Feeling trapped at work? Happy is a choice.

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Do you feel happy or excited about the day ahead when you wake up in the morning? According to ongoing research, most of us will answer some form of “no” for the majority of the time. Yes, we all have good days and bad days, but if your bad days extend to over 50% of the time, it may be time to remind yourself that your state of contentment is actually a choice you’ve made.

The mental and physical effects of being in the wrong or the right job extend far beyond life in the office. Researchers from Warwick university found that people who are happy at work are 12% more productive, so yes, it makes sense for employers to work harder to encourage a bright-eyed and bushy tailed workforce. Not only do we see higher levels of productivty, we also see sales rise by 37% and accuracy by 19%. Throw in good health (less absenteeism) and improved relationships at work and suddenly you start realising that JOY is simply the only logical way forwards.

WHY BEING UNHAPPY SUCKS

Scientists the world over draw clear neurological links between feelings, thoughts and actions. Being unhappy at work, or consistently unhappy in any area of your life is the equivalent of wearing permanent blinkers. Being unhappy forces us to FOCUS on the very thing that is creating the pain. Stub your toe on the side of your bed in the morning, and all you can think about is the pain until it subsides. Being unhappy at work creates a similar pattern. If the source of pain isn’t addressed, much like other pain, it can start to spread to other areas – as you desperately try to rid yourself of the dark epicentre. Unhappy people may become depressed, feel excluded or develop secondary illnesses. They become less creative, lose the ability to make good decisions and fail to process information logically. Being unhappy is monumentally bad for the body and soul. It’s also contagious.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HAPPINESS LEVELS

The way your perceive and experience your day-to-day life boils down to the chemicals in your brain. Whether you’re full of joy, troubled, stressed, angry, ecstatic – all of these can be traced back to what is going on in your brain. The chemical soup your brain produces is constantly affecting your feelings and behaviour – and it’s always instinctively pushing you to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Whenever you achieve a state of success or achievement, your brain rewards you with HAPPY.

You’re not a passenger in the bus of life – you’re driving the bus! It is scientifically PROVEN that we are in a position to take control of our own happiness, by addressing not just our circumstances, but also the chemical balance in our own brains.

If you’re not happy at work, yes, make change. If you are intrinsically happy doing your job but failing to grasp your mojo – try tapping into the chemical processes in your grey matter and hack into your happy neurochemicals via the right diet, exercise and mental stimulation. If stress is getting you down, look at physical changes you can make in your life, but also research how to better your MENTAL peace of mind.

 

TAKE ACTION

In your role as driver rather than passenger, take action towards happiness. With even some initial small changes, you can do it!

Accept

It would be painfully idealistic to assume that we can all change our professional circumstances at will, but human nature dictates that many of us will struggle on without even trying.

Are you that person who has grown accepting of unhappiness?

If you’re not happy at work, but can’t look for another job for your own reasons, maybe it’s time to re-set your expectations or work towards some other long or short-term goals. Can you find happiness in other ways? Perhaps learning a new skill in our outside of work might give you the boost you need.

Change

If you are unhappy at work, look deeply at the situation and work out which aspects of work are generating your unease. Who or what is making you miserable? Once you identify the root of the problem, you can take specific steps to solve it.

Maybe you have a potentially great job but somehow your current responsibilities don’t stimulate you enough?

Be the master of your own destiny! Re-design your role so that it aligns with your interests.

Leave 

You can always do your best, make change or create new patterns, but sometimes your daily work is affected by things (or people) that are outside your control. If you’ve genuinely done all you can to accept or change your situation and are still unhappy, then it’s probably time to move on. Life is for the living and it’s OK to leave a role that makes you feel unfulfilled for something that suits you better.