Why your happiness at work matters

I want to take you on a mindfulness journey into your happiness. Ready? Let’s begin.

Picture this: It’s Monday morning. You’re heading to work after the weekend. You’re getting on the bus or your bike, into the car or walking toward the office. A routine you’ve been doing for a while. You’ve got your coffee or smoothie in hand. Your work bag filled with yours things. The work part of your day is about to begin.

Pause and take a breath. How do you feel?

Do you feel excited for the day ahead? Do you have to psyche yourself up for the week? Do you feel tired already?

No matter where you are in world, one thing people have in common is work. Most of us spend over half our waking hours at work. A recent Gallup study found that only 13% of employees across 142 countries are engaged in their jobs. Are you one of them?

Pause and take another breath. Ask yourself – am I happy in my job? Now listen for the answers. They’ll come to you via your thoughts, feelings, and the physical sensations in your body. What do you hear?

Your happiness has a ripple affect

I could go on about the benefits of your happiness at work. Many studies have proven that employee happiness is directly related to increased productivity, boosts of innovation, higher employee retention, and overall company success.

The most important personal benefit I’ve seen is what I call the happiness ripple affect. Unhappy people at work come home stressed and angry. Happy people at work come home happy. I say this as someone who knows, from my own experiences and the dozens of organizations I’ve worked with. Your work life matters to your home life in big meaningful way.

Most people I talk to don’t want to come home and yell at their kids or partner. They don’t want to have trouble sleeping and pop antacids to manage stomach pains from stress. They don’t want to always talk about the crappy things at work every night. They want to feel good.

I don’t want to scare you when I say your work life impacts your whole life. A recent study at Harvard and Stanford Universities on workplace health found that work-related stress shortens lives. Work-related stress shortens lives. That sits heavy for me when I think of the time I spent on anti-depressants and ulcer medication in my first years of corporate life. Since then, I’ve discovered happiness in work and felt the ripple affect transform my health and marriage.

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One way you can increase your happiness

I’m not going to lie to you – there’s no magical fast way to happiness. Especially if you totally hate your job (pst, you’re not alone if that’s you). This isn’t one of those articles that tells you the 5 things you can do to be happy. I can tell you from my own life and the practices I help my clients with, mindfulness is the simplest way to access more happiness at work. Simple doesn’t mean easy, but it does mean possible.

One more pause and take another breath. Ask yourself – when am I happy?

Mindfulness is being able to notice what you’re experiencing without judging it as good, bad or ugly.

One of the amazing things mindfulness can do for you to create space between things. Between your day-to-day tasks and meetings, and between your thoughts and feelings. Take a moment now to reflect on when you’re happy. Without judgment or criticism, simply notice what arises. Maybe it’s when you’re being creative, or on your own in the woods, or with your family. Maybe you see it’s never, and that’s ok. The goal is to bring awareness, not to beat yourself up. Take a few breaths and get curious about what comes up for you.

As we wrap this mindfulness journey, take a minute to capture a few words that came up for you. Know that with the simple act of pausing you’ve already created a space for more happiness in your life.