I'm a Certified Business Coach — Here Are 3 Ways to Be Happier at Work

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Laura Browne524
I help women get more of what they want at work.
June 23, 2024 at 11:2AM UTC

Happier at work? Is it even possible? We spend so many hours at our jobs, that it’s worth it to find ways to make it a more positive experience. Here’s some wisdom that was inspired by a favorite book of mine, “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.

1. Choose a Happy Mindset

You have the ability to choose how your brain sees the world. When you’re faced with a difficult task or challenge at work, you can either focus on why you will fail OR you can focus on why you will succeed. For example, you can be more positive by thinking about situations in the past when you did something similar and were successful. You could also focus on your ability to learn new things as a way to be successful. Or you can think about other people who could support or work with you. These thoughts will help you be more positive and happier about the challenge.

For example, if your boss gives you a difficult project, you can focus on how tough it will be to do this and you could be afraid to work on it and procrastinate. Or you can think about how excited you are that your boss is giving you this great opportunity.

You can also increase happiness by thinking about good things more. In one experiment people wrote about a positive experience for 20 minutes 3 days a week while the control group wrote about neutral topics. The group that wrote about their positive experiences had big spikes in happiness and the control group didn’t.

Our brains can only focus on so much at one time, when we recognize and think about positive things it’s easier to ignore small annoyances and frustrations that used to bother us.

I personally write down 3 things every morning that I’m grateful for. And it has to be 3 different things, I can’t just keep writing the same 3 things. This exercise helps me to start the day off with a positive view.

What about you? Are you more likely to think about success or failure? 

2. Bounce Back

We all know that there are times things don’t go well. You can bounce back from a crisis to be stronger and more capable. You can use that downward momentum to propel yourself in the opposite direction – building on setbacks and adversity to become even more happy and successful.

How do you do that? Studies show that if you can see failure as an opportunity for growth, you’re more likely to experience that growth. One way to do that is to change how you describe situations. For example, you can describe something as really bad and never going to change or you can say it’s not so bad and you can see how it will get better. Framing the description of what you’re going through as a positive learning opportunity will make it easier for you to bounce forward.

For example, think about that tough project that your boss gave to you. If it’s not going well, it may help to reframe the way you talk about it. Instead of saying to yourself or anyone else who will listen that this is an enormous disaster, you can say that it’s tougher than you thought but you’ve been able to learn some things that you and others can use for the future.

That change can mean the difference between being upset about the project and being positive about it.

Think about it. What is one thing at work that you could change the way you talk about it that could make a positive difference for you?

3. Use Your Support Network

One mistake that many people make when they’re under stress is they pull back from others. That’s the time when we need our network the most. Having a tough day? Text a friend and talk. Stressed at work? Instead of saying everything is fine when you get home, be willing to share it.

I’ve heard from people who say that they don’t want to bother anyone. But think about it, if a friend of yours was going through something difficult, wouldn’t you want them to tell you?

Happier people stay in touch with others and connect with them when they need help.

Think about your network. Who needs to hear from you? Who can you reach out to today?

Work may not be easy but you can choose to be more positive and be that positive voice for the people around you. Share the tips with others and help them to see what they can do to feel happier. It can make it easier for you to feel happier at work too. 

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Browne is a corporate trainer, author, speaker, and certified business coach who helps women to be more successful with training programs at her company, Career Tips For Women. She has written 10 books including Increase Your Income: 7 Rules for Women Who Want To Make More Money at Work and A Salary Cinderella Story (Or How To Make More Money Without A Fairy Godmother). She has written for Forbes and has been quoted as a business expert in major publications including Cosmopolitan, Family Circle magazine, and USA Weekend. For more information on training programs that can help you with salary negotiations and confidence go to www.CareerTipsForWomen.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for being happier at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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