If you’re unhappy at work–or anywhere else, for that matter–it’s because you’ve made yourself unhappy. There’s an easy way to change that.
When you’re unhappy, it’s because you’ve decided to be unhappy.
Maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision; maybe it crept up on you while you weren’t looking–but it was a decision nonetheless. And that’s good news, because you can decide instead to be happy. You just need to understand how and why you make the decisions.
What Are Your Rules?
Happiness and unhappiness (in work and in life) result entirely from the rules in your head that you use to evaluate events. Those rules determine what’s worth focusing on, and how you react to what you focus on.
Many people have rules that make it very difficult for them to happy and very easy for them to be miserable.
Make Yourself Happier: 3 Steps
1. Document Your Current Rules
Set aside a half-hour of alone time and, being as honest as you can, write down the answers to these two questions:
- What has to happen for me to be happy?
- What has to happen for me to be unhappy?
Now examine those rules. Have you made it easier to miserable than to be happy? If so, your plan is probably working.
2. Create a Better Set of Rules
Using your imagination, create and record a new set of rules that would make it easy for you to be happy and difficult to be miserable. Examples:
- “I enjoy seeing the people I work with each day.”
- “I really hate it when natural disasters destroy my home.”
Don’t worry whether or not these new rules seem “realistic”–that’s not the point. All internal rules are arbitrary, anyway. Just write rules that would make you happier if you really believed them.
3. Post the New Rules Where You’ll See Them
When you’ve completed your set of “new” rules, print out them out and post copies in three places: your bathroom mirror, the dashboard of your car, and the side of your computer screen. Leave them up, even after you’ve memorized them.
Having those new rules visible when you’re doing other things gradually re-programs your mind to believe the new rules. You will be happy at work. It’s really that simple.