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I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me


Action 49

Find happiness at work


Consciously choosing to find ways to increase happiness at work can make a difference to how we, and others, feel and how well we do. So instead of groaning about work, why not think of how you can get more happiness from what you do?

why do it

The majority of us are either indifferent about our work or feel negatively about it. Since research shows that how we choose to think about something makes a big difference to how we feel about it, this likely has a big impact on how happy we are overall. Further, since people who are happy have been shown to do better at work, this could also be impacting how we perform in our jobs, which can have a further knock on effects on our well-being.

Consciously choosing to find ways to be engaged is related to higher engagement. And being more engaged is likely to contribute more to our happiness and well-being, as well as leading to higher performance and productivity.

Each of us is different and so are our individual circumstances. But we can all find ways to increase happiness at work - our own and that of others, if only in seemingly small ways. Small ways can make a difference.

A growing body of research is showing that there are plenty of actions we can take to increase happiness. Given the sheer number of hours we spend working over a lifetime, it makes sense to consider the ways in which we can make the most of the work that we do in terms of increasing happiness and well-being - our own and that of those around us.

Many of the Action for Happiness keys to happier living, and the actions that support them, are routes to directly or indirectly satisfy our basic psychological needs and so our happiness. This action is designed to get you thinking about how to these apply at work.

where to start

Here are some questions to think about to help you apply the 10 Keys to Happiness at work…

Giving:How am I helping and supporting colleagues, customers, our partners, external advisers and suppliers? How does my work make a difference to others?

Relating:How can I enhance my relationships at work? How do I balance work and home life?

Exercising:How can I build physical activity into my day? How am I making sure that I am eating well and getting enough rest?

Appreciating:How can I build moments of mindfulness into my working day?

Trying out:What skills am I building or new things have I experienced?

Direction:What are my goals at work - today, this week, this year? How do these fit and contribute to my overall life goals and help me grow in competence, build my relationships and contribute to others? How can my goals and those of my team and organization align?

Resilience:What are my tactics for dealing with tough challenges at work? Am I focusing on what I can control? Do I need to ask others for some help? Is there any one around me that might need help?

Emotion:What things (however small) can I find to feel good about at work today? What's made me smile? How am I sharing these with others?

Acceptance:How am I making best use of my strengths at work? Am I taking a balanced view perspective on what I'm doing well and not so well?

Meaning:How does my work today connect with my overall purpose and what gives meaning to my life?

…So now what action will you take to increase happiness at work?


See Action for Happiness Keys to Happier Living

Stairs, M. & Galpin, M. (2010) Positive engagement: from employee engagement to workplace happiness. In P.A. Linley, S. Harrington & N. Garcea (Eds), Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work. NY: Oxford University Press

Linley,P.A., N.Garcea, & Harrington, S. (2011). Organizational applications of positive psychology: taking stock and a research roadmap for the future. In K.M.Sheldon, Kashdan,T.B. & Steger,M.F. Designing Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward. NY: Oxford University Press.