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Staying Happy at Work pt. 2: Helping Can Make You Happy

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Even if you start each day on a good note, you can still be unhappy at work. If you’re persistently unhappy when you go into the office, stopping to treat yourself to a fancy coffee isn’t going to make much impact. When you’re in a long term slump, everything seems a little more frustrating than it should. Deliberately trying to put yourself in a good mood may not work. What can you do? Before you make a hasty decision to leave your current company, try to become more aware of your coworkers and volunteer for projects or other opportunities. Collaborating regularly with coworkers can make a big difference in your work week. Check out a few easy ways to help out and help yourself get back on track at work.

  • Acknowledge your coworkers. This sounds too easy. What’s the catch? But the simple act of acknowledging a coworker when you pass each other in the hall will make a big difference. When people are polite and friendly in the office, the atmosphere is lighter and you’re more likely to look forward to getting to work. Take the time to say hello or ask the person who sits next to you about their weekend. Even an easy “good night” when you pack up for the day will make you seem more open and approachable, which will likely lead others to return the sentiment. You may not become best friends with everyone, but when you’re having a bad day, a greeting from a coworker can perk you up.
  • Say “Thank You.” The easiest way to show you appreciate the work someone did is to say “thank you.” While this may be something you do automatically, taking the time to thank someone for their help or their input can mean a lot. Everyone wants their work to be genuinely appreciated and hearing a coworker acknowledge that can make a big difference. Taking a moment to acknowledge someone’s efforts will make them more likely to help you in the future, too, which can result in a better workday for you. Your coworkers will be happier for being appreciated and when one person is in a good mood, it can change the whole vibe in the office from gloomy to cheery.
  • Offer to help. Did you know that helping others can literally make you happier? A University of Wisconsin, Madison study found that altruism in the workplace resulted in happier people overall. Offering to help a coworker who is behind on projects or overwhelmed will make their burdens lighter. You’ll also reap the rewards of volunteering. This doesn’t mean you should only help out to get praise or look good. Many people may perceive those who behave altruistically as having a hidden agenda or think the person is helping out of self-interest. However, researchers found that people did want to help others to genuinely make a difference. Those who offer to lend a helping hand tend to feel a sense of well-being when they do so, which can be a reward in itself. So, if you’re having a bad day, offer to help out with a project and reap the benefits. Your coworker will be relieved, you’ll be happier. It’s a win-win!

One of the best ways to be consistently happy at work is to maintain a great working relationship with your coworkers. You don’t have to become close friends, but knowing you’re all part of a team and happy to help each other can make the work week a little brighter!

Categories: Career Planning
Tags: careers;

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