Are you happy at work? Or is it something that you do to earn money, so you can do what’s really important in your life?

Being happy at work is really important! Research has found that happy and positive employees outperform negative employees in terms of sales, productivity and engagement. Happiness is also good for you as a person, as happier people are better paid, have more job security and are less likely to become overstressed and burn out.

Happier people are better at preventing stress from becoming overwhelming. They are also better able to use their positive feelings to bounce back and recover from adversity. Simply put, happier people are more resilient.

There are ten things you can do to be happier at work, and which will also enhance your ability to cope during tough times. Here are the first five:

1. Change your mindset

Some people think of work as the opposite of happiness. With this mindset, routine tasks, such as salespeople’s paperwork, becomes tedious and tiring. If this applies to you, try changing your mindset to focus on the purpose of the task, which will help you find some meaning even with mind-numbing activities. In this way, completion of sales paperwork enables the customer to receive the correct goods or service, on time and at the right place.

2. Use stress to your advantage

Another common misconception some people have is that stress is bad. In fact, too little stress is bad! Spikes in stress levels are needed to create excitement and energy. It’s stress that lasts over long periods of time, chronic stress, that is the problem.

Use the energy created by the stress to find ways of doing things differently in future. Ask yourself: what can I learn from this? What is the opportunity here? What good can come of this?

3. Practice gratitude

Every day ask yourself, what am I deeply grateful for? Alternatively, reflect on the day that has passed and ask yourself what three good things have happened? The outcome will almost always be enhanced mood, which will in turn enable you to cope better with tough times.

4. Take small steps

A major change in your life, such as losing 10 kg in weight or getting fit enough to run a marathon race, all start with small steps. Even when we start enthusiastically however, it’s easy to give up in despair, if the goals feel too difficult to reach.

If this happens to you, shift your focus from the end goal to the small steps that are needed to reach it. Ask yourself: What small step can I do right now to achieve my goal?

To lose 10 kg in weight, the small step may be to have a salad for lunch today instead a jam-doughnut. To get fit enough to run a marathon race, the small step may be to go for a walk at lunchtime today, rather than answering e-mails at your desk.

5. Reach out to others

Reach out to give help to others, and also ask for help from others. During tough times helping other people ends up helping yourself through the good feelings it creates.

Many people however are reluctant to ask for help during tough times. This often leads to the problem worsening. If this happens to you, try changing your mindset by saying things like: Strong people ask for help early on; weak people hide their problems.

These five actions will help you achieve balance in tough times. The positive feelings that are produced, create an open mindset with creative energy, which is great for problem solving. The overall result is not only an enhancement of your resilience, but an increase in your happiness too.

Watch out for the next Building Resilience Newsletter in two weeks time for the other five actions.