One of the achievements of the introduction of Wellness awareness in the workplace is a recognition that as an employer or employee you also are not just a compartmentalised human being who brings one part of the holistic you to the job and leaves the other parts at home. Specifically, that you are at your most productive best at work if you are operating from a base of mindfulness, calmness and happiness. The very same qualities that make you a better partner, parent etc. at home.
So let’s look at happiness. It’s a tall order but what can we do to make ourselves happier? Here are a few simple ideas.
Firstly, think about how much time we invest in being busy but not being really productive. The only true productivity is not about getting things done. It’s about getting the important things done. This gives us a happy feeling of achievement.
I often go to my desk and spend the first hour – the very time when I’m freshest – just filing away the mess that I left behind the day before. But there’s an old useful saying on this topic. ‘The secret of success is to do first things first.’ So identify at least one important task per day and do it before you touch anything else. It’s a good work practice and it will make you feel better.
Secondly, if you’re a young person and you want to achieve a substantial dream then this will definitely contribute to your happiness. But you have to be prepared to make sacrifices. It’s not as hazardous as it sounds. Simply put, if you want the benefits of a new life you have to be prepared to pay the costs. For example, if you want to give up your job because it doesn’t make you happy any longer, then maybe you have to forgo the sun holiday this year or cut back on your fancy shopping. But people are sometimes more resilient than they realise. In other words you can get used to anything. Equally you can get used to doing without it.
Another point is that you can’t continue to live life in the same old way and expect a different outcome. So in order to feel a greater sense of happiness ultimately introduce a few small changes every week. Our daily, or at least our weekly, habits will determine where we will be next year or the year after. Introduce change on a small scale. No need to go cold turkey. In fact the ancient Indian system of Wellness, Ayurveda, advises us to bring in change in three gradual attempts. For example, if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle then change one third of your diet firstly. Then after a couple of weeks, introduce the second third, so to speak. And after a few more weeks, the final third. A gentle approach. I think it makes sense.
As Lao Tzu said, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Take the baby steps above and keep you focus on one of the greatest life goals of all both at work and at home – happiness.
Bibi Baskin lived in India for fifteen years where the holistic Wellness system, Ayurveda, was a prominent part of her life. She now lives in Cork and gives talks/workshops to corporates and individuals on Mindfulness, Meditation and Public Speaking.