23 Ways to Be Happier At Work
By Anthony Hughes
Do you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning?
Have the “Sunday Blues” become the “Sunday to Thursday” blues?
Then it’s time to do something about it.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to be happier…
1. Ask for more.
Is your job mind-numbingly boring? Or just outrageously easy? Want more responsibility?
Speak to your boss and ask for more/ more challenging work.
Just do more. Pick up more tasks and/ or come up with your own projects.*
Don’t sit around waiting for something to change, you have to take action.
*Obviously, pick things that actually benefit the business.
2. Get some (proper) rest.
I know how quickly good intentions can go down the drain when it comes to “bedtime.”
But you’re not you when you’re tired!
You do not simply have to find out what happened to Rick and the gang tonight and chances are; that Facebook message can wait until the morning.
Set a curfew to switch off Netflix, disable social media notifications and turn your phone on silent.
If you start getting into a regular sleeping pattern, you’ll feel fresher and happier for it.
3. Just smile.
Did you know that the very act of smiling could trick your body into thinking you’re genuinely happy?
Try it?! Fake a smile and see if your mood improves.
4. Eat properly.
Are you the kind of person who binge-eats when they’re feeling a little bit rough? (I am too).
Don’t do it.
Gorging on unhealthy, greasy and heavy food may make you feel better for about 10 minutes (during consumption) but afterwards you’ll be left feeling guilty, lethargic and bloated.
5. Be in the “now.”
Are you one of those people who constantly look back; remembering all of the “terrible,” embarrassing and cringe-worthy things you’ve ever done and said with a shudder?
Or are you the kind of person who’s always thinking ahead: “ye but what if..?”
STOP! Be present in the now. People who are constantly looking into the past and predicting the future can never truly understand and appreciate what’s happening now.
6. Think of the happiest things.
And when you do slip into a memory or a daydream, why not slip into a lovely, happy one?
What are you grateful for? What makes you smile? What’s good about you?
There are people out there who are worse off than you, but happier. Because they choose to be.
7. Dress to impress.
Feeling stuck in a rut? You’d be surprised how much a quick make-over can make a difference.
It’s not vanity, it is pride; looking great on the outside can make you feel great on the inside.
And, if you walk in dressed to impress, you’re also likely to get some great compliments, which will obviously go down pretty well too!
8. BE WEIRD.
Yep, you read that right me.
We all have to act professionally at work, stifling some of our more weird tendencies, so sometimes to break that tension and cheer ourselves up; it can help to get a little bit weird! (In private).
- Do a little dance.
- Pull some funny faces at yourself.
- Talk to yourself.
- Change all of your passwords to funny words.
Come on, if you did a little dance in the toilet, surely you’d laugh at yourself?
9. Make FRIENDS!
Human beings are sociable.
It’s in our nature to seek comfort and support from others.
So stop being a miserable bugger; sit with people at lunch time, strike up a conversation and attend the social events — you might just find a best friend for life.
And you know what? Work friends are the BEST kind of friends.
10. Don’t make friends with the wrong people.
You should make friends! But don’t let yourself get swept up in drama, gossip, a “clique” or any other such nastiness.
Thing is; this kind of thing happens quite a lot in offices and it’s because, on a superficial level it feels good to be “part of a gang,” with power and influence.
But it’s just awful for your long-term mental health, your relationships with others and your career.
11. Ban social media throughout the day.
Hate to say it; but social media can be so negative!
Even if it’s not aimed at you personally, there are so many articles, posts and pictures out there which are specifically designed to cause aggro and negativity.
Perhaps it would help to just ban it for the day and see whether your mood improves?
12. Create a “Happy List.”
I’ve talked about the happy list before. It’s basically a collection of the nice things clients, co-workers and managers have said about you.
Store it somewhere safe, add to it when you receive any praise and when you’re feeling glum, have a read. Such positivity can really boost your mood and self-esteem.
13. Have a break.
Taking little breaks (even just ten minutes) will boost your productivity, increase your happiness and essentially help you to get more done. So stop using “I’m too busy” as an excuse!
