8 steps to a happier workplace

It’s the season for giving thanks and people understandably focus on items like family and health when pausing to think about what they’re thankful for.

Are you thankful for your job?

Negativity usually dominates conversations about work. Bad bosses, gossipy coworkers, long hours and low paychecks are examples of typical – and understandable – complaints. But a negative attitude can make an already bad situation seem worse. It might be time to try a different approach and swap the attitude for some gratitude, especially when most of your waking hours are spent at the office.

Check out these eight tips for making your workplace a happier space.

Keep the clutter away: Most people are happier and more productive in clean and organized surroundings. Keep the clutter to a minimum. Decorate an office – within reason – with personal objects that make you feel happy. This could include pictures or plants. If your job keeps you on the go, keep a picture on your phone of something or someone meaningful.

Say hello and smile: To the bus driver, the person in line at the coffee shop, your coworkers and your boss. A simple “hello” starts the day on a brighter note.

Notice the positives: Could you view your long commute as good contemplation time? Will you focus on the rude person you encountered today or the other multiple friendly people you met? Whether a day or an event is positive and negative is often a matter of perception.

Exercise: Most of us work sedentary jobs. Get up and move. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go outside and walk around the block. If the weather’s bad, walk around the building. Do stretches throughout the day that get your muscles moving.

Eat better: Just say no to the all-day junk snacking. It’s no secret that sugar highs don’t last long and wear you down in the long run. Stock your workspace with healthier snack alternatives like nuts, raisins, pretzels or popcorn.

Find a mentor and become a mentor: Regardless of your job title or industry, everyone has the opportunity to both find and be a mentor. Seek out someone at your office whose work style you admire and ask for a 30 meeting where you can ask about their professional background. If someone asks the same of you, pay it forward.

Take on new duties: Are you good at your job, but feeling kind of stale? Look for new projects to develop new skills. The new year can be a great time to talk to your boss about professional development opportunities.

Reflect at the end of the day: Before you go to bed, think of three positive things that happened to you today. Even the grayest day has a silver lining. Something as simple as seeing the sun shine, viewing a funny video or enjoying a good book or magazine counts.

Remember that things could be worse:  Admittedly this tip manipulates negativity for a positive outcome, but it can work. If your job wreaks havoc every day, it still could be worse. The alternative is not having a job at all, which is usually a worst case scenario than even the most horrible employment situation. While you should take steps to improve your work situation – which may include finding a new job – remind yourself of others not so fortunate to be employed.

If you’re feeling extra thankful this season, write down why you’re grateful for your job. Tuck that list away for a rainy day this spring to remind yourself of reasons to be thankful for your job every season on the year.