The happiness we experience can be influenced by our work.
So, in this article, you’ll learn why happiness at work matters, what research says about happiness and work, and how to increase satisfaction at work.
To my surprise, half of the population hates their jobs. And when you dislike your job, it can significantly impact your mental health, personal life, and relationships.
Your work becomes the primary topic of conversation, and negative feelings permeate your interactions.
There have been two times when I absolutely hated my work, and it wasn’t so much the work I was doing as it was the people I was doing it with.
My life became better when I chose instead to create my own destiny as an entrepreneur, which I did for 10+ years, and built the largest natural parenting store in Southern California, along with exceptional employees.
And today, I’ve created bliss in my work life by doing work I love as a solopreneur.
Side note: I’ll write more on creating your own work-life for those who want to work for themselves and enjoy that freedom and flexibility.
However, for this article, let’s dive into improving happiness at work so it becomes much easier to sustain your happiness.
What are the psychological effects of hating your job?
Hating your job causes mental health risks, stress, difficulty sleeping, reduces life satisfaction and productivity, and can even affect your relationship.
Mental Health Risks: People unhappy with their jobs are more likely to experience mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Increased Stress: Feeling dissatisfied and unhappy at work can lead to higher stress levels. This can harm your body and overall well-being, including problems with your heart and immune system.
Sleep Troubles: Unhappiness at work can also disrupt your sleep. Poor job satisfaction is associated with inferior sleep quality, affecting your mental health, thinking abilities, and how well you function during the day.
Lower Life Satisfaction: When unhappy at work, it can spill over into other areas of your life and decrease your overall satisfaction and happiness.
Reduced Productivity: Feeling unhappy at work can make you less productive and perform poorly. This can lead to being physically present but mentally checked out, harming your performance.
Strained Relationships and Burnout: Unhappiness at work can strain your relationships at work and in your personal life. It can also contribute to burnout, which is feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by work, which can negatively affect your mental and emotional health.
Basically, it robs you of sustainable happiness. So, what can be done to make you happier at work? Let’s talk about it.
Why is it important to love your job?
When you feel happy, it can do amazing things for your work. Positive emotions like joy and gratitude actually help your brain work better. They make you more creative, help you think flexibly, and solve problems more efficiently.
Positive emotions also make your mind more open and adaptable (cognitive flexibility). And you approach tasks and challenges more flexibly and creatively, which allows you to handle changes, work well with others, and develop new ideas.
Having positive emotions can also make you more resilient. Resilience means being able to bounce back from setbacks and positively handle stress. For example, when you experience positive emotions at work helps you stay positive even when things don’t go as planned.
When you feel good, building solid relationships with your colleagues is easier. You feel like you belong and have positive interactions with them. This sense of connection and belonging contributes to overall job satisfaction and happiness.
So, yes, those positive emotions, when you love your job powerfully impact your work life. They broaden your thinking, make you more flexible, boost your resilience, and strengthen your social connections.
42 Proven Strategies to Increase Happiness at Work and Foster a Positive Workplace
“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor flips our usual way of thinking about happiness and success. Instead of believing that success brings joy, Achor shows us that pleasure can lead to more success.
Using research and examples, he shares seven principles that can help us be happier and more productive in our daily lives.
It’s a book that teaches you how to find joy in the present moment and improve your overall well-being.
He has published several books on positive psychology, including “The Happiness Advantage” and “Big Potential.” In addition, his TED talk titled “The happy secret to better work” is one of the most popular of all time, with millions of views.
Here are the seven principles from “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor:
1. Choose Happiness: Make a conscious choice to prioritize happiness and focus on the positive aspects of your life.
2. Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a regular gratitude practice by identifying and appreciating the good things in your life.
3. Reframe Your Mindset: Shift your perspective and reframe challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
4. Cultivate Positive Relationships: Nurture and invest in meaningful connections with others, fostering a supportive and uplifting social network.
5. Engage in Meaningful Activities: Find purpose and meaning in your daily activities by aligning them with your values and passions.
6. Take Care of Your Physical Health: Prioritize self-care, exercise, and healthy habits to support overall well-being and boost happiness.
7. Practice Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to cultivate present-moment awareness and reduce stress.
33 additional strategies for becoming happier at work based on happiness research:
8. Separate Personal from Professional: Step into your work with mindfulness. Leave your worries at the door and immerse yourself fully in the present moment at work.
9. Create Your Sacred Space: View your workspace as your sanctuary. Fill it with warmth and personal touches that bring comfort and motivation, reflecting your inner peace.
10. Nourish Your Body: Honor your body by consuming healthy food and water. This practice supports your physical well-being, significantly influencing your energy levels and overall mood at work.
11. Embrace Organization: Create a schedule to manage and stick to. The order and structure will empower you, leading to greater job satisfaction.
