you leave finding a solution for later, but this, apart from not solving the problem, it could make it bigger and it could also contribute to the discomfort increase of the other person. Preparing the unresolved conversation and confronting the elephant in the room, will make things go well. But, be careful! It’s not about practicing “paralysis by analysis”!
Appreciate what you have at a professional level
Think of how you were at a professional level 10 years ago, and think also of how you have gotten to where you are and what you have achieved. Think of the good things of your company, your managers and your colleagues.
Take a break
Like the saying goes, “the early bird does not always catch the worm”. Taking a 5-minute break after every 90 minutes at work, and standing up and walking around, will help you oxygenate your brain and resume the activity you’re carrying out with more energy, and it will also help you prevent eye strain. Not taking breaks contributes to generating stress, but not the positive one!
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”
Review and take note of your achievements
Every time you achieve something (i.e. getting a new client, making a good offer, solving a problem, etc.), share it with your manager and/or a colleague and/or a relative, and write it down. Have an “achievement notebook” at hand; this simple practice will be of use not only to anchor your success, but also to generate serotonin (the happiness hormone) every time your write on it and read it.
Analyse your talents and your strengths
Most of the times we tend to “punish ourselves mentally” thinking of what we don’t have, what we don’t know, what we do wrong, etc. That is to say, we focus on our weaknesses, on our imperfections, but have you ever stopped to think about your talents, your strengths, and all those things you perfectly do? Now is the time, write down in your “Achievement notebook”, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, your strengths and your talents.
Focus on improving
And regarding those imperfections, weaknesses or details that you don’t like about yourself, make a simple but realistic action plan to improve them. A performance appraisal with your manager will help you a lot: define specific actions and the dates when you plan on taking them (English lessons, improving the use of Excel, etc.). If you commit yourself to your plan, it will pay off and you will have something else to add to your achievement notebook.
Help your colleagues
Think of those people whose work depends on yours, boost their work as much as you can, and if you can’t fulfil your commitment to a colleague, let him/her know well in advance. Try to provide help when needed, and if you can be a mentor to newly arrived employees, do it! This practice will help you create a nice work environment. You might think “I’m up to my neck in work, how am I going to help someone else…? I would love to have the time to do it”, but ask yourself: “If I don’t help other people, and I can’t take on commitments and don’t inform the person I committed to, and I excuse myself saying I’m as busy as a bee…” What do you think you will get from your colleagues? The answer is obvious. Helping others is an excellent opportunity for boosting comradeship, productivity and, ultimately, a pleasant working environment.
Show gratitude for everything you have in your life
Happiness is not achieved by “focusing on all the things you need, or you don’t have”, but by “being grateful, recognising and appreciating all that you have or that you are”; for example: “I have a job”, “I like my job”, “I’m healthy”, “I have a family”, “I’m a good professional”, etc. Concentrate both in what you “have” and what you “are”. Writing every day 3 things you can be thankful for will help your brain “learn the behaviour of focusing on what is positive”. Create your gratitude diary. This is based on an experiment carried out at a “Positive Thinking” lecture given at Harvard’s University.
The human brain has evolved with the ability of remembering threats and keeping them in mind, that’s why we usually tend to concentrate on negative aspects rather than on positive ones, as well as the experiences we’ve had in our life. To challenge this bad habit and concentrate only on what is positive, I suggest you do the following: avoid criticising and negative thoughts, and each time you get a negative thought, try to think of a positive one, take note daily in your “Achievement Notebook” and in your “Gratitude Diary”. Right now, your brain might be telling you: “as if I had the time to stop to do this! Ok, I challenge you to prove that both practices will take, at the most, 10 minutes!!! And what do 10 minutes a day mean out of a total of 7 or 8 hours if in exchange you get the possibility of being happy at work? And if you are a bit allergic to writing on paper, remember you can also use your mobile devices (you can also record it, it works as well).
Furthermore, if you are happy, you contribute to creating a pleasant work environment, a happy company where everybody wants to work and stay.
Did you know that feeling happy, apart from increasing personal satisfaction, self-esteem and productivity, also favours creativity and interest for innovating? Basic competencies in your work sector!
If a day has 24 hours, and more than one third of it is dedicated to working, and the other third you sleep (a lot of times you get bad sleep because of discomfort at work), don’t you think that being happy at work and doing your bit to help improve others’ well-being is worth the effort?
And you, are you happy at work?