Work Happy: How to be Happier at Work

Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Career Advice | 7 comments

Happiness is within your reach right now, in your personal life and at work. It’s often easier to be happy in our personal lives where we have more control over our activities and schedule, so how do we experience happiness at work?

Happiness is a state of being, it comes from within you. A life of happiness comes from a regular practice of happiness instead of a “I’ll be happy when” mindset. Here are just a few ideas to help you experience more happiness at work.

It’s all in your attitude.
To feel happy you’ve got to think happy. Surround yourself with reminders of your own happiness to cultivate an attitude of happiness. You can do this by hanging photos of family, friends or a fun vacation in your cubicle. Decorate your office area with colors or textures that you like. If music is allowed, play music at work that evokes feelings of happiness. Make your workspace happy and you’ll feel happier.

Spend time with happy people.
If you want to be happy, surround yourself with people who are happy. You don’t have to spend all your time with very cheerful and optimistic co-workers if that’s not your style. Instead, limit your time with co-workers who gossip and complain, and seek out conversation and collaboration with co-workers who focus on solutions. Happy people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t.

Stop waiting for happiness to come to you.
Have you been waiting for waiting for the raise, recognition or promotion you know you deserve to be happy? When your happiness is contingent upon your situation it’s likely you won’t experience much happiness as long as things aren’t going your way. While recognition in the form or money or status can influence your happiness, these things aren’t the cause of your happiness, it’s your appreciation of them that makes you feel happy. As long as you’re focused on achieving more as a qualifier for happiness, there’s always going to be more to achieve and you’ll never reach contentment. As soon as you have one thing, you’ll want something else. Practice being happy for the things you have right now that are working for you. Note I didn’t suggest that you be happy for things that aren’t working for you, but really feel appreciation for what is.

Let go of what you can’t control.
You don’t control other people, so let go of your negative opinions about your annoying/slacker/rude/difficult co-worker. You may have legitimate complaints but complaining very rarely affects change in another person and focusing on your complaints only makes you unhappy in the long term. You don’t have to approve of or agree with your co-workers to let go of your judgements. Try focusing on yourself- what you’re doing, thinking and feeling instead of paying so much attention to whether or not someone else is behaving badly. You have a choice, would you rather be right or happy? Love yourself enough to let go of something that is out of your hands.

Smile your way to a happier you!

A smile is scientifically proven to improve your mood. Turn up the corners of your mouth. Flash those pearly whites! Smiling is contagious and most people will smile if you smile at them. With all that smiling around the office, pretty soon you’ll find you’re smiling without thinking about it.

And while we’re on the subject of smiling, don’t forget to laugh, too. Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s guaranteed to make you feel happier.

Give thanks.
Gratitude is my all time favorite practice of happiness. Make a habit of writing a gratitude list- when you’re happy and when you’re not. Actively acknowledging the joys in your life will increase your happiness when you’re already feeling happy, and help you to have a more positive perspective when you’re not. Are you going to be grateful for what you have, or grieve what you don’t have? You will be happier with a little gratitude.

Happiness isn’t an achievement, it’s a tool that you can choose to pick up and use. Practice happiness every day and you will be happier, regardless of your situation. The more you think, hear, act and speak happy, the more you’ll feel happy. You already have happiness within you, all you have to do is practice it.

“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” – Barbara de Angelis

Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


  1. I sure do love the way you set things out so clearly, Chrysta! Based on the way you write and formulate your posts, I always feel that what you propose is achievable! =)

    As you know, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of taking charge of our happiness! Another thing that I like to put on my work desk is a notebook or board of inspiring quotes too! =) They really make my day when things get rough. And that De Angelis quote is a perfect one to post up! =)

  2. Just this morning I read a blog post on exactly this subject: “Let go of what you can’t control”. This is one of the smallest lessons but yet it has one of the biggest impacts in making one live a happy and healthy life.

    Many cases of depression are largely due to failure to let go of what one cannot control.

    • Thanks for your comment! Recently I was really chewing on an issue I couldn’t control and I wrote the following on a sticky note and stuck it to my monitor: “Just for today I will love myself enough to let go of something that is out of my hands.” Brilliant! Seeing that note on my monitor every day took a piece of what I’d been carrying around with me until I found I was no longer carrying it at all.

      Sometimes what I can’t control is my own emotional response/reaction to a situation. I want to be able to control my own thoughts but I can’t always do that. I find relief when I let go of trying to control that, too. Sometimes I just say, “fine, I’m upset and there’s nothing I can do about it!” What a great release it is!

  3. Chrysta, aloha. Obviously it was meant to be that we connected. When you started reading my posts you must have been wondering if I had been visiting your blog first for ideas. No wonder you liked some of my posts so much. Speaking of “scientifically proven,” Chrysta, guaranteed you will absolutely love my post and the statistics in the clip on “Smile–It’s Worth $25,000.”

    As you already know, Chrysta, I am a big believer in change your attitude, change your life.

    Once again, Chrysta, I find myself in 100% agreement with what you say. Until next time, aloha. Janet

    • It must be kismet that we met! I’ve been thinking lately about how my life has changed in the past 6 months or so, and how those changes, while I was originally resistant to them, made space in my life to re-energize and re-engage myself in the blogging world. I’m so grateful to find inspiration and fellowship through my blogging experience. It is truly wonderful to know you!

  4. Hmmm, while reading this post, reflecting on my own workplace, I just realized how much time I spend listening to my co-workers’ complaints at work. Yikes!

    Love the reminder that happiness is something that we have a lot of control over and not something that just “happens” to us.

    • Thanks for your comment, Anne.

      I know I have been in a situation before where I listen to co-workers complain a lot, too. It’s so easy to do. But I also recognize that I start to feel frustrated more often at work when that’s what I’m around at work so I try to avoid listening to complaining as much as I can.

      If I’m in a situation where I’m physically stuck around complainers, I try my best to say something positive in response to the complaint. Not negating the complaint, per se, just adding my own perspective. It helps me to repeat out loud what I know to be true for me. And I choose not to see everything wrong in the workplace and go on and on about it! :)


  1. Links to Love: How to be happy | Live • Love • Work - [...] Love Work: Work Happy: How to be happier at work Check out my article on creating happiness at work…

Leave a Comment