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“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

Our working experience and work environment can be enriching, educational and stimulating or, on the contrary, it can drag us down and demoralize us. Statistical surveys abound with information that leads us to believe that the majority of workers are dissatisfied with some aspect of their working life, be it the environment, colleagues or salary among other factors. It seems that work dissatisfaction has become a way of life, something that we just need to accept.  But does it really have to be this way?

Maybe it is time to turn things around. Maybe we can turn a miserable working situation into a positive and stimulating experience. Maybe the key to being happier at work isn’t as daunting as we may imagine.

Here are 9 tips for being happier at work and turning your work situation into a positive and stimulating experience.


1. Make a choice to be happy

No one else can make us happy. it is our responsibility to make ourselves happy.  It is not the boss’s job, it is not our colleagues’ job and it is not the job itself that will create our happiness (or unhappiness). In a practical sense, how can we choose to be happy and live this choice out each day?  The best way to do this is to stay away from negative talk. Don’t get involved in gossip. Don’t listen to it and walk away from it. We all know that gossip often happens around the coffee machine at break time. Maybe it might be time to use the break period to read a good book or listen to some good music.

Focus on doing your job physically and mentally the best you can. There is a saying that says: “where our focus goes, our energy grows”. Set yourself personal challenges and goals to meet and strive to meet these. Then, just ignore the negatives – the gossiping and complaining.


2. Make friends with colleagues

Make it your goal to get to know one or two of your colleagues better on a personal basis, maybe even outside of work time. Sometimes it is difficult to know someone in the workplace because people tend to put on a defensive mask to protect their insecurities. Make a goal to find common points that you have with them or to learn more about their interests. You might be surprised by what you have in common. And, if you don’t have interests in common, you can try to learn more about your colleagues.

Another suggestion would be to find ways to reach out to your colleagues by helping them and encouraging them. Be a good finder and a cheerleader. After all, you are both on the same team.  Find ways that you can do special things for them, be it ever so small.  Find something you admire about them and let them know. These little gestures will go a long way towards warming up your relationship with your colleagues.


3. Be proactive with personal development

You alone are responsible for your professional growth and advancements.  No matter where you are in your professional career, there is always room for growth. Set up a longterm personal growth plan and a series of objectives to meet. Decide how the work you are currently doing fits into this plan. What are you currently doing that will give you the skills that you will require later? Are there skills that you need to learn? Can you set yourself up a skills development program to follow and reward yourself for goals met and skills accomplished?  Having a personal development plan can help you to see your current work situation in a positive light as you work to grow and improve.


4. Stay up to date on essential information

One of the main causes of conflict at work is miscommunication. It is the failure to communicate important information or communicating information in inappropriate ways. Also, many people go on the assumption that information is known and has been communicated, when in fact, it has not.  Part of our responsibility in our workplace is to be clear on essential information and if this is not the case to acquire the needed information.  It is our job to make sure that we have the information we need and to be effective in communicating information to our colleagues when necessary.

If we are lacking information, we need to be proactive and ask for what we need to know. We can’t expect that others will necessarily do this for us. If need be and where it is possible, we should request regular information sessions as well as feedback.


5. Create your personal workspace

Where it is possible (and this is not always the case) create your own “work nest”. Of course, you will need to adhere to workplace policies first.  Sometimes freshening up our space can boost our morale and even help us to think in new ways. Creating a workspace that fits with your personality and goals can help you to be more creative and more motivated.  Sometimes our environment is what influences us to think and act in certain ways and where possible, where it is within our control to do so, we can change what can be changed in order to change the way we think and see our situation, By creating our personalized work nest, we can literally think new thoughts, get into a new mindset make and make new plans.


6. Take care of yourself

Start each day off on a good note no matter how you feel. You need to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to face the challenges at wor. Find something each day that you look forward to doing. It can be as simple as a special coffee or it could be a short walk around the neighborhood. Getting fresh air helps you to breathe better and think better, both of which are necessary for dealing with stressful situations.  Don’t forget that healthy eating and good hydrating are also very important for dealing with stress well.

Talk to yourself kindly and positively.  Tell yourself that you are capable and valuable no matter what. There is no reason at all to put yourself or your abilities down. You need to get your mind in top shape to be able to think better and have a more balanced and healthy view of your workplace and to be able to put things into perspective.

7. Minimize decisions

Sometimes we can get all muddled in our thinking because we are bombarded with decisions that need to be made. Too many decisions can lead to brain exhaustion. It is highly probable that not all decisions need to be made immediately and some may not be necessary at all. For the sake of our sanity, we need to be able to sift through the decisions and focus only on those of high importance and impact. Is there any way we can simplify the decisions or reduce the number? Perhaps there are smaller decisions that can be eliminated for a time such as making a different lunch for each day or deciding what to wear (read about capsule wardrobes for help on this idea).  not everything is urgent and not everything needs to be done at once.

8. Be grateful

When we are unhappy, most of the time it is because we fail to appreciate what we have.  By focusing on what we don’t like it is much harder to see all the good things and people we have in our lives. There is saying that goes: “where focus goes, energy grows. So when we focus on the negative our energy gets funneled into this negative focus. Choosing to be grateful is a powerful weapon against feeling unhappy or miserable. Each day comes with new blessings, one of them being that we are alive. this alone should make us happy. There are some little things that we can do to remind ourselves to be grateful. We can practice saying thank you to everyone even when we don’t feel like it. We can remind ourselves of what we are thankful for each day and even write these on a mini poster in our office space. We can end each day by telling ourselves one thing that we were grateful that day.  Being grateful is not a feeling, it is a choice.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through