The Simple Little Trick To Triggering Happiness At Work

SUMMARY POINTS

> Just by practicing gratitude, you can be happy and more relaxed at work
> With a tiny bit of effort, you can improve your well-being by leaps and bounds
> You can easily change your brain in positive ways by simply giving thanks

Do you remember being a kid and really enjoying the simple things in life?

Being truly happy with no effort at all?

It was so easy to be in the moment.

Nowadays, you get to the office, make an effort to smile but it’s weak and only lasts a few seconds.

When did adulthood make everything in life so un-fun?

When we were kids, simple things like running around the yard, playing make-believe or skipping stones would entertain us for hours. Back then, we all lived in the moment - present and happy.

Today, as soon as you get to work, there just doesn’t seem to be much to be happy about.

The good news is that the extreme joy that came so easily as a kid can still happen in adult life.

You can experience this same childhood happiness if you make a small effort.

As a “grown-up”, you have responsibilities, but it shouldn’t cost you your mental health and peace. You can still be happy, naive and feel life’s pleasures just like when you were a kid.

Have you ever received an unexpected gift at work and felt special? A small surprise expressing thank you can really turn around a shitty day.

Gratitude is the key to happiness.

It’s the secret little trick to shift your mindset out from the doldrums and misery of work life to a better place. Being thankful for what you have can go a long way.

The good thing is, you can be grateful anywhere, anytime. Practicing gratitude is easy, you can do it at work and it improves your perspective a lot.

How & Why Gratitude Shifts Our Mindset For The Better

Is this really possible?

Can gratitude really reset our thinking and mindset?

Can simply being thankful for what we have make our lives easier?

Yes, yes and yes.

Anyone can do this, anywhere and pretty much anytime.

How we think and behave can do some unusual things.

Have you ever freaked out on a coworker, dropped your phone and then tripped over a stair? Did the snowball effect lead to an argument with your significant other, trigger a massive traffic jam and turned you into a raging monster?

When it feels like the entire world is out to get you, life sucks ass, big time.

When you think and feel so negatively, you put energy into it and continue to fuel it. Focusing on your problems and the shitty situations you’re going through will only bring more angst and more problems.

On the other hand, when you think about the good things in your life, your energy seems to pull in more positive things. It’s not going to turn your entire world into a blissful heavenly nirvana, but it can tone down all the negativity and make things much better.

Gratitude kinda works this way.

It’s so simple and even sounds stupid, but it works.

By being thankful and thinking about what in your life you’re grateful for, you’re constantly thinking about those positive things.

Your family’s health, the fact that you have a job, the food on your plate, your kids and so the list goes on. If you really stop to think about it, there are many positive things you can focus on and be thankful for.

But, we get so caught up in life’s craziness that we miss these things really easily.

Still not convinced?

Here are several academic and scientific studies that put some truth behind the idea.

This study from Indiana University looked into the brain’s changes when people practiced gratitude. They found that more grateful people have greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain deals with decision making, learning, social behavior and your personality.

Another study from the University of California-Davis took a look at the differences between writing things you appreciate versus things that annoy you. The gratitude group showed more energy, attention, enthusiasm and determination.

By changing your focus, you change your mindset and attitude.

Some people call it an “attitude of gratitude”. Your new positive attitude will bring positive changes to your brain. You’ll be happier and healthier too!

You’ll find cheerful things around your office and your home that you might not have noticed before. Do this enough and it may even spread to others.

Science tells us that if you practice gratitude, it can help...
- lower depression and anxiety
- increase well-being
- boost the quality of your sleep
- decreases physical pain

This isn’t some hocus-pocus bullshit. It’s the real-deal. And all so simple. You can modify your brain just by being thankful.

This short two minute video neatly summarizes how your brain benefits from gratitude.

VIDEO: The Science of Gratitude
YOUTUBE: Tremendousness
LENGTH: 2:07

Summary points:
> An attitude of gratitude improves well being
> Gratitude rewires the brain and boosts all sorts of good stuff
> All you need to do is express thanks and simple acts of kindness

Last but not least, this study from the National Institute of Health found that gratitude positively affects our hypothalamus. This is one of the deepest parts of the brain and is responsible for sleep, body temperature, metabolism, appetite and other important functions.

Because the change was seen in the hypothalamus when people displayed gratitude and kindness, it was concluded that it has a positive effect on our deeper brains. Just by saying thanks, you’re shifting neurons and your brain is growing for good.

And you know what else?

The dopamine and serotonin boost that changes our brains is addictive. Because you trigger this happy sensation when being grateful, you get a natural “high”. Your mind and body will like it and want it again.

You’ll be mentally and physically in what some scientists call a “virtuous” cycle. You say thanks, you feel happy, your brain feels high and then you are motivated to do it again.

