We all want to be happy at our place of work—that is where we spend most of our time, after all. But many times, we find ourselves in a tense environment driven by deadlines or quotas, distraught over not receiving a raise or bored by the lack of new opportunity for growth. Luckily, there are some simple measures we can take to avoid succumbing to workplace stress. If your 9-5 could use a little more cheer, check out some of these tips from the people who know best how to turn it all around.
You have to ask for what you want
“People aren’t mind readers. Voicing your needs is an important spiritual law of success. In order to be happy, you have to let your outer voice be in alignment with your inner voice. Are you due for a raise? Are you getting sufficient credit for your efforts? Do you want to be involved in a new development at work? Raise your hand and speak up. Silence kills us slowly. If you pay attention you’ll notice that in work (and in life!) the askers win.”
– Susie Moore, confidence coach
Plan your workday the night before
“Write down three most important action items and schedule them into your calendar. Why? Because we’re much happier when we feel that we have a sense of control and when we decide what is important, not the circumstances.”
– Annie Lin, Founder of New York Life Coaching
Have a ‘stretch goal’
“Always remain a student and be willing to learn something new, take on a new assignment, or be open to exploring a different position. Doing something you’ve never done before will take you out of your comfort zone and force you to ‘stretch.’ Stretching keeps you from becoming bored and causes you to get excited over workplace opportunities and utilize your potential in a new way.”
– Nashawn Turner, founder and CEO of Uniquely Designed Coaching, LLC, certified life and leadership coach and empowerment expert
Focus on the good
“It’s human nature to notice all of the things we don’t like, so many people have negative thoughts when it comes to work. People regularly think things like, Ugh, it’s Monday, I don’t want to go to work, my co-worker doesn’t pull his weight, and my boss is out to get me. It’s also not all that uncommon for folks to think they aren’t good enough for the promotion, they’ve picked the wrong career path, everyone else is doing more amazing things in their careers, and it’s too late to be as successful as they’d like. The list goes on and on.
Our thoughts create our feelings, so thoughts like these don’t make us feel so great. Focusing on all of the things we like about our jobs (i.e. I have great friends at work, my commute is a breeze compared to others’, I’m great at what I do, I am free to use my creativity, I am well-respected amongst my peers, etc.), creates good feelings. This allows us to feel happier on a daily basis. It takes a little practice but is well worth it! I often suggest making a list of all the great stuff and referring to it when we are not feeling great about our situations.”
– Melanie Rudnick, certified life coach
Create your own happiness
“As a coach, I see so many people expect their external situations to create their internal feelings. But this is not empowering! We cannot expect our job or the people we work with to make us happy. Instead, create happiness from the inside out by changing the way you perceive your job and the work you are doing. Happy people do not necessarily have the best jobs or least amount of stress; they are happy because they create their own happiness.
Our ability to change how we feel about any situation depends 100 percent on our attitude toward it. So either shift your attitude toward your job and bring more happiness to your workplace, or if you are absolutely miserable, then perhaps it’s time for a change. Blaming your job for your lackluster happiness will not change a thing.”
– Christine Hassler, master coach, author of Expectation Hangover, host of Over It and On With It podcast,
Consider that it might be time to move on
“What makes you happy will make you money. If you’re unhappy at work, and you’re reading an article on how to be happy at work, decide to quit right now. Set a date and see how good you feel. Work should feel like play. It’s possible. I’m proof.”
– Holly Allison, artist and coach