THREE WORDS TO INCREASE YOUR HAPPINESS AT WORK
It takes just three words to increase your happiness at work whether youâre already working at your dream job, learning from a stepping-stone position, or currently filling one of those do-what-you-have-to-do-to-get-a-paycheck roles.
It seems like we live in a society of complainers, people who focus on -- and share -- whatâs wrong. Itâs common to hear your peers, friends, and families whining about long work days, bad bosses, commuting woes, dead-end jobs, disappointing performance reviews, workplace bullies, lack of mobility, getting passed up on promotions, budget cuts, and so on. Most of us get caught up in the ongoing cycle of criticism and ride the complaint bus -- every day. And, in some cases, throughout each day.
If you find yourself surrounded by workplace whiners and then also complain a lot about your job, youâre hurting your chances of being happy at work. In Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD and CLO of Wholebeiing Institue, explains that âwhat we choose to focus on largely determines whether or not we enjoy what we do -- within a relationship, at school, and in the workplace.â
Itâs hard to shift other peopleâs thinking, but you can help yourself increase your own happiness at work with three simple words -- What went well?
Learning to recognize whatâs going well at your job can greatly impact your happiness. Exploring the positive elements of your work, even in challenging situations, will help you acknowledge the benefits of your current situation and grow your overall appreciation of it, leading to increased happiness.
In order to switch from our natural tendency to have negative thoughts, we need to âget better at thinking about and savoring what went well,â explains Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD and director of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. Seligman introduced the âWhat-Went-Well Exerciseâ to mental health professionals, counselors, life coaches, and university students. Many practitioners use some form of it to help people focus on whatâs going well in general. It also is effective to grow oneâs job appreciation and increase oneâs happiness at work.
In order to get the most out of this practice, take a few minutes before the end of every workday to ask yourself âWhat went well?â and write down three to five things. Start a journal, whether electronic or handwritten, or e-mail yourself your thoughts with the same subject line plus the date. As you write down what went well, intently think about the experiences to fully appreciate them for a second time.
While it may be awkward the first few times, you will soon get used to focusing on the positive and recalling things that went well for you during the workday.
You spend a lot of time on the job and even more time thinking about it. You owe it to yourself to increase your happiness at work, which will not only help you enjoy your job, but also positively impact your health and overall wellbeing.