What is happiness?
Happiness is something that has been worked on being defined for millennia. From roman philosophers to scientists today. One of my favourite definitions is by Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness she defines happiness as: “The experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
Happiness is really what we want for ourselves, our friends and families and our children. If you ask people what they want for those they love. They want them to be happy
Why does happiness in our careers/work and the workplace matter?
We spend more time at work (or doing work) then we do with our spouses, our children and on our hobbies combined. If we spend 1/3 of our life at work, we should not be spending that time being unhappy.
Here are some top tips to create more happiness at work and for yourself:
- Think about your own happiness at work. Be aware of your own happiness at work. Check in to notice – how do you feel at work? What brings you that sense of contentment, meaning and connection? Are you doing enough of that?
- Gratitude – Gratitude helps us notice and appreciate the good things that have happened. Each day write down 3 specific things you were grateful for at work. This helps you train your brain to focus on the positive.
- Work less – Productivity is a buzz word in business these days, we have been asked to “do more with less” for so long, that we have stopped being productive, and harmed our resilience. When we slow down, we make more space to do the work that matters, and working less hours is proven to increase productivity. (Check out the 4 Day Work Week movement)
- Focus on connection – In our every busy world, and high workload, high stress work environments we rarely take the time to connect with our work colleagues. Our sense of team connection and relationships at work have suffered. However enhanced and positive team relationships are how work gets done. High social support is the key to managing high workload. A high workload and low social support is the prescription for burnout at work. Take time to focus on relationships and connecting with your colleagues on a personal level.
- Celebrate progress – In this ever increasing busy world we will always have more to do. If we didn’t have a “to do” list, then we wouldn’t have a job to do! Instead of thinking of all the things that we have yet to do, take a moment and create a Ta-Dah list. Stop to notice all the work that you have done in any given day/week, and celebrate making meaningful progress in your work.
About the author
Cambridge-based, Sarah Metcalfe
is a Chief Happiness Officer and Founder, Happy Coffee Consulting
works with many companies globally through her UK-based Happy Coffee Consulting company and is part of a global partnership who have trained hundreds of budding happiness officers over the past few years through its certified chief happiness officer training. In July 2020 she became co-leader of the Woohoo Partnership Network, a group of happiness at work experts, from thirty one countries. This partnership has helped to train over 100,000 people worldwide on being happier at work and provided training and keynotes to companies like Accenture, KPMG, LEGO, Shell, Microsoft, Nespresso and many others.