Get the happiness habit

The last couple of years have been hard on many of us. Disruption, uncertainty and worry have been commonplace. But a positive mindset can help us find hope, meaning and more happiness in our work. These tips offer some simple ways to focus on the good things.

Written by Catriona MacLeod
Published 19 January 2022
Get the happiness habit

1. Set the right tone

A regular sleep routine can help you get the length and quality of sleep you need, and start work in a good frame of mind.

Coach and psychology practitioner Sophie Cliff recommends starting your day a few minutes earlier than you otherwise would and doing something for yourself. [1] Whether you use the time to grab yourself a nice coffee, or do a quick mindfulness exercise, this can help you feel more relaxed and ready to face the day ahead.

2. Appreciate the good stuff

Make a list of the things you feel lucky to have. This could be the big stuff, like supportive colleagues or a great development opportunity at work. But take time to notice the smaller things too. This might be the view from your home office or being able to take a walk in nature on your break.

Try not to compare yourself too much to others. This is about you, remember. Taking time to reflect on the things you appreciate can help you feel more satisfied with your situation.

3. Focus on what you can control

If you're feeling unhappy, make a note of all the aspects of your situation you can influence, rather than those you can’t. This might include how you choose to respond to colleagues, manage your time, or approach your workload. Identifying and implementing some action points can help to improve the situation and make you feel more in control.

4. Do more of what you love

What elements of your role do you really enjoy? Find out whether you can do more of them on a day-to-day basis. That might mean being able to spend more time managing projects, mentoring new recruits or taking up a volunteering role. Work out which activities you’re passionate about, and that play to your strengths. Then look for ways to do them more often.

5. Help others feel good about themselves

Making your team members and colleagues feel valued and appreciated will help to boost their morale and create a positive working environment. So give others positive feedback whenever you can.

Performing random acts of kindness at work is another way to build connections with your colleagues and create a caring culture.

While random acts of kindness are intended to benefit the people receiving them, numerous studies have shown those doing the good deeds also feel pleasure and happiness as a result. [2].

6. Find the positives

For every challenging situation at work, there is almost always something positive to take away. A difficult conversation with a colleague can present an opportunity for you to resolve an issue, and even strengthen your working relationship. A pressing deadline might call for you to really hone your time management skills. Looking for the upside can help you approach these situations more effectively and remain positive.

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. [3] Why not give them a try?

7. Surround yourself with positive people

The people around you can have a big impact on your own positivity and mood. Try to spend time with upbeat people, who make you feel good about yourself. It is inevitable, though, that some people are less positive than others and, at work, you may have to interact with colleagues who have a more negative attitude. If this is the case, don't allow them to sap your energy and enthusiasm. Instead, try to share some of your positivity with them – it can be infectious!

8. Relax

Stress can be a massive drain on your positivity. No matter how challenging or frantic the workplace can be, it's important to try to relax when you can. Learn to identify your 'stress triggers', look after your physical wellbeing by taking regular exercise and eating well, and try to manage your time effectively. These are all simple ways to help keep your stress levels in check.

[1] Sophie Cliff, 4 tips to help you get your morning off to a more joyful start [online]. Available here (accessed 18 January 2022).
[2] Mind Tools. Random Acts of Kindness [online]. Available here (accessed 18 January 2022).
[3] Mind Tools. Using Affirmations [online]. Available here (accessed 18 January 2022).

About the author

Catriona MacLeod

Catriona MacLeod

Editorial Manager
Catriona has over 19 years of experience in editorial management. She works with clients across a wide range of sectors to deliver relevant and practical resources to meet the learning needs of leaders and managers. Catriona loves the variety of her role, from writing and editing content to conducting video interviews with industry experts.

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