There is no meditation or hiking the Himalayas involved. You don’t have to sit in a yoga position for hours and enter a deep breathing pattern. All you have to do is express thanks and you can do it in simple ways.

How and where do you start?

Here are some easy ways to start practicing gratitude.

Simple And Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude At Work

There are multiple ways of starting your gratitude practice today and making it a daily habit.

The most important thing is to actually do it. Adapt it to your schedule. Because it can be done anytime, anywhere, choose what is best for you.

The main objective is to express thanks and to be positive. This will make you a happier person.

So here are a few very easy options to try at work.

Option #1: Post-It Note(s) Of Gratitude

A Post-It note is a cheap and easy way to start practicing gratitude and also to get others to start doing it as well.

Find a space in your cubicle for a “Wall of Thanks” and have some Post-It sticky notes and markers at hand and let the magic happen. Whenever you or anyone that pops by is feeling grateful, write it on a sticky and add it to the wall.

You can start with the phrase: “I’m grateful for…” and then let your mind fill in the blank.

Here are a few that recently got posted on our wall:
- Flowers in the office
- Parking space near the entrance
- Favorite coffee mug

It doesn’t need to be deep complex things. It can be simple, short and sweet.

When you see the whole wall decorated, you and others will feel inspired and happy.

Too much? Too social? No worries. It can also be done at a smaller and more mini scale, just for you.

It could be a single daily recurring Post-It note on the edge of your computer monitor, on your desk phone, on the upper cabinet or anywhere else you can easily see it and feel good.

Okay, let’s do one right now.

Grab a sticky note and write down just one thing that you’re grateful for today.







Seriously.






We’ll wait right here for you. No need to scroll down any further.









...

Got it down?

Good. Now stick it to the edge of your computer screen or wherever you can see it easily at your desk.

Now, you’ll see this all day long and feel grateful each time you catch a glimpse of it. Again, when you see so many good things that you’re thankful for having, you’ll feel better.

Feeling social?

You can also send them personally. You can make a very positive impact on another person’s day and this will eventually come back to you. Just post a smiley-face sticky note in a co-worker’s cubicle. Easy peasy.

Option #2: Top Page Note Of Gratitude

You might have seen the words “gratitude journal” before somewhere. In reality, you don’t need to buy a fancy journal or write and decorate many pages with flowers and colors.

Just use your existing notebook or notepad.

It’s as simple as writing at the top of the page: “I Am Thankful For” and writing down just one thing. All you need is your notebook or notepad, two minutes and a pen. Voila!

It’s that easy!

The best time to do this is when you get to the office and sit down at your desk first thing in the morning. Making this your first task is a great way to kick start the day - in addition to that first cup of coffee, of course.

Then, as the day progresses, you’ll see that morning note every time you open your notebook. It’s an all day reminder of goodness.

If you start a fresh page during the same day, add another one at the top of that new page. Add to the joy.

The next day, start over and do it again. Repeat the process for each workday.

When you’ve got several months under your belt, it’s really cool to flip back randomly to any of the older pages and see what you wrote. You’ll instantaneously feel good about yourself.

In the long run, gratitude will improve your mental and physical health. You’ll sleep better, be less stressed and become more productive at work. No joke!

Have your gratitude notes around. Every time you see them, you’ll feel grateful and in turn, happy. Happy to have made yourself a reminder and happy for the things you wrote down.

Option #3: Verbal Out Loud Gratitude In Your Car

Another way to reinforce gratitude is to practice it out loud. No paper, no pen.

Every day, when you get in your car, say a few things out loud that you are grateful for.

Make it an automatic task like putting on your seatbelt. You just do it every time.
- Get in the car
- Put on the seatbelt
- Say one thing out loud
- Let it sink in for a few seconds
- Start the car and drive off

Don’t just go through the motions and blurt out anything just to get the task done. Doing it this way won’t do you any good at all. You won’t benefit from it.

Give it some thought and really feel it. Say it like you mean it.

(Credit: State Farm via Flickr)

If you want to extend the good vibes, try spotting things during your commute that you are grateful for. This is one of the ideas that we included in our article about turning the commute into “me-time.”

Driving and expressing thanks for the simplest of things will make you feel good and turn the commute into a more joy-filled journey.

Thanks for the trees that decorate my commute.
I am grateful for air conditioning on hot days.
Thanks for the awesome tunes to sing to.


Don’t hesitate in expressing yourself out loud. You’re alone in your car. Talking out loud to yourself is a powerful way of adding meaning and emphasis to your thoughts. Hearing your own voice and actually emitting the thanks will make your gratitude messages more real.

Take advantage of today’s commute and say at least one thing you’re truly thankful for out loud and proud!

