Home   >   Articles   >   Five Ways That You Can Be Happy at Work 

Five Ways That You Can Be Happy at Work 

by Carolyn Lee Apr 15, 2019

Share this

Yello - Happiness at work

For many of us, the words happiness and work are usually not used in the same sentence. Yet, some will argue that when you love what you do, then it doesn’t feel like work. Hence, some amount of happiness is present.  

While many places of work offer perks (benefits) that make going to work a pleasant experience, each place has its share of challenges and situations that can lead to negativity. So, is it possible to be happy at work?  

What is happiness? 

This has been a question that people across varying career paths have sought to define for decades. Most agree that happiness entails a range of positive emotions from contentment to intense joy.  

For the purpose of this article, we will use positive psychology researcher, Sonja Lyubomirsky’s description of happiness from her book, The How of Happiness. 

She describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.” 1 

Below are a few useful tips that you can use to keep a cheerful spirit even on a rough day!  

Mentally prepare for your day: Include at least one activity that helps you to mentally prepare for the workday. This can be an early morning routine that includes exercise, meditation, listening to, or reading inspirational content. You can also compile a mental checklist of things they love while getting ready for the day. Happiness is mostly a choice. You can choose to be happy by exploring the things that add to your joy, bring meaning to your life and allow you to feel valued – incorporate those things into your day. Find what works for you and be consistent in doing it each morning! 

Do at least one thing that you love each day: Lunch breaks need not be spent only on gorging down food, running out to do quick business or discussing what’s going wrong. Use your lunch break to include one thing that you love. Go outdoors to enjoy nature. Watch a funny video clip. Share a good-natured conversation with someone who is usually positive and engaging. Get in touch with someone who often makes you feel good.  

Do your best: Some days will be challenging. This may be attributed to your workload, difficult personalities or unexpected changes in the work day that may be tedious. Being accountable is one way to ensure that you have done your best to adapt to the changes while covering your responsibilities. Our best is often noticed, even if not commented on immediately. When we do our best, there is a natural feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction contributes to happiness! 

Yello - Happiness 2

Avoid negativity: This may be easier said than done but is crucial to happiness. Constant complaining, and gossiping are negative activities that not only drain your energy but also set you up for more of the same. If something is wrong, seek solutions. If the answers that you prefer are not readily available, find positive distractions to elevate your mood until a resolution is found. Most importantly, diplomatically withdraw yourself from conversations that begin to get negative by focusing on your tasks or something that makes you feel better. 

Make realistic promises: Many of us enjoy making others happy. We often tend to go above and beyond to ensure that things work well, and that satisfaction is achieved. While it is good to do our best for others, we also need to pay attention to doing our best for ourselves. It is not possible to make everyone happy, especially at work. Setting realistic timelines help us to manage our desks, so why not use the same formula for promises to colleagues? When we undertake additional tasks that adversely affect the way we function, it can cause us to feel overwhelmed, which inadvertently causes negative feelings, including unhappiness. Compartmentalise professional relationships and separate personal struggles from what is required of you throughout the workday. Happiness may be fleeting, but it can be sustained if we remain honest with ourselves and what we are able to do. 


Finally, you are the answer to your happiness. We are here to remind you of the things that you can do to reconnect with your inner bliss. This list is not exhaustive, so we encourage you to make your own list of some of the things that make you happy, particularly at work. Scroll through this list often, update it and share it with those closest to you. Who knows, they may just create their own happiness lists, so you can actively share in their happiness too! 


 Sources: Greater Good Magazine, Berkley, Edu., Amazon, The Balanced Careers