How to Be Happy at Work, ASAP


All of us strive to be happy. It’s a universal aspiration, the central goal in life. Yet we often find ourselves overwhelmed with stress and dissatisfaction, perhaps with the mindset “when such and such happens, then I’ll be happy.” Don’t wait for 5:00 p.m. (aka happy hour), that tropical beach vacation or a major life event to find joy in your day. Make every hour of the day a “happy” hour.

We’ve included a few action steps to help you cultivate lasting happiness throughout your workday and always.

  1. Spruce up Your Workspace

    A comfortable work environment automatically elicits positive emotions. In a slump? (Pun intended.) Encourage upright posture by having one of our docs or your office ergonomics expert help adjust your workstation. This will not only improve your comfort level, but a preliminary study suggests that proper posture is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Better posture, better mood! Other suggestions include decluttering your desk, using essential oils, or adding a little greenery to your workspace by adopting a low maintenance plant such as a Sansevieria, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, or Neanthe Bella Palm. Make your workspace as cozy as your home!
  2. Catch Some Rays

    With your new office feng shui, you may want to stay, but be sure to take a daily break from your desk to soak up a little sunshine. Exposure to the ideal amount of sunlight produces vitamin D and triggers the production of serotonin, one of our “feel good” brain chemicals. On the contrary, low vitamin D levels are associated with mood disorders and fatigue. Even full-spectrum fluorescent lighting doesn’t offer the positive effects of natural sunlight, so taking it outside is an absolute must. Have a picnic lunch, encourage walking meetings, or if the situation permits, find a spot outside to post up with your laptop. Find creative ways to catch some rays!
  3. Nurture Your Physical Self

    It’s no secret that healthy and happy go hand in hand. Be proactive with your health— eat well, move more, and address the source of any ailments you have that may be affecting your mood. Fifty-four percent of the workforce suffers from musculoskeletal aches and pains annually - are you one of them? Research shows that musculoskeletal conditions such as lower back pain not only hinder productivity and quality of life but may also contribute to anxiety and depression. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic or another healthcare provider about how to alleviate your pains and/or improve your health conditions. Healthy body = healthy mind = happy life!
  4. Press the “Pause” Button

    Did you know that the average person has 50,000 thoughts a day? Wow! Whether we are ruminating on the past, worrying about the future, or juggling projects and assignments, we are constantly thinking. Set a daily calendar reminder to press pause, sit still and think about….wait for it…. nothing. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths at your desk or find a quiet room for a quick meditation. Research shows that a daily meditation practice makes people happier - and this is measured not only by self-reporting but also brain-mapping technology. New to meditation? Use a guided meditation app such as Headspace. It’s simple to use and even offers “bite-sized” meditations that are perfect for busy work schedules!
  5. Establish Meaningful Connections

    A great way to foster happiness at work is through meaningful relationships with co-workers, customers or clients. Research shows that valuable connections aid in burnout prevention and improve job satisfaction, performance, and overall employee well-being. Perhaps seek out a role model you look up to or serve as a mentor by offering your support to a less-seasoned colleague. Also strive for less small talk and more substantial conversation with your office mates. Meaningful rapport may enhance connectedness and increase a sense of gratification, ultimately contributing to more happiness for all parties involved!
  6. Develop a Gratitude Mindset

    Having an “off” day and in need of a mindset shift? Adopt an attitude of gratitude! Extending appreciation helps us to deviate from unhappy emotions and strengthens the neural structure of the brain associated with positivity. Make it a point to show a manager, colleague or intern some gratitude today. Send a thank-you email, a “kudos” chat ping, or deliver a good old-fashioned handwritten note. Better yet, let someone know face-to-face how much their support matters to you. Remember, gratitude not only means appreciating others, but also recognizing the positive aspects of life. For a midday pick-me-up, pull out the post-its and make a list of things you are grateful for, and don’t forget life’s small pleasures!

For more mindset exercises to help promote positivity, check out our next article, Positivity Mindset: 7 Practices.

Medical Disclaimer
The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on any exercise, medication, nutrition, or supplementation.