How to be Happier at Work in 7 steps


Happiness, joy, and fulfillment: Now, this may be a general assumption, but I presume that in your life you value these things; they are, after all, pretty universal desires. And this may be another assumption, but unless you are finding happiness, joy, and fulfillment in your workday, you are probably not entirely satisfied with your job. As a matter of fact, Americans are not only dissatisfied, but are increasingly unhappy at work according to a recent Gallup poll.

I’m not suggesting that you pick up the phone and tell your boss you’re quitting right now; I’m merely suggesting that by changing your attitude and your relationship with what you do, you can change your satisfaction at work. You might even learn to enjoy your job. And if you’re sitting there saying “I don’t need to enjoy my work—I enjoy my life outside of my work.” Well, maybe this will motivate you: According to Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success, people who are happier at work tend to…

  • Get promoted more.
  • Earn more.
  • Get more support.
  • Generate better and more creative ideas
  • Achieve goals faster
  • Interact better with colleagues and bosses
  • Receive superior reviews
  • Learn more
  • Achieve greater success
  • Are healthier

So check out these 7 ways to become happier at work—earn more, learn more, and spend your entire day with happiness, joy, and fulfillment; not just some of it.

1)   Choose to be happy at work. Now some of you may be sitting there saying, “well it’s not that easy,” or “I can’t just choose to feel a certain way…” STOP! What you’re doing right now is justifying your negativity. Do you want to be unhappy at work? Maybe some part of you does, which is the only reason you would hold onto those excuses in the first place. Once you really and truly decide to be happy at work, simply make the decision and fake it till you make it. Eventually you’re acting happy at work—being positive, being helpful, making others at work happy—will become your reality. So, if you want happiness, first you have to choose it.
2)   Identify the “Debbie Downers” at work. Sometimes certain colleagues are like a dark raincloud in a cartoon. You probably know who they are—to put it simply, they just give you a “bad vibe.” So limit your interaction with these people if you can, and if you can’t, don’t let their negativity drag you down. Counter their “bad vibes” with your positive ones, move on, and don’t dwell on it.

3)   Don’t Be a Debbie Downer. If you find yourself constantly talking about negative things with your colleagues—the economy, the stock market, cut in pay, or anything that makes you feel anything but good—stop! You might need to know about these things for your job, but you certainly don’t need to dwell on it. Be mindful when you speak. Rather than contributing something negative to the conversation, spin things around to something positive. “I hear your son just graduated from college—congratulations!” “How is your new baby?” “So a guy walks into a bar…” Just push those buttons that will make people smile, and you will be smiling too.

4)   Only make the commitments that you can keep. Much of the stress we experience at work (and in life in general) is from simply taking on too much. Don’t feel pressured to please everyone around you in the office and be realistic with yourself about how much you can take on without feeling overwhelmed. If you have to tell someone “no,”

don’t beat yourself up about it. People will appreciate your honesty, and probably also appreciate that you didn’t attempt to do a job halfheartedly when you were overbooked.

5)   Make Friends. People are social creatures by nature, and so if you pride yourself on being “independent,” “solitary” or “doing everything on your own,” well, you’re only hurting yourself. Believe me. I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking this way and refusing to let people in, especially at work. It isn’t worth it! Make friends at work and your days will be so much lighter, no matter what your job is.

6)   Get outside during your lunch break. It’s easy to feel a little like a caged animal at work if you’re inside all day, somake it a point to get outside for at least a little while every day. Even better? Take a walk and get your blood flowing. We all know how important exercise is and even just a quick walk during lunch is better than nothing. You’ll come back feeling invigorated. Check out some more ideas to illuminate that midday work stress here.

7)   Eat sensibly and regularly. It is easy to fall into poor eating habits at work—especially if you have coffee or sweets available to you all day. But do your best to stick to a routine: eat at regular intervals, eat healthy snacks during the day to keep up your energy (ex: nuts, fruits, seeds, dried fruit, veggies, etc.), steer clear of sugary treats that will make you crash later (coffee, candy, cookies), and stay away from a high fat, super-filling lunch, which will just make you sleepy. You know your body better than anyone else—eat the things that energize you and make you feel good. Don’t let yourself get “hangry” at work. (Something I’m told happens to me—I get angry when I’m too hungry = hangry. Feel free to use it.) Check out these inexpensive and healthy ideas for your work meals and snacks.

And hey, if you try all of that and you still don’t enjoy your work, well, maybe it’s time to think about switching jobs or even starting your own business.

What are you willing to no longer do to achieve happiness in your workday?

Photos Courtesy of: gcoldironjr2003Pink Sherbet PhotographyEditor Boddsock,



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