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Not happy at work? Here are 4 tips to help you feel the joy

January 25, 2019

We have good news and bad news.

Okay, so the bad news is 50% of your happiness is determined by your genetics, and therefore not within your control. The good news is that means 50% of your happiness is within your control and easily transformable.

These 4 tips are like superfood for the soul. The proof is in the pudding though - try them and you’ll see!

1. Create a morning ritual ☀️


“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.” - Dalai Lama

Rituals define us and set the tone for the day. Set aside 20 minutes every morning to complete some joy infusing journalling and light exercise.

Journal these tidbits...

  • 3 things you’re grateful for. It can be anything. In fact, make sure at least one of them is something super simple like the weather.
  • 3 happy people. Pick 3 people and for 10 seconds each, silently wish them complete happiness.
  • 3 things that would make today great. Imagine that you have already achieved them.

Not convinced about the benefits of journaling, check out this article on how it could make you a genius.

Do these simple exercises...

  1. J curl x 3
  2. Thoracic bridge x 3
  3. 20-star jumps

A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies even when they saw no physical changes.

And if you only add one step to your morning routine, make it this 20-second doozy - make your bed. At the very least you will always come home to see that you have achieved one thing for the day. PS. just making sure your bed looks tide is enough, as in “the-blanket-covering-all-corners” technique 😉.

2. Focus on one thing at a time 🧘


“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on.  But that’s not what it means at all.  It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” - Steve Jobs

This is the exact opposite of multi-tasking. Rather than having multiple little goals that you alternate between during the day, focus on one goal at a time and ignore anything that doesn’t contribute.

Professor Gloria Mark from the University of California advised that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus after an interruption. Doesn’t it make you wonder about how much time is wasted while switching between countless tasks throughout the day? To combat this squandered productivity, incorporate these steps into your day.

Pomodoro technique

Schedule 25 minutes of no interruption time to work on your main goal and then have a short break.

Theme your days by goals

This is apparently the secret to how Jack Dorsey runs two companies at once (Twitter and Square). See a breakdown of his week below:

Monday: Executive team meetings, one on ones with management
Tuesday: Product
Wednesday: Marketing, communications, and growth
Thursday: Developers and partnerships
Friday: Company culture and recruiting

Take notes

Author David Allen says, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them”. Write everything down. You’ll have ideas about other goals while focussing on your one goal for that particular day. Write it down and attend to it when it’s time to focus on that task.

A 2010 Harvard psychological study by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert discovered that 47% of our day hours are spent thinking about things that are completely unrelated to what we are currently doing. Single tasks help us develop our attention muscle and improve our executive functioning. Matthew Killingsworth said on the study that “Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness. In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged”.

3. Make and keep friends 👋

"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself." - Jim Morrison

The correlation between friendship and happiness is indisputable. George Vaillant, the director of a 72-year study on the lives of 268 men stated regarding the results "That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people". In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics concluded that your relationships are worth more than $100,000.

So, the best way to befriend? Glad you asked.

Be the first to initiate

This is often the hardest part. But we never promised the tips would be easy. Put yourself out there by being the first introduce yourself to the new person at work, smile at a stranger, wave at your neighbour, send a Facebook message to an old friend etc.

Maintain those friendships

Frequent interaction is key here and these days staying in contact couldn’t be simpler. Leverage these tools - send your buddies a snap, a tweet, a Facebook message, or give them a call. Just remember that people change over time and a vital part in maintaining a friendship over time is embracing each other’s growth and dealing with any conflicts that arise quick-smart.

Be yourself

See tip 4!

4. Be your unapologetic weird self 🤪


“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself...That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.” - Neil Gaiman commencement speech, 2012 at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia

Be yourself. It’s those two words we’ve been told since we were little. Just be yourself. But how do you define it and how do you know when you’re being it?

Being yourself basically just means, not being inauthentic and being mindful of when you’re disingenuous to your own truth.

Sometimes we revert to in-authenticity because we think “just us” is not enough. Social media influences this. When we see everyone having this perfectly curated life - we start to think it’s almost bizarre to feel sad emotions. But they’re just helpful signs to show us something is wrong, not a feeling to be destroyed or suppressed. Sophie Lazarus, a psychologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says, ‘It is often not one’s initial response to a situation (the primary emotion) that is problematic, but their reaction to that response (the secondary emotion) that tends to be the most difficult’.

There you have it, 4 recommendations on infusing joy into every day. Try just one step for a week and you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.