8 Surprising Secrets That’ll Help You Be Happier at Work

Begin the day with a resolve

A man working on a white desk with a laptop.mirtmirt/Shutterstock
“Today I will become more aware of one particular action.” Then place your attention on it throughout the day. Some simple suggestions: opening doors, greeting customers or clients, reaching for the phone. This will broaden your sense of self-awareness and can help you to identify aspects of your work personality that you have previously ignored, such as what you struggle with and what you truly enjoy. Check out these tips to help you be more productive during your first hour of work.

Before beginning a new project or meeting or conversation, ask yourself, “What do I most want to see happen from this?”

Young business team in a meeting seated around a table in the office with focus to a smiling businesswoman listening to a colleaguestockfour/Shutterstock
Whenever stress becomes a distraction nightmare, remember this goal and steer the conversation or workload back in the right direction. These are the steps you should be taking at work if you want to stand out.

If you find yourself straining to think “outside the box,” explore what made up that box

Bored, sad african man in white shirt, thinking, decided problem, working at cafe with laptop. Student male with closed eyes, holding head by hand. Freelancer have coffee break, listening music.Lyashenko Egor/Shutterstock
Understanding how you got to where you are is the first step in going beyond that point.

Take a few minutes to think about how you would like to be perceived at the conclusion of a meeting, an email, or a call

Businesswoman talking on cellphone and looking at laptop. Female executive working in office.Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Would you like to come across as fearsome, gentle, resolute, inclusive, open-minded, unwavering? How do you feel when you perceive others that way? Strive to become a coworker that you would want to interact with and more opportunities will come to you. Check out these other simple ways to be a better coworker.

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Notice how you are holding something in your hand—a steering wheel or a cup, for instance

Close-up Of A Man Hands Holding Steering Wheel While Driving CarAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock
What is the quality of your grip? Sometimes we exert so much force holding things, it exacerbates tension without our realizing it. Learn to recognize tension right as it begins so you can resolve it before it leads to a melt down.

In a situation of potential conflict, let compassion guide you

Angry boss scolding criticizing firing stressed intern for incompetence in multiracial office, sad frustrated employee receives unfair reprimand rebuke, suffers from bad attitude of executive at workfizkes/Shutterstock
What would you want someone to say to you if they were upset with you? What would you want to hear if you knew there were two legitimate sides of the story? Here are some more tips for keeping work stress to a minimum.

If you are feeling down or discouraged, consider helping someone at work

Serious multiracial businessmen holding documents at meeting with businesswoman, male diverse entrepreneurs considering new contract with female partner, employees reading woman boss instructionsfizkes/Shutterstock
The distraction will not only help you return to your work with a fresh mind, but science has identified a happiness-helping feedback loop. The more you help, the happier you can be. These are the signs you’re so unhappy at work that you might need a new job.

Before sending an important email, send it to yourself first

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When you open it as the recipient, you’ll take in the tone, implications and omissions that you might otherwise miss when you’re focused on composition.

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Looking for more happiness tricks?


Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness at Work is full of simple “stealth meditations” to improve your work day, answers to your toughest work-happiness questions, and a guide through the eight pillars of happiness in the workplace, with real success stories to motivate your journey. Next, learn the work habits you should steal from naturally successful people.

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