We’ve all been there — the end of a long, tiring work week, when all we want to do is go home and crawl in bed. When the rest of your weekend isn’t spent relaxing, but dreading Monday morning when you have to go back and do it all over again.
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had come to me, a career coach, specifically because they hate their job. They don’t necessarily want to leave, but they can’t stand how unhappy they are day in and day out.
I know, it seems like an impossible question: how to be happy at work when you hate it? I’m here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the dreary work tunnel. Of course, if you’re truly miserable and your job is toxic, it might be time for you to look into other opportunities. However, if you’re just finding yourself in a slump, where the day-to-day just, well, sucks, you may want to start focusing on projecting positivity.
We know that positivity is beneficial. It can reduce our stress, enhance our health, and overall make us and those around us happier and in better spirits. However, when we’re down in the work dumps, it can be hard to remember any positive feelings, let alone how to enact it in our daily lives.
Think about it. When was the last time you went to have small talk with your coworkers on a break? When did you last ask your boss about her day, or smile at the barista at the coffee cart? With positivity, it truly is the little things that count. Just imagine if you celebrated your coworkers after leaving a really important meeting, or cheer them on beforehand with a “go get ‘em?” How about just saying “thank you” more regularly? Studies actually show that people instinctively want to reciprocate positivity, and that taking the time to be positive at work can improve morale and productivity. Think of how good you’d feel if someone congratulated you on a big pitch, or high-fived you for landing a big client.
And yes, your increased positivity will not only affect those around you, but will also make you feel better. According to Susan Weinsheck, the author of “How To Get People To Do Stuff,” we’re hardwired to enjoy little rewards throughout our day, and that celebrating the little things translates as a reward in our brains. Basically, even just acknowledging something small, like that your local coffee shop had your favorite pastry in stock this morning, will make you more optimistic throughout your day.
I know it can be hard to try to radiate positivity at work when all you want to do is go home and rest. But here are a few ways you can incorporate positive thinking into your day, so you can get those positive benefits.
You’ve probably heard before that meditation is a great way to improve your mental health and increase happiness. Research shows that daily meditations (even just ten minutes) increased positive feelings and emotions.
- Take a 10 minute walk
We already know that walking is good for our health, but did you know it’s also good for mental health? Studies show that short daily walks improve brain function, boost positive thinking, and can even decrease your likelihood of developing depression by 26%. These are all great benefits, and will definitely help you start forming more positive thoughts in your daily work life.
- Make a gratitude list
As I mentioned before, taking the time to appreciate everything around you is one of the greatest ways to boost positivity in your day. If you’re finding this difficult, try making a list of five things you’re thankful for in your day. For example: My coworker held the door open for me today when my hands were full. Or, my spouse let me sleep an extra fifteen minutes this morning. Whatever it is that you can find gratitude in, write it down, and you’ll find the list growing by the day!
I know that positive thinking doesn’t always come easily, especially in times like these. But it’s a practice, like anything else, and if you put the work in, you’ll absolutely be able to increase those positive thoughts and start enjoying your days more. Just start small — I know you can do this.