12. Accept Your Coworkers: Practice acceptance towards your colleagues. Instead of attempting to change their behaviors, focus on transforming your responses.
13. Reward Yourself: Indulge in rewarding activities outside of work. The joy you derive from these experiences can positively influence your mood at work, creating a harmonious work-life balance.
14. Breathe: Engage in mindful breathing exercises. This practice helps in managing stress and maintaining a tranquil state of mind.
15. Focus on Positivity: Seek and cherish the joy in your work. By maintaining a positive outlook, you can significantly enhance your work experience.
16. Find Meaning in Your Work: Acknowledge your work’s higher purpose. Embrace the fulfillment that comes from contributing to a more significant cause.
17. Celebrate Your Achievements: Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. This recognition can foster a sense of accomplishment and positivity.
18. Participate in Corporate Giving: Consider contributing if your workplace supports a corporate charity. Giving back nurtures a sense of fulfillment and enhances job satisfaction.
19. Take Regular Breaks: Honor your needs by taking breaks to refresh and recharge. These pauses can improve your overall well-being and productivity.
20. Seek Constructive Feedback: Invite feedback from your colleagues and superiors. Constructive criticism can provide valuable insights for personal and professional growth.
21. Take the initiative: If autonomy motivates you, consider proactively seeking additional responsibilities. Owning aspects of projects can increase job satisfaction.
22. Maintain Work-Life Balance: Strive for a balance that allows for relaxation after work. For example, advocating for flexible work arrangements and personal time off can enhance happiness.
23. Stay Hydrated: Keep your body and mind nourished by staying hydrated throughout the day. This simple act can improve mental clarity, focus, and, subsequently, your happiness at work.
24. Personalize Your Workspace: Infuse your workspace with your personal touch, be it through photos, plants, or objects that inspire you. Such personalization enhances your sense of comfort and creative expression.
25. Prioritize Nutritious Meals: Honor your body by choosing nourishing meals over convenient but unhealthy snacks. This practice can leave you feeling energized and focused.
26. Utilize Paid Time Off: Use your earned leave to rejuvenate and refresh. Breaking from routine can boost your mental well-being, leading to greater happiness upon returning to work.
27. Set Rewards for Milestones: Establish a personal reward system for specific milestones or project completions. Such rewards can make the work process more enjoyable and gratifying.
28. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Manager: Cultivate a positive rapport with your manager. Open lines of communication can provide support and opportunities for growth within the company.
29. Engage in Committees and Projects: Take an active part in workplace initiatives that align with your interests. These initiatives allow you to contribute beyond your daily tasks, providing a more profound sense of fulfillment.
30. Maximize Office Perks and Benefits: Avail of any workplace perks or benefits your company offers. Such bonuses are designed to enhance your happiness and appreciation at work.
31. Prioritize Quality Sleep: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule to ensure you’re well-rested. Quality sleep improves focus, creativity, and overall well-being, positively influencing your happiness and productivity at work.
32. Set Clear Goals: Defining and setting clear, challenging goals for yourself can enhance your work performance and satisfaction. Make sure these goals align with your capabilities and interests.
33. Customize Your Job to Align with Your Strengths and Interests. This can make your work feel more personally meaningful and satisfying.
34. Actively Learn and Develop: Pursue opportunities for learning and development. This can foster a sense of achievement and make work more rewarding.
35. Promote Work-Life Integration: Maintaining work and personal life balance can boost job satisfaction and reduce stress. Advocate for flexibility to support your individual needs and commitments.
36. Seek Feedback Constructively: Regular, constructive feedback can help you improve and grow. Be bold and ask for feedback from colleagues and supervisors.
37. Practice Optimism: A positive mindset can help you overcome challenges and see opportunities. Try to cultivate an attitude of optimism at work.
38. Develop Resilience: Building resilience can help you cope with challenges and bounce back from setbacks.
39. Adopt a Growth Mindset: Believing that you can develop and improve your abilities can make work more satisfying and less stressful. Therefore, create a growth mindset in your approach to work.
40. Engage in Creative Tasks: Creative activities can stimulate your brain and make work more enjoyable. Look for opportunities to incorporate creativity into your role.
41. Seek Meaningful Challenges: Look for opportunities to engage in challenging and meaningful projects or tasks. Taking on stimulating and meaningful tasks can increase your motivation and happiness in your work.
42. Create Personalized Rituals: Develop personalized rituals or routines that bring you joy and help create a positive work environment. It could be starting your day with a calming ritual, such as listening to uplifting music, practicing meditation, or incorporating small moments of self-care throughout the day. Combining these rituals into your workday can infuse it with positivity and enhance your overall happiness.
You deserve to be happy at work. Use a few of these strategies to increase happiness to sustain it both in and out of your work life.