3 Unexpected Things You Can Do to Be Happier at Work

It’s probably not a surprise to you that happiness leads to success in nearly every domain of your life, including health, friendship, community involvement, creativity and, specifically, your job, career and business.[1]  Happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay.

However, happiness probably feels like an ephemeral fairy tale. There’s a global pandemic. Kitchen tables and sofas are the new work cubicle. Interactions with co-workers, vendors and clients are completely virtual. Zoom is now both a verb and a noun. The movie Ground Hog Day describes your life.

In this environment, is it even possible to be happy at work? Yes!

Here are three things you can do.

Build more certainty in your workday.

Your brain craves certainty. It wants to know the pattern occurring moment to moment so it can predict what is next. Anything that is unexpected or does not follow a pattern can make you anxious, fearful or stressed. Think about the roller coaster of emotions you’ve experienced during this pandemic as work and life norms were radically disrupted. Now think about how you feel when you hear a familiar song on the radio and sing along with the lyrics. It brings a smile to your face. You’re happy because your brain immediately recognizes the pattern.

If you want to be happier at work, build more certainty in your workday. Turn off new email notifications and decide when you will check your inbox. Ask for a meeting agenda for all meetings on your calendar. Clarify due dates for all tasks and projects. When you join a new project team, discuss and agree to project working agreements, explicitly outline how you will manage project meetings, and establish what you will do if the project derails. Decide in advance how you will address the roadblocks and problems that are inherent in any project. You and your brain will relax once you know what to expect.

Override your brain’s negativity bias.

When your brain’s stuck on an endless repeat of your mistakes and bad work experiences it can be hard to be happy at work. It’s easy to get trapped in the vortex of negative ruminations. Why? Because of the brain’s “negativity bias.” Your brain is simply hardwired for a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news.[2] While this may have served us well thousands of years ago when we had to avoid rampaging predators and rival tribes, today this negativity undermines your happiness at work.

It’s time to override your brain’s negativity bias.

Negativity Bias Strategy #1: Rehearse Good News and Share It

You log off your computer at end of the day, and the first thing out of your mouth is what went wrong today. The internet went out during your Zoom call with your boss, the dog barked throughout your presentation to the team and your client received the wrong order.  Before you know it, you’ve spent most of the evening telling anyone who will listen everything that went wrong during your day. You’re fixated on the negative.

Simply flip your brain’s negative script and instead share only the good things that happened to you during the day. Your mind needs practice focusing on the positive. Let the first words out of your mouth be the three positive things that happened during the day.

Negativity Bias Strategy #2: Share Two Roses and a Thorn

At the end of your workday, share two roses and a thorn. The roses are positive events, experiences, or feelings from our day, and the thorn is the negative. Use this simple framework to help you identify your successes or enjoyable events from your day. Ask your family, a friend, or a colleague to do this with you so you have the accountability and support to do this daily.

Create more opportunities for positive, successful work experiences by asking for feedback.

Real-time, specific feedback is one of the most effective ways to create more affirmative, successful work experiences. When you feel capable, confident, and valued, you are happier at work.

However, feedback can be stressful. To reduce and eliminate feedback anxiety, ask for it and use my S.E.E. framework.

  • Be specific. Ask for the specific type of feedback that you want to receive.
  • Share an example. Provide an example of the type of feedback you want to receive.
  • Explain. Ask the person you requested feedback from to explain what you did or did not do.

When you ask for feedback, you put yourself in a psychological state that is ready to receive negative news. You also have more certainty because you focus the conversation where it will be the most useful for you. 

Here’s an example of how my executive coaching client, Annette, used my S.E.E. feedback model with her manger, John. She asked him for specific feedback on her ability to communicate clearly and succinctly during her presentations to the senior leadership team. Annette shared an example of the type of feedback she wanted to receive by asking him to tell her when he did not hear her central point within the first three sentences of her presentations. Finally, she asked John to tell her at what point he did hear primary point during her presentations.

It is possible to be happier at work. You can reduce anxiety and stress by building in more certainty throughout your day. You can override your brain’s “negativity bias” when you practice focusing on the positive. And you can create more opportunities for positive, successful work experiences by asking for feedback. Don’t let external circumstances undermine your happiest at work.

Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies. She is the author of Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job. For more information, please visit, www.carsontate.com.

[1] Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.

[2] P. Rozin and E. B. Royzman, “Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion,” Personality and Social Psychology Review 5, no. 4 (2001), 296–320.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

26 Responses to 3 Unexpected Things You Can Do to Be Happier at Work

  1. If there is discharge coming from the penis then infection from bacteria, viruses or
    yeast is another possibility. There are three kinds of
    breast implant devices on the basis of filler material which are employed
    for the implant. The key components that provides breast enlargement pills an increased notch will be the safety and price effectiveness aspects.

  2. We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable task and our whole neighborhood will be grateful to you.

  3. zwfbyboav says:

    Круто, давно искал
    ігрові автомати піраміда

  4. It’s arduous to seek out knowledgeable people on this subject, however you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks

  5. It’s best to participate in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this web site!

  6. Brainsweax says:

    generic viagra us pharmacy what is the name of the generic viagra best generic viagra online reviews.

  7. Brainsweax says:

    generic for viagra genericviagra2o.com what are the side effects of generic viagra.

  8. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional,
    or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site.
    hdgenericviagraxk.com Never disregard the medical
    advice of your physician or health professional, or
    delay in seeking such advice, because of something you
    read on this Site.

  9. AlbertPaums says:

    viagra generic soft generic viagra uk cheapest generic viagra.

  10. Wendellfuh says:

    safe place to buy generic viagra prescription generic viagra teva pharmaceuticals generic viagra price.

  11. EdwardMep says:

    news on generic viagra canada pharmacy viagra generic is generic viagra available in the united states wikipedia.

  12. SteveTooro says:

    generic viagra near me generic viagra vs brand viagra generic viagra dosages.

  13. CraigEluby says:

    buy generic viagra india walmart generic viagra viagra generic best price.

  14. SteveTooro says:

    does the generic viagra work genericviagra2o.com generic viagra $5 consultation.

  15. CraigEluby says:

    legitimate generic viagra sellers genericviagra2o where to buy generic viagra without a prescription?.

  16. SteveTooro says:

    cheap generic viagra genericviagra2o sildenafil generic for viagra.

  17. Georgefap says:

    viagra generic canada genericviagra2o where can i buy generic viagra online safely.

  18. DavidAnags says:

    generic viagra available walgreens genericviagra2o.com where to buy generic viagra in australia.

  19. Georgefap says:

    does generic viagra work genericviagra2o.com generic viagra pharmacy.

  20. Georgefap says:

    usa viagra generic genericviagra2o when will generic viagra be available.

  21. DavidAnags says:

    where to buy generic viagra over the counter genericviagra2o when is generic viagra available in us.

  22. Georgefap says:

    generic viagra cost at costco genericviagra2o.com best place to buy generic viagra.

  23. DavidAnags says:

    generic viagra $5 consultation generic viagra for sale online in canada where to buy generic viagra.

  24. Georgefap says:

    when will generic viagra be available in canada genericviagra2o.com cost of generic viagra at cvs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.