Ariel Gore, a journalist, memoirist, novelist, nonfiction author, teacher, and the founding editor/publisher of Hip Mama, an Alternative Press Award-winning publication covering the culture and politics of motherhood, once said,
“In all of my looking at happiness, one thing I noticed right away is that the opposite of happiness isn’t unhappiness or even depression, it’s anxiety. It is something that can constantly block our happiness, or our chance to reach that sort of meditative state in our work or our home lives.”
Finding bliss in the workplace, though hard to achieve, is not impossible. If one will just be willing to think out of the box, to be eager to change and adapt, and to sincerely desire to do what it takes to have a relatively heavenly work life, then a heavenly workplace may just be around the corner for most of us.
For most people, the idea of being happy at work is inconceivable because we have been conditioned by the media, by our friends, our family, our schools, and the community that the concepts of happiness and work cannot be reconciled. As a result, there is a prevailing misconception that we need to feel miserable at the workplace because misery is akin to productivity and efficiency. The stressful our lives at work are, the better because it means that we have been working hard. The tendency for us, then, is to look for external factors that would make us feel good about our employments instead of trying to find joy in our very workplaces themselves. If you are finding yourself nodding to this line of reasoning, then you will need to stop waiting for someone or something to make your life in the office better and try to take action instead. If you need to make a change in your life, open your mind and consider the suggestions that I will present.
The first thing to do if you want to be happy is to desire to be happy. You have to want and choose to be happy in the workplace. This may sound simple yet, if you decide to follow this advice, you will find that such is in fact a daunting task because it is way easier to be miserable than happy. Even before you go to work, decide that you would do your utmost to focus on the positive aspects of your job, all the things you like or love about your work, and all the reasons why you decided to apply for your position a long time ago. Also consider other positive aspects at work such as the colleagues who make you smile or laugh, the camaraderie of the group, the memorable outings and activities that you have enjoyed. Be thankful for the job that has supported your financial needs as well as your family’s. Life is good and it is such a blessing to be alive.
One of the reasons why an employee finds it hard to be happy in the workplace is because of professional resentment. Everybody wants to be promoted, recognized, praised, and given importance. It has therefore become a common practice for employees to compete with each other and to claw their way up the corporate ladder. Unfortunately for such employees, there can only be one Chairman of the Board, President, CEO, Senior Partner, or General Manager. The solution? Strive to develop yourself and take charge of such development! Who can you trust with your advancement but yourself? Specify your needs and act on them. If you’ll need to ask for some help from your supervisor or co-workers, be precise on your requests because only you can see the bigger picture for yourself. Set professionals goals, no matter how small, and stick to them until you have achieved them. And guess what? When your boss notices your drive and focus, he just might give you the help, boost, or promotion that you have been aiming for all along. Do not just go with the flow but you should be anchored to the path that you have chosen for yourself.
Knowledge is power. Employees are easily swayed by rumors and trends in the office because they do not know what is truly happening in the company. Workers desire to be kept in the loop especially about new possibilities in the workplace, new career opportunities, or new departments that are being created. If you want to be happy and contented, see to it that you know your office surroundings. Develop your information network and use it as often as possible. Do not wait for people to update you or inform you especially about advancement opportunities that they themselves can benefit from. Seek and identify the people who usually know the things going on and constantly talk to them.
Never make commitments that you can keep. Failing to deliver on a commitment is a major source of stress and anxiety. The best way to go about this is to setup your own system that will track and record your activities at work so you would know or predict if you could realistically finish a project within its timeframe. If you are not sure if you have the time to remotely finish a job, don’t volunteer just to impress your boss or to make yourself important. Take on the tasks that you can accomplish efficiently and on time. That way, you will not be stressed, you will have a reputation of reliability and efficiency, and you will feel extremely happy with yourself.
Avoid negativity. Try to distance yourself from complainers and pessimists in the office. Sidestep gossips and conversations that only waste your time but build up negativity but, instead, try to listen to music that soothes your soul. You can even discreetly hum or sing to lift your spirits. This way, you can set the mood of your day so that it would be difficult for people and circumstances to bring you down.
Look for challenges and compete with yourself. If you find that competing with yourself is difficult, secretly compete with a worthy officemate. Just keep it to yourself, though. Identifying challenges and overcoming them will surely boost your morale and self-esteem. Create a purpose or meaning in your work and be motivated by it.
Take frequent breaks, get up, and move around. Any activity that needs to be done for more than one hour also needs constant break to get your mind on something else. Going on short walks to keep the blood flowing will do wonders in keeping your mind active and increasing your productivity. Remember that a stationary body leads to a stationary mind and you will be prone to burn-out if you refuse to get a breather once in a while. Also, staying idle in a position for too long may lead to degenerative disease in the muscles. That, I’m sure, will not make you happy.
Lastly, lend a helping hand if you can. Getting out of your usual routine and doing something good for others will not only give you a sense of accomplishment but will also make you an enjoyable workmate. Small, simple gestures of goodwill and kindness will go a long way. To be truly happy, make other people happy as well. Be a blessing to others and you will be blessed.