5 Ways to Be Happier at Work
By the time you retire, you’ll spend an average of 90,000 hours at work over the course of your life. So it’s not at all surprising that job related stresses have a way of bleeding into your time with family and friends.
They also can impact productivity at work, but unhealthy work-related stress doesn’t have to be something you settle for, say experts.
“Placing health and wellbeing at the heart of a business strategy makes perfect sense - it will help to improve productivity, improve staff retention and reduce presenteeism,” says Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organizational psychology and health at the University of Manchester and one of the UK’s leading organizational psychologists. “There are so many factors within the workplace that can impact an individual’s wellbeing and their performance at work. And as the world around us continues to change it is important that business leaders look, learn and adapt to the way the world of work is evolving.”
Despite the long hours and deadlines and all the other headaches that can accompany a job, researchers say there are some ways to make you happier in your job and cut back on that stress. And the good news is they’re not that hard to achieve.
- Don’t isolate: We all suffered from isolation during the heart of the pandemic. And that adjusted the way we work and socialize. But relationships form a support system that’s critical for happiness, often offering a different perspective that makes problems less serious. And having someone in your corner can give you a big self-esteem boost, which greatly increases happiness.
- Avoid labels: Declaring something like a task or a coworker as good or bad impacts your mental attitude toward it. If you say an assignment is bad, you’ll resent having to work on it at some level. If you try to fool yourself into thinking a project is good when you don’t truly believe that, the self-deception will eat away at any manufactured happy thoughts. Instead, accept situations as they are. And realize that some things that begin as bad eventually transform into good, or even great, opportunities.
- Set goals: Having something to strive for adds to a sense of self purpose. Ryan Howell, a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, found that a goal, even an ambitious one that might cause short term stress, makes workers happier on a daily basis and over the long term. Whether you reach that goal or not is immaterial. It’s about the effort, which lets you improve yourself, whether via learning a new skill or moving beyond your comfort zone.
- Get up and move: It’s easy to be locked to a desk all day. There’s always another project that needs your attention. And the tsunami of unanswered emails never seems to stop. But if you make a point to incorporate some physical activity into your work day, whether it’s going to an exercise class or just taking a walk at lunch (instead of once again sitting at your desk), that will give you the mental space to sort out things that are bothering you, ultimately making you happier. The physical fitness effects are just a bonus.
- Kick butts: The negative physical health effects of smoking or excessive alcohol or coffee consumption are well known. But using those crutches to help shoulder the stresses of the day ultimately brings down your overall happiness, even if it feels like they’re making you happier in the moment.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.