The last newsletter contained five ideas about how to happier at work. This newsletter continues with five more ideas on how to be happy at work.
Firstly, a word about happiness. Happiness does not come to you, you have to make it happen. It’s the result of the ongoing choices that you make, and is available to us all and not just some fortunate people.
It may seem obvious, but happiness is really useful when facing tough times. More than just lifting your mood, positive emotions enable you to deal with the dangerous effects of physical arousal caused by an excess of adrenaline and cortisol, and provide the mechanism to “bounce back” from adversity.
Here are five more ideas on how to create happiness and ultimately resilience in your life, particularly at work:
1. Watch the quality of your self talk
Everyone has a little voice that runs on in their heads. Research scientists call it the “self critic”, because it’s often negative and critical. If you don’t like your self talk, you can change your thoughts to become less catastrophic. “I stuffed up once again! I always fail! I’ll never be a success!” can be reframed to “I made a mistake, but then so does everyone else. If I can learn from this, it will have been a cheap mistake.”
2. Choose to be happy
If you feel you have not got a choice, you probably feel trapped, in which case its unlikely you will feel happy. This can happen at work when you have to do some irksome task, such as attending a boring meeting or tedious presentation. Say to yourself: “I choose to do this”, and then find reasons why you choose to do what you’re doing. However it is important to find genuine reasons for doing what you’re doing, in order for this technique to work. For example, “I choose to listen to this presentation so that I can better understand the company’s strategy and how I will react to it”
3. Let go of the things you can’t change
At work there are probably many things that you would like to change, but can’t. Obsessing about things that you can’t change, will definitely make you unhappy. So let go of those things and move on to focus on those things that you can change. Focus your energy on finding ways of changing those things that are within your sphere of control. This will result in the double benefit of not being upset about things you can’t control, and also feeling the glow of pride and accomplishment in changing things that you can.
4. Catch someone doing something good
Find a colleague or team member who is doing something that you can recognise or praise, and tell them. This will make them feel good, and make you feel good too. At deeper level, it will help you to break out of the negative cycle of looking for problems and risks, finding them, and obsessing about them.
5. Create a break or pause
Sometimes, the harder you work, the less you accomplish. If this happens to you, take a break from your routine, get up and move around, talk to different people, go outside or work on a different task. All of these activities will give you a chance to get a different perspective on the pressures of work and what’s going on in your life.
While everyone is different and we all have different amounts of happiness and resilience at the start of life, these intentional activities will significantly enhance your level of happiness and resilience. Good news for us all!