How to Be Happy at Work: 8 Surprising Secrets

Try these simple tactics to manage stress better and improve your overall happiness.

By Sharon Salzberg adapted from Real Happiness at Work
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Begin the day with a resolve.

“Today I will become more aware of one particular action.” Then place your attention on it throughout the day. Some simple suggestions: opening doors, greeting customers or clients, reaching for the phone. This will broaden your sense of self-awareness and can help you to identify aspects of your work personality that you have previously ignored, such as what you struggle with and what you truly enjoy.

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Before beginning a new project or meeting or conversation, ask yourself, “What do I most want to see happen from this?”

Whenever stress becomes a distraction nightmare, remember this goal and steer the conversation or workload back in the right direction.

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If you find yourself straining to think “outside the box,” explore what made up that box.

Understanding how you got to where you are is the first step in going beyond that point.

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Take a few minutes to think about how you would like to be perceived at the conclusion of a meeting, an email, a call.

Would you like to come across as fearsome, gentle, resolute, inclusive, open-minded, unwavering? How do you feel when you perceive others that way? Strive to become a coworker that you would want to interact with and more opportunities will come to you.

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Notice how you are holding something in your hand—a steering wheel or a cup, for instance.

What is the quality of your grip? Sometimes we exert so much force holding things, it exacerbates tension without our realizing it. Learn to recognize tension right as it begins so you can resolve it before it leads to a melt down.

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In a situation of potential conflict, let compassion guide you.

What would you want someone to say to you if they were upset with you? What would you want to hear if you knew there were two legitimate sides of the story?

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If you are feeling down or discouraged, consider helping someone at work.

The distraction will not only help you return to your work with a fresh mind, but science has identified a happiness-helping feedback loop. The more you help, the happier you can be.

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Before sending an important email, send it to yourself first.

When you open it as the recipient, you'll take in the tone, implications and omissions that you might otherwise miss when you're focused on composition.

Looking for more happiness tricks?

Sharon Salzberg's book Real Happiness at Work is full of simple "stealth meditations" to improve your work day, answers to your toughest work-happiness questions, and a guide through the eight pillars of happiness in the workplace, with real success stories to motivate your journey. Learn more here.

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