How to Keep Yourself Happy In the Office

Sometimes work is stressful.

And spending all that time in the office working can exasperate things.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a home office or outside office, juggling efficiency, productivity, time management, networking, collaboration, meetings, and more can take a toll on you.

But, being able to grasp all of these things and more is part of life. Being able to manage your time and squeeze in as much work as possible in the best time possible is part of leading a productive and fulfilling life.

It’s a good thing the internet offers a ton of articles on how to become more productive at work; how to save and manage time better; how to do more work; how not to survive on Red Bull and coffee, and so on. But, what is often neglected is the role of peace of mind, calmness and inner happiness that we need to cherish in order to live a healthy life and, of course, live a more productive life where we accomplish all of our goals in the long term.

In this article, we are going to shed light on the importance of inner happiness and satisfaction in hectic environments like the office, and how to maintain inner balance even under pressure. We are getting back to our roots here… Interested?

Hop on this endeavor with us!


Value Inner Happiness and Calm


Let’s be frank with ourselves: working in the office can be a challenging experience. And the sedentary lifestyles in the office setting, characterized by a lack of physical activities and use of a computer for much of the day, may impact us in the most negative way.

On top of that, communication within social groups in the office can be compromised by the stress in the office, leading to poor quality communications and high rate of disagreements.

Because it is often said we should always begin with ourselves, whenever you feel that the pressure is too much and the world is an unhappy place, try changing some of your own attitudes and perspectives first. That way you can maintain your inner peace and joy.

Keeping your inner self happy in the office is important for a number of reasons, one of which is that it allows you to be more resistant to external dissatisfaction and stress. 

Oftentimes, the stress we encounter in our workplaces is imposed or brought upon us by other people. If your inner peace and joy is full, you’ll be able to stay afloat of all the upheavals and stress happening in the office. This, in turn, will give you all of the power and stamina to keep on track even when it seems that everything around is falling apart.


Tips for Inner Self Happy in the Office


So, let’s look at some of the key things you can do to keep your inner self happy and peaceful in the office. To be honest, you may be surprised how simple most of these are:


1. Smile like you mean it


Yeah, just smile. Studies show there is amazing power in a simple smile. According to psychologist Sarah Stevenson, "Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain." Apart from this, a simple smile also makes you more attractive to others. A smile, warm and welcoming, is a sincere and effective way to make every conversation easier.

According to a study cited by Stevenson, when you see a person smiling at you, you’re more likely to feel acknowledged, rewarded and happy. This is because the smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the area in the brain that processes sensory rewards. How would you feel towards someone who just rewarded you? Certainly not antagonistic.

So, smile more in the office even when you think you have no reason to. As Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."


2. Build better friendships


Building strong, friendly relationships at work makes resolving common problems, hostilities and misunderstandings among friends easier than when you were not friends to begin with. Also, when working together, genuine friendships help to make your team even stronger and more cohisive.

When you have built a strong network of solid friends, you’ll feel happier and more calm knowing you have people who have your back. Your social needs are satisfied.

So, lend a helping hand whenever you can. Grab an extra coffee for your colleagues as a kind gesture that is able to inspire friendly relationships in the office. Maybe buy an occasional sandwich for colleagues to show love and care. Ask how her dog is doing or whether his daughter already passed her exams. Well, any kind and caring act is welcome, right?

To deepen bonds of friendship, be proactive and maybe organize a group outdoor activity or just a simple coffee date out of the office with colleagues. This is a good way to increase camaraderie, hone your leadership skills and, of course, do something good for coworkers.

And by the way, step one above can really help you when building solid friendships and make you and others happier in the office.


3. Get a good desk and chair


I’ll go out on a limb now and say that when it comes to cultivating joy and happiness in the office environment, it all hinges on having a good, comfortable desk and chair.

People tend to forget or overlook the basics. An appropriately furnished office is an important factor that influences not only your physical health, but also your productivity and, as a result, your success and happiness. Your joy is connected to your health, whether you realize it or not.

So, as a basic principle, get a comfortable office chair and desk to prevent straining, sore muscles, and other health issues while you are working. You do not want to sacrifice your physical health for finishing the project on time. Rather, it’s far better to take care of your own health so you can complete more of those projects in the future.

Good office chairs fit your body size and posture, helping to reduce back and neck pains from prolonged sitting in the office. They are created to match your body, not the reverse. Look out for proper backrest, headrest, and armrest to keep your muscles relaxed and relieve the blood vessels from strain. This will ultimately enhance your productivity, happiness and success.  


4. Give yourself a pat on the back every now and again


When you are in the office working on major projects, it is easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged sometimes. This leads to self-doubt, frustrations and unhappiness. To counter these feelings, you need to do two things consistently:

  • Remember past projects that you successfully completed and congratulate yourself for them. Past successes prove you are capable.
  • Next, look at current projects and congratulate yourself for the little forward steps you’re making and for every small win. Acknowledging little victories puts you in a positive frame of mind to press on happily.

Harvard Business professor Teresa Amabile and independent researcher Steven J. Kramer call this self-congratulatory practice for small wins "The Progress Principle." They report in an article on Harvard Business Review that celebrating “small wins” makes all the difference in how you feel and performe. If you are looking to boost progress in meaningful work and be happier in the office, start celebrating small wins. There’s power in small wins.


5. Avoid monotony


Doing the same thing every day, in the same way can be tiring, uninspiring and lead to depression. Try to spice your work routine up a bit by doing things a little differently.

While you may not be able to change your job, you can at least change how you do it or the sequence in which you do it. They say variety is the spice of life.

Take a break regularly while in the office. Go for a walk to clear your mind and exercise your body. Try working from another place away from the office, say, a coworking space or coffee shop, so you spice things up a bit and boost your productivity.

When you change the ways you have always done things, you may find the alternative ways refreshing and work even better, making you happier.


6. Keep work at work


With looming work targets and deadlines, you may be tempted to take unfinished work home. Don’t do it. Don’t take your unfinished work home.  

When your work leaks into your private time with family and close friends, it opens a can of worms. You could begin to build up some resentment towards it. You certainly can’t be happy when you have to do work you resent, can you?

In fact, taking work home can harm your social life, which results in dissatisfaction, poor relationships, and feelings of unmet basic needs. Leave your work in the office and enjoy some rest at home. You will usually come back to it with renewed strength and vigor.

There are, of course, moments when you have to sacrifice your personal space and time…but let´s not make it a habit.


7. Get enough rest


This is a follow up from point 6 above. A fully rested mind is able to think creatively and achieve a lot more.

Do not underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep and daytime naps to rest, because in the end this is exactly what you need to be more productive and happy.

Rest should also include taking vacation days. Take them and enjoy quality time with loved ones. You will come back a better and happier worker.


8. Communicate clearly with people


Office stress can oftentimes be traced to little misunderstandings among colleagues. Clear up issues quickly and clearly so they do not fester and promote negative energy in the office.

A lot of these issues usually can be taken care by communicating effectively, lovingly with each other.


Happiness is a choice. You can either choose to be happy or sad. I sincerely hope you choose to be happy, because then you will be a more productive and warm person to be around. You will also be a more creative and efficient worker.

Practice the tips shared above and you will be amazed at the improvement you will experience in your inner self and in your work life.

Artem Klimkin is a functional movement specialist (FMS) and an owner of My Ergonomic Chair blog, where he writes about ergonomics, workplace productivity and posture. Artem helps people to improve their physical and mental health by acquiring healthy daily habits and increasing awareness when it comes to body movement.