How to be happy at work
Are you stressed and unhappy at work? Often overbearing bosses, unrealistic workloads, and short deadlines can make you feel demotivated and leave you lacking the time and willpower to get things done. This can increase your unhappiness at work and make you dread getting out of bed in the morning. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone as studies have shown that across 180 million employees, only “13 percent…worldwide are happily engaged at work”.
Clearly, people need help and advice to make their working days happier. From my experience as a therapist, I have come to learn the most common things that cause workers to stress out. And, having applied my tips and advice into their life, they have seen a boost in happiness. The following tips are some that I offer in my therapy, that can help decrease your unhappiness at work. By taking this advice, you can see a vast change in your mood, and bring back your drive to work hard once again.
Have a sense of meaning
You can never find true happiness at work if there is no sense of meaning. When you understand there is a purpose behind what you do, your unhappiness at work can decrease. This is backed by research by Wharton School Management professor and psychologist Adam Grant. He found that “employees who know how their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don’t; they are vastly more productive too.” This doesn’t mean you have to become a teacher or work for a charity in order to be happy at work. You have to find how doing your job helps others, even if it isn’t directly linked to what you do.
For example, your career may provide your family with a good lifestyle or you may have the weekends off to spend with them.
Make your office comfortable
If you want to decrease your unhappiness at work, focus on making your office or desk a relaxing environment where you actually want to be. By decorating your workspace to make it more personal and homely you can eliminate any alienation you may feel. Bringing photos of your family, your favourite mug, and a pillow for your chair can make a great difference. Little things that remind you of home can make you feel more relaxed and decrease the stress you feel. This means you can get more work done, as you can find it easier to stay focused during the day and when you go home you can concentrate on relaxing.
Leave your personal problems at Home
Heading to work with personal problems on your mind can increase your unhappiness at work. Julie Morgenstern, author of ‘Time Management From the Inside Out’ said that “when your personal life is in turmoil, a lot of emotional hijacking goes on. Emotions consume you and stress exhausts you”. Your work day will feel never-ending to you and you won’t be able to focus on your work as you watch the clock.
To decrease any unhappiness at work that you feel, make sure that you leave your personal problems at home. This can be harder than it sounds but if you are struggling with issues in your family life look for ways to resolve them whilst you aren’t working. There is no point in dwelling on them through the day. Make sure you go to work with a positive attitude and no worries. This will mean you can get through your work more effectively, not leaving you extra work to take home.
Take a breather
It can be easy to get exhausted at work. With big workloads and deadlines causing you stress and late nights, you need time to take a break. If you are exhausted at work and struggling to sleep, then your work could be less creative and professional because you can’t focus properly. Your emotions can also become warped and you may start to find that you are feeling more irritable. If your colleagues seem a little more argumentative or annoying than usual, this could be due to lack of sleep clouding your thoughts and feelings and making a big deal out of actions that you previously accepted as normal. Keeping your relationships with colleagues professional and respectful is an important part of any profession and stress can lead you to say rash things that the relaxed you would never say.
Taking a holiday or an extra couple of days off work can give you the time you need to return to a calmer mindset and get into a better sleeping pattern. Some time to yourself away from the work environment can also clear your head. This will make things easier when you go back to work. Your fresh perspective can help you to get organized and tackle your work issues head-on.
Eat healthily and stay hydrated
A further way to decrease your unhappiness at work is to keep a healthy lifestyle. Begin the day with a big, healthy breakfast as this will boost your mood. When you’re in work avoid buying a cheap, unhealthy lunch and instead bring in your own homemade nutritious food. Avoid vending machines for snacks and keep pieces of fruit on hand in case you feel hungry. A healthier diet will help you to improve your attitude and increase your energy. This means you’re more open to working in a team and completing your daily tasks. A balanced diet can give you the energy to get your work done without feeling drained and exhausted at the end of the day.
Organisation is one of the easiest ways to increase your happiness at work. A disorganised and messy desk can put you into the wrong mindset and even ruin your day. You may be constantly looking for missing work, pens or paper which can really stress you out and waste your precious time. A clean desk will make your work, and day, go much quicker. Moreover, a clear plan for each day makes your mind less hectic and stressful. Knowing what you’re going to do for the day makes everything move smoothly, decreasing your chances of being unhappy. It can also be useful to move your “To do list” online with tools like Trello or Wunderlist. By doing this you always have a clear daily plan that is easily accessible, and it can prevent you from cluttering your desk or searching for handwritten reminders.
When things go well at work or you complete a difficult task, you should reward yourself. It doesn’t even have to be a big achievement. Even if something small makes you feel accomplished you should treat yourself. Anything from a new pair of shoes to a pint with a friend can be a reward. Rewards can boost your mood and make you more excited to go to work and complete more tasks. As you find yourself becoming more confident and hard-working, you should raise the level of expectations. This will make work like a challenge for you as you try to hit your targets each day, week or month.
Reflect at therapy
Another tip is to speak to someone outside your social circle about your unhappiness at work. Therapists will provide a fresh perspective on the issues that cause you stress and provide professional advice. Having spoken with similar people to yourself, they can give you tips that can really help to increase happiness. Each meeting is personal and tailored to the specific issues that cause you stress and anxiety.
People often avoid therapy because they feel ashamed. But therapy should have no shame or fear surrounding it. Life can be stressful for everyone, and often people need help to work through their issues. Asking for advice and help – or even just someone to listen – can help to decrease your stress and find methods of managing your feelings in the future.
Taking these tips into consideration can really decrease your unhappiness at work. Being happier at work can help improve your productivity, mental and physical health. As we work so many hours a week, it is important that we focus on making it a happy environment. If you think you can benefit from therapy, then contact me today to learn about how I could help you.