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You have the power to make life-improving changes.
More than half of American workers feel stressed and frustrated by or stuck in their present jobs. This stands in stark contrast to the one-third of workers who feel engaged and are happy, energized and purposeful at work. If you identify more with the former than the latter group, know that, even if you don’t see a way out of your current situation, you can make practical changes to improve your work-life without changing jobs or career – specifically, changes to your perspective, skills, approach to life, mental acuity and health.
Happiness and success are similar in that you can’t pursue either directly. Each seems to emerge as a consequence of the way you manage yourself and your activities.
Sometimes, changing how you choose to work gives you a boost. Even if your job doesn’t offer you much autonomy, you can change how you usually do things – even if it’s as small as approaching an assignment with a less pessimistic-than-normal attitude or listening more closely to your colleagues. Your brain reads this simple change as a chance to “be inventive” – a vital component of human happiness.
The Engagement Triangle can help you plan your good days and feel better on your bad days.
A well-crafted “statement of personal values” can help you pursue the three Ps(Purpose, Positive relationships and Performance).
Think of this statement as a guiding idea that shapes how you pursue your work and interact. When crafting your mission statement, consider your values and standards, how you hope to help or serve others and the activities that give you the greatest sense of satisfaction.
Your well-being influences your happiness and success in the workplace. While people define well-being in different ways, many agree it encompasses four distinct realms: mind, body, heart and spirit.
You can improve any of these areas with simple changes.
Mindfulness, the new name for a thousands of years old practice called meditation, counteracts the negative and boosts the positive at work. Mindlessness can lead to missed opportunities, inflexibility, bias and feelings of helplessness. Mindfulness increases your abilities, creativity and happiness. Pair mindfulness with a meditation practice to improve your brain functions and lower your stress and blood pressure levels.
Techniques for mindfulness include breathing exercises, taking a meditative walk, participating in a guided meditation or enjoying a fully present coffee or snack break.
When it comes to making big changes in your life or career, starting small can help:
“Develop a vision” – Consider your ideal life and career and what big goals might help get you there.
“Identify micro-goals” – Break each big goal into specific, actionable small goals. For example, you might set a micro-goal of walking for 20 minutes a couple of times per week.
“Commit to small progress” – Plan out tiny actions that support each micro-goal, such as buying new walking shoes.
“Record your progress” – Keep track of your progress. Evidence of your successes keeps you moving forward.
Forming a new habit is a three-step process:
Cue – This is the prompt for the new behaviour you want to turn into a habit. It might be an alarm on your phone or a physical reminder, such as leaving your walking shoes near your front door.
Routine – This is the action you take in response to the cue – the new habit itself.
Reward – This generates a sense of pleasure about your new habit. Pausing to reflect on how doing the new habit makes you feel can create this sensation.
Replace bad habits with better ones by identifying what motivates your unhealthy behavior. Find better habits that fulfill those needs in healthier ways.
For example, your daily trip to the office cafeteria for a cookie might be less about sugar cravings than a desire to socialize. Identify the cue for the bad habit, and create a new routine connected with that cue.
Make sure your hobby engages you; it should not be something passive, such as binge-watching Netflix.
Along with leisure activities, studies show that spending time in nature is one of the best ways to boost your happiness and health. You can get natural benefits in a variety of ways: Go to a park; put a plant on your desk; get a pet; go for a walk, or seek out a sunny spot to work. Adding color to your workspace, keeping your desk tidy and choosing a comfortable chair, likewise, support your well-being and productivity.
Another happiness-building activity is showing kindness to others. When you help someone, you feel a greater connection to your community. Learning to focus your attention on tasks that demand your highest level of skill and attention also gives you a deep sense of satisfaction.
Nurturing a growth mind-set – the belief you can develop knowledge and abilities over your lifetime – helps you handle the unexpected and regard setbacks as learning opportunities rather than failures. It helps you develop grit – the ability to keep going in the face of difficulties – by teaching you the value of practising to improve. Learning bolsters your sense of purpose and autonomy and keeps you from becoming bored.
The rise in loneliness poses a problem for people’s health and well-being. Loneliness increases your risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other mental and physical ailments. Relational ties help decrease anxiety and boost confidence and self-esteem. Be aware: You can’t expect to build these healthy connections with others virtually. Replacing conversations with emails and texts can leave you feeling more lonely.
Any busy workers, even those in lively offices, may drift into loneliness without noticing that it’s happening.
Working with others in an office each day is not a surefire way to avoid isolation. You must be proactive about cultivating relationships. To counteract loneliness, come to meetings early to socialize with colleagues, look for opportunities to greet and thank co-workers, and, when you feel a connection with someone, suggest activities, such as taking a walk together, that would allow you to form a closer friendship.
When appropriate, consider forming mentoring relationships within your organization. Whether you are the mentor or mentee, you gain opportunities to teach and learn.
While networking sometimes makes people feel uneasy, remember that its benefits go both ways: You and your networking partners share connection, information and support.
Someone you meet might help you find a new job or opportunity, and you might do the same for them. Forming diverse networks broadens your perspectives. These contacts can challenge old assumptions and increase your potential for innovative solutions.
Problem solver. Award-winning reader. Devoted food geek. Certified travel evangelist. Incurable explorer.
Feeling stuck in a rut at work? According to executive coach Beverly Jones, even if you don’t love what you do, you can find meaning and happiness in your career
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