Option #4: Sending Thank You & Gratitude Emails 

In most everybody’s email closing or auto-signature, there’s the typical sign-off of…
“Thanks”
“Thank You”
“Sincerely”
“Many thanks”
“Cheers”
“Thanks In Advance”
“Yours Truly”

Are these really heartfelt thanks or gratitude?

Nope.

It’s just an email etiquette formality.

It’s kinda like the casual greeting, “How you doin’?” Nobody expects anyone to explain what’s actually going on in their lives. Nor do they really want to hear it.

VIDEO: How you doin’
YOUTUBE: rudygarr
LENGTH: 0:30

Summary points:
> “How you doin’?” is pretty much the same as saying hello
> New York has got a mighty big airport
> Super Bowl commercials are the only commercials we actually watch

The sign-off signature of thanks is pretty much just a meaningless electronic stamp.

How about expressing some real gratitude instead?

Set aside a few minutes and email colleagues, friends, family and others to thank them for a specific thing or straight up just for being there for you. Obviously, don’t do this all at once, just when the timing or moment is right.

It’s very simple and you can take it one day at a time.

Today, you email one member of your family - pick just one. “Thanks for the good times we had that vacation at the beach. It was so much fun!”

Tomorrow, you can email your neighbor and tell them how happy and grateful you are for that time he lent you his ladder.

And so on.

You’ll receive positive and nourishing answers. You’ll also remember the good times with the people in your life. You’ll become happy just by recalling and reaching out.

Make it simple: be grateful for one moment, one thing and send it.

At first, it might seem hard. You’ll have to open up. But soon enough, you’ll feel the benefits of expressing gratitude.

So, how about we give this a shot? Like right now?

Think about one thing that a fellow co-worker recently helped you with. It could be from a big project or a small request.

Think it through.







Open your email, write up and send a short thank you email - just a few words.

We’ll wait for you right here. Go ahead. 😉





...

...

Feeling a bit more joyful, right?

If it’s a coworker in another office at a different location and you want to stand out a bit, instead of emailing, write a small note on a piece of paper or even a card. And then, mail it to them - yup, snail mail it.

Letter-writing is a lost art that you can bring back on a much smaller scale of a short note of thanks.

Option #5: Guided Gratitude Meditation 

Last but not least, you can use the help of audio. A guided meditation is always useful for those who have a hard time with words.

There are plenty of options online to find guidance when trying to practice gratitude.

There are YouTube videos, mindfulness and wellness websites, podcasts and even CDs (yeah, these things are still around). You can listen to these whenever and wherever.

Here’s Deepak Chopra on gratitude and forgiveness. It’s easy to follow and if you get into it, it can have a powerful relaxing effect.

Put on your headphones and take a few minutes now to experience this relaxing guided gratitude session. It’s sooo good.

VIDEO: Guided Meditation on Gratitude with Deepak Chopra
YOUTUBE: Live Sonima
LENGTH: 6:21

Summary points:
> Gratitude opens the door to abundance
> With your eyes closed, observe your breathing
> Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?”, let it go then repeat

This is a great option for your midday or late afternoon break. When you feel exhausted and don’t want to find that paper and pen, just open a browser tab and search YouTube for “guided meditation gratitude” and choose a short one.

Plug in your headphones, close your eyes and let the audio guide you.

Use this positivity and motivation for the rest of your afternoon or day. You’ll be energized yet relaxed.

Gratitude Goes A Long Way

The sooner you start practicing gratitude, the sooner you’ll feel that same bliss and joy from your childhood days.

Make it as simple as possible and tie it to one of your normal tasks that happens everyday. When it’s anchored to another daily repetitive task, there’s a much better chance that you’ll stick with it.

Choose whatever works best for you. If you feel like writing one thing down daily, do that. And then maybe the following week, it’s saying something out loud on the commute. Do you want to start a cubicle “Wall of Thanks”? Go for it!

Mix it up every now and then to add some variety.

Get into the habit and work your way up.
Don’t feel stupid.
Feel grateful!

Start with simple things, like your coffee in front of you. Later, you can express thanks for bigger things like your patience, your education and so on. The ideas are endless.

The best thing about gratitude is that it is free. All you need is a minute and a good attitude.

Shift your mind, let go for one moment and thank your coworker for his/her presence. When you get home, thank your pet for being there. When you go to sleep, be thankful for your comfy bed.

Gratitude will bring a lot of positivity and happiness into your life, work and family. All it takes is a tiny bit of mental effort and a change of attitude.

Soon, you’ll see and feel the happiness and goodness all around you.

Now, it’s our turn…

Thank you for setting aside a few minutes of your crazy busy day and reading our article. It means a lot to us and we hope it has helped you a bit too.

Feel Better,
[Cubicle|Therapy]