I want you to take a few seconds and reflect on the question I’m going to present to you. Please, give it an honest effort. My question to you is: Are you happy at work? Do you find joy being at work?
I would bet you a good number of you guys said no or it just dawned upon you that you aren’t really that happy at work. Many of us drag ourselves to work every morning and straight into retirement, believing that retirement is the only solution to alleviates the unhappiness of coming to work. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great solution for investing in your future self. I highly encourage everyone to invest in your future selves but it’s kind of hard to invest in your future self if you’re not invested in yourself right now.
Being happy at work might be an alien concept to many of us but I’m here to tell you, based on personal experience, it’s actually quite possible. You don’t necessarily need to love what you do or be good at it to be happy, although it does help.
In this brief time, I will share with you why many employees are unhappy being at work and what YOU can do today to become happier at work, which will inevitably make you more productive, healthier, and enhance your performance.
The reason many corporate employees are unhappy at work is because every morning, they make the decision to drag themselves to work and through the day. We drag ourselves through the day because we wake up dreading the day. Many of our first thoughts in the morning are negative and discouraging thoughts about work, which stick with us throughout the day, like those cartoon rain cloud over our heads. It’s probably like this most of the mornings and now it’s become a habit, something we don’t pay attention but it’s happening in the backend. In other words, we have trained our mind to wake up already disliking the workday.
I want to introduce you to the concept of thoughts create things, or the universal law of attraction, which states we receive the things that we think about most. You may have heard of it through the book “The Secret”, but this is by no means just a fad; it’s a universal law just as the law of gravity is. Just like the law of gravity, we can’t see the law of attraction but we most certainty feel the affect.
Have you ever wanted a certain car and then you start seeing that exact car everywhere you went? Or have you randomly thought about someone and they call, snap, or text you soon after? Or did someone do something to bother you and not it seems like everything else is going wrong? It’s because your mind has its focus on that car, person, or emotion. Just like yelp reviews, we create a filter of what we want to see…
What does this have to do with being happy at work?
When we have thoughts about work, whether negative or positive, our mind creates a laser focused filter. You see, how we feel about the world around us is only an interpretation of the world around us, not how it actually is, or what it can be. Since many of our thoughts about the workday are draining and negative, rather than empowering and positive, we’ve trained our brains to focus on the negative, creating negative thought patterns (or filters) about work. When we repeat that thought often enough, our subconscious eventually absorbs that thought and it becomes a habit, or a habitual thought.
In other words, we let it go on autopilot in the wrong direction. *Sigh*
That’s why many of us are unhappy at work. Because we have built negative thought patterns about work that have become habits and, as we all know, habits are hard to break… unless you put in a really good effort to change it.
If you want to be happier at work, you must learn to think more positive, empowering, and happier thoughts about work by creating positive thoughts patterns about work.
Steps to Creating Positive Thought Patterns About Work
Step #1: Track how you feel negative throughout the workday and what thoughts cross your mind.
This will require you to be cognizant of your thoughts throughout the day, but you can do this by checking in with yourself the either mentally, verbally, or by writing it down, which is what I recommend. Ask yourself:
- “What thoughts are on my mind?”
- “Am I restless?”
- “Am I frustrated?”
- Am I sad or tired?
What you may notice is that the same thoughts occupy your mind, what are those specific thoughts? How often do you have these thoughts? The goal of tracking your thoughts is to recognize which thoughts are holding you back from being happy at work.
Step #2: Consciously re-direct those negative thoughts about work to more positive and empowering thoughts as they happen.
Once you are aware of the negative thoughts that occupy your mind, you are going to begin training your brain, slowly but surely, to think more positive and empowering thoughts to get you through the day in a healthier manner.
There are a couple of ways to re-affirm the positive thoughts and thought patterns:
- The first is by using a gratitude journal. Get a small journal or piece of paper and write the things that you are thankful for. Bring your mind back to a happy and joyful state. When you recognize the same negative thoughts patterns happening, write a positive thought about work in your journal. You’re literally breaking that negative thought pattern.
- The second way is to change your external environment. When you notice negative thought patterns occurring, step away into a phone booth, an empty room, or go for a walk and just pay attention to your breath and the details around you, or listen to a really upbeat song. Stop those thoughts in their track by doing a completely different activity. Those are just a few ways, if you would like to know some more, let me know (I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
Once you teach your mind and body to redirect a negative thought about work into a positive thought, then it will start to habitually redirect those thoughts. Not only will your thoughts become less negative and more positive, but you will also notice that situations around you are not as bad or actually pretty great. You will start to change the filter of how you see the world. You will literally see it in a new way! You will start appreciating the things and people around you. You’ll be happier, have more energy, and you’ll be more motivated to do better at work.