It shouldn’t be surprising to know that being happy has positive benefits across the board. Happy people are more likely to have stronger relationships—both personally and professional. They’re more likely to be healthier, both mentally and physically, and they’re even more likely to accomplish more at work. In one study, it was found that happy workers are 13% more productive workers than their unhappy counterparts.
Most of us feel happy at work when
- we feel like what we are doing has a purpose/is beneficial to others.
- we feel like our efforts are appreciated and acknowledged.
- we work with other people we enjoy.
- we believe we’re getting compensated fairly.
- we feel like there’s a clear career progression.
If you constantly feel like you want to quit your job for one reason or another, it may be time to take a look at what you can control: yourself. It’s not an option for everyone to quit a job they don’t enjoy. You may be “putting in the time” in the hopes of getting a promotion or the job market may be so volatile that you want to stay where you are. In the meantime, it’s not a good look if you spend every moment of your day miserable.
You may find though that putting in a conscious effort to be happier may actually help you be happy. Sometimes we mistake an external circumstance for an internal sense of unease. Your attitude may need to change, not your job.
Here are six tips to for how to be happy at work regardless of your situation.
- Practice being present.
When tasks become so automatic and mechanical that we tune out and think of other things while we’re doing them, then we stop noticing what’s going on around us. Numerous studies reflect that being present, even on the most mundane of tasks, can increase our enjoyment of them. It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of times you’ve done something, try being present to every aspect of it.
2. Freshen your space.
Even if it’s not spring, take some time to spruce up your workspace. Throw away unnecessary paper, or find a proper place for it, even if that means actually putting together a filing system. The aphorism “a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind” is particularly apt, so freshen and clear your space. Consider bringing in special mementos that remind you of things you enjoy: a picture of your last beach vacation, for example, or an orchid.
3. Cut down on multi-tasking.
When you’re trying to juggle multiple tasks, it’s more than likely that you’re doing all of those tasks only half-well. You’re also likely stressing yourself out in the process. Instead, take the time to do one thing at a time. Maybe even schedule when to do specific tasks, like checking your e-mail only a few times a day when you’re trying to knock out a major project.
4. Take breaks.
When you find yourself stuck on something, take a 15 minute break. Stand up and take a walk. Look out the window. Grab another cup of coffee. Water your plant. Join the discussion around the water cooler, or ask a colleague how their weekend was. Once the time is up, return to your desk and the task you left. Regular breaks might seem like a time-waster, but they often let you return with fresh eyes.
5. Help others.
It’s been proven that helping others makes you feel happier. When you’re feeling helpless, powerless, or burned out, pivoting to help someone else, even if it’s a small act of kindness, can help you feel better about yourself and your work situation.
6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
In research on gratitude, there’s a direct correlation between gratitude and happiness. The more grateful you are, the happier you are.
Even if your job isn’t your favorite right now, before you sit down to answer e-mails, consider taking out a piece of paper or your phone and writing or typing five things you’re grateful for about work. Your list can start small: I have health insurance. I have a steady paycheck, etc. As you get used to this practice, you’ll discover that you’ll find more and more things to be grateful for throughout the day, which help improve your attitude overall.
Cultivating happiness is a practice that will serve you well.
If you discover through doing the above tips that it IS your job that needs to change, or possibly even your entire career, then consider your strong and weak ties, and update your resume!