Going to work isn’t always easy, but dragging yourself out of bed during these dark, cold winter months can be even harder. If you’re unhappy in your job, however, the idea of going to work can be positively depressing. While work isn’t meant to easy (as the old saying goes, it is a four letter word…) neither should it contribute in any real way to your unhappiness or dissatisfaction.
If you’re stuck in a rut at your job, have lost your motivation, are finding it hard to concentrate or are just seriously stressed, there are many ways you can take control yourself and improve your working situation. Without making any drastic decisions or major life choices you may later regret, here are three quick and easy ways to boost your happiness at work.
You may think that leaving your desk for ten minutes of meditation may be frowned upon by your employers. You’d probably be wrong. Although for years it was dismissed as a “hippie” pursuit only enjoyed by new age fanatics, more and more business are beginning to implement meditation programs to improve focus and minimize stress among their employees. Huge companies like Apple, Nike, AOL and the Huffington Post have recently introduced mindful mediation schemes to great success.
But how exactly can this help you at work? Mediation has been used to treat anxiety and stress for years, but it’s only recently that the extent of its success at treating these issues is coming to light. Studies have shown that among people experiencing mild anxiety or depression, meditation had a comparable effect as prescribed medications. The results are so startling that many schools in the US are initiating mediation programs to help alleviate stress. If your anxiety levels need to be brought down at work, pop into a quiet room and give meditation a go; ten minutes is all you need to feel more relaxed and collect yourself.
Get a Plant
Whether you’re green-fingered or not, getting a plant can be the single most important factor towards your happiness and wellbeing at work. Sound dramatic? It isn’t as farfetched as it sounds. Having a plant by your desk has been proven to increase employee productivity by 15 percent, and indoor plants also elevate mood and reduce stress-associated depression. Further than just boosting your mood, plants also help detoxify the air, thus improving general health, quality of sleep and temperament. So, now you’ve decided to get a plant for your desk, which type of plant is best?
There are several plants that are excellent at removing toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, making them ideal for the workplace: the Gerber Daisy is beautiful and easy to maintain, but is also great at reducing the levels of benzene in the air; the Boston fern is equally as effective at removing formaldehyde from the air – as a toxic compound that has been shown to cause cancer, formaldehyde is not something you want to be inhaling. If you want to make more of a statement at your desk, consider the striking Peace Lily, which eradicates multiple VOCs from the air, ensuring you can work in an environment that’s clean as well as calm.
Make an Effort, Visually
Another small step you can take in the mornings to ensure your working day is more productive and fulfilling is deliberately wearing mood-boosting clothes. For those people lucky enough to be able to wear what they want at work, choosing an outfit that has positive connotations can have an enormous impact on your mood. A 2008 report showed that just thinking about cherished items of clothes gave people a confidence boost. Clothes can work like photographs, in that they can bring memories from a certain point rushing back. If you have clothes that have positive meanings for you, don’t just save them for special occasions – wear them to work!
Making more of an effort visually doesn’t apply just to your appearance, however. Your working environment is equally as important. Studies have shown that employees who make an effort with the design of their workspace are up to 40 percent happier than staff members who make no effort with it. Try personalizing your workspace with simple touches like family photos –these can enhance your overall happiness at work and give you more of a sense of belonging. Clearing away unsightly clutter on your desk also helps streamline your workspace and make you less stressed.
While these three steps may not be able to solve an existential work crisis, they can and they do have an effect on overall happiness and wellbeing at work. From taking ten minutes to gather your thoughts in a quiet room to popping out during lunch to buy a plant for your desk, these steps are minimal in effort – but can be surprising large in return.
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