If you want to be happy at work and life there are some very simply actions you can take to make this happen. Offered here are a host of links and sources that elaborate on the five basic elements to make you happier each day.
Researchers in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and management have found some interesting techniques that really do work. When we are happier at work, we are more engaged, more productive and we have a sense of purpose. In short there is no one right answer, because we all define happiness a little differently, but with a shift in our thinking we can have a sense of purpose, be engaged, have greater resilience, and be kinder to others. Wouldn’t you like to be happier by just taking some simply actions each day?
The most popular class at Yale is the course on Happiness. Exploring that class curriculum and neuroscience commentary from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley I would like to offer five steps to bringing you happiness in your life. Four of these steps are well documented in various articles. The fifth step is a natural expansion from neuroscience applying mindfulness.
This is a great way to start your day. Take five minutes a day as you start your day to reflect on what you are grateful for each morning. Why? This simple activity can provide you with chemicals and hormones that can stay with you up to 8 hours and help you have a better attitude throughout the day. How easy is that. You can do this when you shave or put on makeup and brush your teeth in the morning or while commuting to work. It is easy and can really make a difference.
When you have negative feelings it is very important that you label these and share how you feel. This can be with a close friend or in a journal. Perhaps you are upset with someone at work. You want to send a nasty email, but know you should not do that right now. Instead of writing an email on line, maybe you can open a blank Word Document (that way you won’t actually send an email by accident) and write your commentary. Look at the next day. Should you edit it and send it? Should you let it go? Just the fact that you labeled your negative feelings helps. Try it and see what you think.
Realize at the end of the day that you did the best you could today. Let it go. Sharing this concept with an executive forum an executive said he was severely chastised once for telling his boss it was “good enough” so he would never use that phrase. In that case maybe the phrase should have been “I gave it my very best effort”. The point is to not blame yourself or others and to reflect at the end of each day that you really did your best. Even if you did not give it your best effort, then give yourself feed forward on what you would do differently in the future so that should a similar situation take place, you would have rehearsed how you would address this positively or next time. Reflect and let it go in prayer, meditation or reflection
Appropriate touch is important. At work that may mean a fist bump or a handshake. With someone close to you that may mean a hug, a pat on the back or a similar show of affection. We all need appropriate touch. If not with another human, then with a pet. The point is that appropriate touch with others goes a long way towards happiness.
It is suggested that at least 10 minutes a day and optimally 20 minutes a day twice a day set aside for meditation, prayer or reflection helps clear out the pre-frontal cortex (consider this a reboot for the brain) and allows your brain the chance to clear your thoughts. We unfortunately over stimulate our brains with our smart phones and other devices. They can also negatively impact the way we sleep. This is not healthy. Instead, if you set aside time to clear your head each day. This can go a long way towards giving you a happier disposition towards life. The point is our brains just like our bodies physically need a break. This is a great way to give your brain a break.
This article from the Greater Good Science Center from the University of California at Berkeley offers all kinds of links and insights and was my starting inspiration for this blog.