May 2nd, 2017
With studies on the workplace showing that unhappy workers are proven to be 10% less productive it has become increasingly important that we address these issues and try to improve the happiness of not just ourselves but our colleagues and employees. Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the question that we will be hearing is: are you surviving or are you thriving?
Are you happy?
There are many sayings, which I'm sure you've heard before, that talk about happiness being a state of mind- the most famous quote being from Walt Disney - "happiness is a state of mind. It's just according to the way you look at things." Of course, we could argue, that Disney was happy- the man lived in a dream world occupied by talking mice and flying elephants! But, regardless, there is some leverage in his argument.
We tend to look for things that re-affirm our thinking on a subject or a person. Therefore if you're the kind of person that thinks that bad things happen to you the you will look out for bad things. If you're an "Oh no, not again. Typical. This always happens to me" kind of person then you are likely to have a totally different outlook on life than an "Oh well, nevermind" kind of person and it's quite likely that you don't consider yourself as happy as other people.
So how do we think like these ‘other people'? Good question! Maybe we can't alter our actual thoughts but what we can do is alter our behaviour and try to search for happiness instead of expecting it to come to us.
We feel as a society that things make us happy, doing and buying things, spending money and consuming will make us happy and if we don't achieve what we want then we will be unhappy. I'd like to argue that this isn't the case- yes it's a cliche but happiness isn't something that you get it's something you HAVE. As AA Milne wisely said: "don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
Stop doing things that make you feel bad, for example; if going out on the lash means that you suffer a three day bout of anxiety and depression then maybe this isn't a good idea. We can take this logic to anything that we do that doesn't make us happy and stop doing it. If you get more happiness from staying home and chilling out with the cats then do that instead, if you're in two minds about doing something that you know will make you uncomfortable then don't do it.
If being around certain people makes you feel bad and the way they behave makes you feel uncomfortable and bad on yourself then consider cutting them out of your life. If a person makes you feel rubbish about yourself then stop investing your time in them, once you've done that they can't hurt you as much. Invest your time wisely in things and people that make you happy!
Find Joy in the everyday
As Robert Brault said, "Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things." Little things can make you happier than you realise; why not try smiling at every stranger you walk past or singing to yourself? If you know that you are happiest looking at great views then go for a walk and find a great view or heck even find a really good screensaver so you can see it from your work desk. If you know that you really love learning then learn- find something you're interested in and join up to a course or if it's work-related why not ask your manager to fund it?
Make your workplace somewhere you want to be and adapt the way you do things to make yourself smile - you can achieve this in even the most mundane jobs, for example; if you have a spreadsheet intensive job you could jazz up with a bit of colour!
Don't feel guilty about indulging in your guilty pleasures (why are they guilty ones?) if this makes you happy. If you want to binge watch TV in your Pajamas then do it - stop feeling like you SHOULD be doing things if you're quite happy doing nothing.
This week as you go about your life think about whether this is making you happy - if the answer is no then don't do it.
If you would like some inspiration on how little things can improve your day check out my blog 10 easy things that take less than 10 minutes to improve your day. We CAN find joy if we look for it - just enjoy the little things in life.
You can check out our blog on how to get happy here