Workplace Wellness

by Liggy Webb

Happiness habits

Happiness and wellbeing are inextricably linked. It is important to remember that your behaviour in the workplace is part of what makes the environment a good place to be. If everyone at work is happy and positive and friendly then the chances are it is going to be a much better place to be.

Laughter

Laughter, for example, can be a very positive environment enhancer. Some organisations may frown upon the idea of laughter at work, seeing it as a distraction from getting the work done. The work ethic many of us were raised with also reinforces this attitude that ‘Work isn’t supposed to be fun!’ Well why not?

Scientific research points to a better way of living and working. A recent study conducted at financial institutions in America found that managers who facilitated the highest level of employee performance used humour the most often.

Scientific data also proves laughter to be an integral part of physical wellness. Dr William Fry of Stanford University has demonstrated that laughing 200 times burns off the same amount of calories as ten minutes on the rowing machine.

Another study reveals that, after a bout of laughter, blood pressure drops to a lower, healthier level than before the laughter began. Laughter also oxygenates your blood (and thus increases your energy level), relaxes your muscles and works out all major internal systems like the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Furthermore, researchers report that laughter also affects the immune system. According to Dr Lee Berk of the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California, laughing makes it grow stronger, with the body’s T-cells, natural killer cells and antibodies all showing signs of increased activity.

As more and more groups realise the benefits of laughter, they incorporate it into their wellness programmes and day-to-day work. Many organisations have a lot of funny and resourceful people who just need to be given permission and encouragement to use their sense of humour on the job.

So why not look at introducing Humour and fun into to your work environment?

How to be happy at work

You spend a huge proportion of your life at work, so you might as well be happy there. Here are some tips towards achieving a happiness habit at work.

Make friends

Do you have a best friend at work? Liking and enjoying your co-workers are hallmarks of a positive, happy work experience. Take time to get to know them. Your network provides support, resources, sharing and caring.

Do something you enjoy every single day

You may or may not love your current job and you may or may not believe that you can find something in your current job to love, but you can. Take a look at yourself, your skills and interests, and find something that you can enjoy doing every day. If you do something you enjoy every single day, your current job won’t seem so bad.

Take charge of your own personal development

You are the person with the most to gain from continuing to develop professionally. Take charge of your own growth. Ask for specific and meaningful help from your boss, but march to the music of your personally-developed plan and goals. You have the most to gain from growing – and the most to lose, if you stand still. Learning with others can also create a great team environment.

Take responsibility for knowing what is happening at work

Seek out the information you need to work effectively. Develop an information network and use it. Assertively request a weekly meeting with your boss and ask questions to learn. You are in charge of the information you receive.

Learn to negotiate and only make commitments you can keep

One of the most serious causes of work stress and unhappiness is failing to keep commitments. Many employees spend more time making excuses for failing to keep a commitment, and worrying about the consequences of not keeping that commitment, than they do performing the tasks promised. Create a system of organisation and planning that enables you to assess your ability to complete a requested commitment. Don’t volunteer if you don’t have time.

If your workload is exceeding your available time and energy, make a comprehensive plan to ask the boss for help and resources. Don’t wallow in a swamp of unkempt promises.

Choose to be happy at work

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Native American proverb

Happiness is largely a choice. This is true: you can choose to be happy at work. You may not have the best employer in the world; nevertheless, thinking positively about your work and dwelling on the aspects of your work you like will help hugely.

Don’t get embroiled in critical behaviour and whinging. We can all find a wealth of things to complain about if we look hard enough. Find co-workers you like and enjoy and spend your time with them. Your choices at work largely define your experience. You can choose to be happy at work. Work is what YOU make it.