— By Salma El-Shurafa
Is it normal to hate your job?
Is it normal to not like your job and still continue doing it? Why do people stay even if they don’t like what they are doing? Why do some people always complain about every job they get?
People used to think that you don’t really have to love your job or be happy doing it in order to succeed. They say you just have to do it and you have to do it well.
However, studies on happiness in the workplace show that people who are happy at work are more productive. Happiness in the work area translates to employees working harder, which in turn results in higher quality of work. Having the right knowledge and skills will take you a long way, but the right attitude and mindset will make you stay.
So don’t ever think that your happiness is not important at all, because it is.
1. Work Now, Be Happy Later
Work is important because it gives us financial security, but more importantly, because it helps us grow and strive to be better. Some people sacrifice happiness over an opportunity to earn more. They have this mindset to work now to be happy later.
When you work only to earn and secure your future, you will not grow personally and professionally. When there is no growth, there is a sense of disappointment or frustration. This disappointment leads to a feeling of unhappiness or emptiness. As such, it is necessary to find your happiness no matter what kind of work you are doing.
You may not control what goes on in your workplace every day, but you have absolute control over how you will live each day. Take responsibility of your own happiness.
2. Happiness Is A Habit; Cultivate It
A habit is defined as a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly. When you make happiness a habit, it will become inherent to you. Develop a mindset that paves the way for you to be happy even if your day isn’t going well at work. Choose to be happy instead of allowing a bad event at work to reduce your quality of life.
Your happiness should not depend on other people or on circumstances that you have no control over. It is a choice and you should have the will to choose it.
3. Work On Your Growth
Work on your personal and professional growth. While most employees would agree that career improvement is an employer’s responsibility, you cannot discount the fact that you have the most gain from continuing to develop professionally. Take charge of your own growth and get that “never settle” attitude.
Attend a career development coaching session, study a short-term course online, or get certified for a new skill even if it is not organized by your company.
By working on improving yourself, you will have more confidence in yourself and you are more likely to enjoy the work you are doing. All of these lead to happiness at work.
4. Always Start Your Day Right
Don’t skip breakfast and avoid cramming. Eat a good breakfast with your cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy the aroma of your coffee. Whenever possible, get up earlier in the morning and appreciate the early morning sun and breath of fresh air. Take a quick walk around the neighborhood or do a 20-minute outdoor exercise. Research has shown that just 20 minutes of fresh air has been found to boost happiness and feelings of well-being.
5. It’s All In Your Head
A looming deadline. An unreasonable request from your boss or colleague. You can choose to feel stressed and anxious about these or you can simply accomplish the work that needs to be done.
You have a choice. You can either stress out or forge on.
If you let your negative emotions get the better of you, you will only be sucked into a vicious cycle.
On the other hand, if you recognize that you have the power to rein in your emotions, that you can accept responsibility instead of blaming others and external factors, you can keep your stress and anxiety at bay.
6. Be Totally Honest With Yourself
Examine why you are unhappy with your current circumstance. In order to do that, you have to be brutally frank with yourself. Look inward, examine your emotions and get to the root of the problem at hand.
By cultivating honesty and self-awareness, you will have a better understanding of your feelings and urges which undermine your happiness and productivity at work. Don’t make it harder than it ought to be.
7. Stop! You Are Not A Robot
It’s easy to get burned out during the workday especially if you have deadlines to catch. Take a minute, close your eyes, and breathe before you move on to your next tasks. Taking a short break after accomplishing a task will give you some breathing room and help align your mind for the next task ahead. It doesn’t necessarily mean having a snack or coffee break; even just a few minutes of quiet time will do.
When you don’t take the time off amidst the constant demands of work, it will be more difficult for you to become focused, competent, and cheerful.
8. Reward Yourself; You Deserve It
Give yourself the reward you deserve for working hard. Whether it’s a vacation or a night off with friends, don’t ever think that it’s too much. Find the balance between work and relaxation and reap the rewards of your hard work.
When you accomplish a goal or make progress at work, acknowledge it and appreciate your efforts. Knowing that you are moving forward and making progress will boost your morale and happiness.
9. Banish Boredom, Feed Your Curiosity
If you find that the work you do is no longer interesting, you now have an opportunity to learn something new. Explore and get curious by seeking out a chance to take on a new responsibility. Do not be afraid to speak your mind to your boss if you think that you can pick up a new task or you would like to learn a new skill.
Find something that you love in the work you do. No matter how small it is, if it sparks your interest, you will find contentment and happiness.
10. Create Your Personal Space
Make your workplace your sanctuary. When you are in your work area, you should have a feeling of warmth and comfort. If the sight or thought of your workstation gives you a feeling of dread or weariness, then work will never be fun.
Decorate your work area, clean it regularly, and set it up to reflect your personality as much as your company policy permits. Make yourself as relaxed and comfortable as you can be when you are at work.
Do not let external factors bog you down from the most important thing that you need to do: get actual work done.
Fortify yourself against needless distractions like emails or what you believe other people have to say about you.
Roll up your sleeves, get down to business, and find happiness in putting in a good day’s work.
12. Examine Your Habits
Humans are creatures of habit. It is easy to fall back to the things people are accustomed to.
That, in turn, can lead to stagnation and vulnerability to competition.
Take a look at what your normal workday looks like and dissect your daily routine. Challenge yourself to make small but significant changes that can bring about productivity, happiness, and overall work satisfaction.
Even minute changes can have a positive impact on how you feel about your work.
13. Always End Your Day With A Quiet Gratitude
People tend to remember their bad experiences more than the good ones. But remember, your negative attitude and perception toward work would only cause discontentment and suffering.
At the end of the day, focus your thoughts on the positive experiences, the lessons learned, and the good feelings. Let go of the bad ones because, soon, they will pass. Be thankful for the good things that happened and reflect on areas where you can make improvements.
14. Know When To Walk Away
There are plenty of strategies that you can use to better manage your thoughts and emotions at work.
However, there are some cases wherein you have to examine whether all your efforts are still worth it. Is it worth subjecting yourself to the emotional and physical stress of continuously immersing yourself in a toxic environment, or would it be better to accept the fact that it may be time to move on and find better opportunities?
Remember, your work should not take over your whole life. It is perfectly all right to take pride in one’s work and accomplishments, but you should also cultivate a life outside it. Like any type of relationship, you have the power to decide when to end things.
Happiness, in different facets of your life (including work), boils down to the choices you make. You may be unable to change a few things at the office. You can, however, make the choice to improve yourself and change your outlook.
Will you choose to be happy today?
[Discover The Happiness Formula — A Simple Overview of All The Factors That Make You Happy (And Learn What Doesn’t) taken from the heart of Authentic Happiness, the book that launched the Science of Happiness.]
Author Bio: The author of this post, Salma El-Shurafa, is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program. Find her on LinkedIn.
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