If you feel unhappy at work, you are not alone; work-related stress is one of the most common problems reported by working individuals.Some have demanding clients and constant, short deadlines. Others have bosses who are incompetent, unsympathetic or who expect subordinates to ignore or cover up unethical practices. Still, others simply don’t enjoy the work that they do, finding it boring, unfulfilling or meaningless.
If anything I just described sounds familiar, don’t assume that you need a new job to feel happier at work. Indeed, making an effort to improve your happiness, regardless of where you are employed, can yield beneficial workplace outcomes that once seemed out of reach.In fact, research suggests that, compared to those who are unhappy, happy people are better leaders, more productive, better at coping with stress, less likely to get sick and have higher salaries1. Although your job might be unbearable right now, trying some of the simple strategies below can transform your daily experience and give you a fresh start at work.
READ MORE: Off-the-Clock Work Stress
1. Write down 3 things that went well.
It might be difficult to imagine them, but focus on three good things that happened at work. Think carefully about your co-workers, where you work, the kind of work that you do or any other important details that remind you of the positive things about your job.One study done at an international technology company found that employees who recalled three positive, work-related events once a week for six weeks were happier, more motivated, more productive and more diligent, compared to employees who did not do this activity. Try this at the end of your workday or when you get home. If you need some inspiration, look no further than some of America’s worst jobs, and you might have a new-found appreciation for what you do!
2. Don’t take things personally.
It’s natural to feel hostility and resentment toward co-workers. This normally happens, because we take it personally if someone makes a rude comment or ignores our request for help. Remember that if you don’t like your job, your co-workers probably don’t either. Isn’t it hard to be courteous and professional day after day at a job you dislike? Nine times out of ten, it’s nothing personal if someone does something that upsets you.
Take a moment to remember a time when you did something that negatively affected someone else. Was that personal? If not, give someone else the benefit of the doubt, too.
READ MORE: Dealing With Difficult People
3. Mindfully observe your negative emotions.
It’s inevitable that you’ll experience unpleasant feelings such as frustration, anger, bitterness or jealousy in the workplace. Such emotions can make it difficult to perform well at your job. When experiencing a negative emotion, remember that you are separate from that feeling; it is not who you are!
For example, if you’re angry, mindfully observe the emotion from a distance, noting the way you feel. Take a moment at your desk or on a break to sit and breathe with your anger. You may find it helpful to think to yourself, “My dear anger, I know that you are there. I am taking good care of you.” Doing this for just a few minutes can drastically change how you experience your negative emotions; they won’t magically disappear, but mindful observation makes them much less likely to dominate your mind and ruin your day.
Most of us will ultimately spend an enormous portion of our lives at work. So, why not do what you can to feel good while you’re there? Even if you decide to find a new place to work, you can still enjoy the remainder of your time at your current job. Your workplace may not be very conducive to feeling overwhelming joy, but you are always capable of making the best out of an unfortunate situation. Use these techniques to boost your happiness and going to work Monday morning may not be so bad after all!