Happiness in work and in life depends on so many different things. It can be greatly influenced by your role, your salary, and your work environment. But there are many things that you do have control over. Things like how much exercise you get and what music you listen to, or even how much you choose to do in a day can make you happier. If you want to improve your overall quality of life and be happy, here are four things you can start doing today that will make a difference.
Get More Exercise
Staying healthy while working full time can feel like a real challenge. That’s especially true for people who find themselves sitting at a desk all day. A quick run to the gym rarely seems to fit into our already overloaded schedules. But surprisingly enough, you don’t need to spend an hour doing cross-fit to make a big improvement in your health and happiness. Something as simple as a 5 minute walk can do you a world of good. Making exercise an important part of your day will make you happier in the long run.
Listen to Music
Music is an easy mood booster. Studies have shown that music favored by the listener can temporarily improve mood as well as elevate cognitive performance. That means that listening to music you like can literally make you happier and smarter. For those who are positively influenced by music, it can help them focus, get more done and feel motivated. Experts have a variety of opinions on which genre of music tends to increase productivity the most. But the trends point to whatever genre that increases your happiness without increasing distraction is what will lead to increased productivity. The best approach is to choose music that you really enjoy but maybe have heard so often that you don’t need to focus on the lyrics or the beat. This creates background noise that naturally increases dopamine, but which doesn’t direct your attention away from your work.
Manage Your Time Better
Sometimes, you should just let your calendar do the work for you. Add blocks to your calendar during a busy work week. When your schedule seems to overrun with meetings, there’s something you can do to scale back. Make sure you are scheduling time for the productive work that you need to stay on top of your to do list. Be realistic and schedule that time for when it makes sense to you. Either set aside an hour block each afternoon, or even consider making one day a week “Admin day” so you can focus on getting things done that tend to add up otherwise.
Saying no is much harder when we’re caught by a surprise request. Prioritizing is a critical part of knowing what you should say no to. Planning your work around that prioritization plan will help provide the framework for these often uncomfortable conversations. When we make a specific plan before we are confronted with a request, we are far more likely later to act in a way that’s consistent with our original intentions. So, rehearsing how and why you’ll say no to your teammate in advance will make you more likely to follow through when the time comes.
Ask for Help When You Need It
When nothing else seems to be moving you in the right direction, it may be time to seek outside help. Clinical depression is a very real and treatable thing. Even having someone to talk to, like a therapist or counselor, can help you get through the hard times. The world is struggling with some very big and weighty issues right now. Knowing that you are not alone and can reach out for help when you need it can make all the difference.
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