WE SPEND so many hours working that it makes perfect sense to try to be happy, but moving to a state of cheerfulness involves some homework.
|One road map came to me recently in the form of a book on the five steps to becoming a happy, fulfilled and successful student. While The Happy Student is aimed at students, it does have tips that apply to all, young or old.|
|Author Daniel Wong says you must run your own race and not the one other people think you should run. To be happy, you must become purpose-driven rather than performance-driven.|
|His 30 ways to stay motivated include smiling when you wake up, doing something social every day, exercising, sleeping well and resolving relationship issues right now.
|What these tips tell you is that you are in control of your own happiness.|
|Happiness at work does not mean getting a bigger pay cheque or getting your boss to stop calling you while you are on a holiday.|
|It does mean making a conscious decision to be happy and avoiding negative conversations and unhappy people as far as possible.|
|‘Happiness is a mental state and the good news is that in whatever work situation, we can choose the state of mind to have,’ says Mr Tan Swee Heng, a director for leadership and talent development at LZ Leadership International.|
|‘The key is to choose to be happy with our work, until it becomes our mental habit… This is to prevent ourselves from being affected by adverse work situations or even by some of the unhappy talk or colleagues in the workplace.’|
|Dr Srikumar Rao, author of Happiness At Work, says the biggest obstacle to workplace happiness is believing that you are a prisoner of circumstance, powerless before events.
|The truth is, you are responsible for the life that you have, he says.|
|Mr Stephen Lew, a psychotherapist from the Positive Psychology Centre here, says: ‘Happiness is a perception. It is a choice. It is possible only when you train your mind to do so. You need to build a mental muscle on a day-to-day basis.’|
|He suggests keeping a ‘positive’ journal in which you record three to five good things about yourself every day.|
|‘If you record it for 21 days, there will be a physiological change. You will become more relaxed,’ he says.|
|Another tip is to gaze in the mirror, look into your eyes and say three positive things to yourself.|
|Or you can wear a rubber band on your wrist and every time you start to think negatively, stretch the band to hit yourself. That will stop you from negative thinking, says Mr Lew.|
|In a lot of Mr Tan’s leadership training and coaching sessions, leaders and employees are encouraged to make the choice to be extraordinary in their attitudes, skills and knowledge.
|‘If their minds are focused on becoming excellent at work, they probably will not have the time or mind to dwell on ‘unhappiness’,’ says Mr Tan.|
|In an economically driven society like Singapore, people tend to peg the value of money to happiness.|
|Still, they may not realise that their material achievements such as an increment may not bring them a lot of happiness, says Mr Lew.|
|Research shows that gratitude such as recognition at work brings the largest amount of happiness while age, gender, physical attraction, social status and the amount of money one has have the smallest impact on happiness, he adds.|
|Happy managers and employees, says Mr Tan, are wonderful role models in the workplace. ‘Like fragrance, they can infuse the place with their positive energy, causing others to also ‘work happily’.’|
|It is surely not possible to be happy 24/7 and when adversity strikes, happy people will still crack but they recover faster, experts say.|
|‘Happiness is not just about feeling good, it is about living longer. You will also be more likeable and have better relationships if you are happy,’ says Mr Lew.|