Here are some things you could do that will boost your mood (and productivity):
- Watch a funny video.
- Play a game.
- Look at puppy pictures. (Or kittens, whatever floats your boat).
- Read some positivity quotes or inspirational articles.
- Take a trip down memory lane and check out some old photos.
All of the above, although they appear to be procrastination techniques, will actually boost your morale, happiness and productivity.
14. Plan some fun!
The best way to get through the day is to have something (or some things) to look forward to!
Whether it’s an upcoming holiday, evening class or party at the weekend — make sure you always have something fun on the horizon.
15. Do something for someone else.
“Kindness is a language that everyone understands.” Mark Twain
And being kind to others will make YOU happier.
Even a teeny-tiny act of goodwill towards a colleague could really cheer them up and in the process boost your own mood!
Check out our 25 favourite ways to spread goodwill at your office!
16. Be altruistic.
And of course, it’s not just your co-workers who would appreciate a little act of kindness.
Giving some money to or helping out a charity will really help you to…
- Gain perspective. How lucky are you really, compared to others?
- Feel happier and like you’re making a real difference to the world.
- Whilst helping a great cause.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
17. Stop comparing yourself to others.
If you can relate your own success and happiness to other people, you’ll never be content.
For example: ‘oh I just got a promotion — I should celebrate — but Jane’s still on a better salary than me so I don’t know why I’m getting so chuffed… I’ll just turn this positive into a negative instead.’
(For most of us) there will ALWAYS be someone better off, more successful and supposedly, more accomplished.
So you’re going to live a very hard and stressful life, filled with disappointment, if you constantly compare yourself to other people. So just stop.
18. Find a new passion.
You don’t have to be mega-passionate about your career to be happy. For some, having a stable job that brings home the bacon is more than enough.
However, you should aim to have some passions in life; things that you love doing, that challenge you and ultimately help you to escape and be happy.
- Do you have a hobby?
- Ever wanted to learn a language?
- Are you passionate about travelling?
You only get one life, so you need to enjoy it.
19. Treat yourself.
Ok, this might sound a little bit odd, treating yourself like some kind of pet.
But if it works, it works.
Studies have shown that rewarding yourself after finishing a task will increase your productivity (and it’ll obviously cheer you up)!
Your treat doesn’t have to be anything huge; something as simple as a little break (see point 13) or a snack or a cup of tea will do the trick.
20. Listen to music.
Music can absolutely affect your mood — in a good or a bad way.
So (if it’s allowed at your office) whack on some earphones, pick an upbeat playlist and watch your mood (and productivity) soar!
Tip: I tend to choose music depending on the task at hand. When I’m writing, I can’t cope with lyrics (as they distract me)!
21. Be thankful, often.
Gratitude will distract you from your own bad mood and remembering the good things will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So, get out there and say thanks to a colleague, friend or family member.
22. Identify the problem…
…and change it.
Don’t stick around at a job you hate for years whilst moaning away your days — look for a new one.
If you want to learn some new skills and improve yourself and career options — just do it.
Seize the day and make changes that will help to boost your positivity and general happiness.
Make yourself feel at home, at work. Bring in some decorations to spruce up your office.
Photographs of loved ones will always put a smile on your face — but you can add all sorts of other things too, from funny ornaments and colourful stationery to comedy calendars and plants.
Ok, I’m going to end on a slightly more serious note.
If you’re really not happy at work and you can’t seem to pull yourself out of the funk, then you should take a long hard think about your career. Are you doing the right thing?
I’ve met many, many candidates who admit (and regret) that they’ve left it far too long to start looking for a new job, usually because it’s easier to hang around and hope for the best.
Live life, like it’s the only one you’ve got.
Want to read more like this? Check out the rest of our blog here.
Anthony is a recruitment veteran of 18 years and is also one of the original founders of Coburg Banks. He now trains recruitment consultants on the best methods to utilise when sourcing and assessing applicants for their clients.