Especially in a tough economy, “it’s unbelievable how many people struggle with trying to feel happy at work,” says Ellen Golding, a psychologist based in Los Angeles. Her tips:
Don’t isolate. Walk around and greet coworkers and attend staff lunches and office parties, even if you have to force yourself.
Be positive. Don’t constantly vent about problems in the office or at home. Find at least one coworker who is generally upbeat to hang around.
Allow more time in the morning. If you’re rushing to leave home, you’ll arrive at work already stressed. Build at least a 15-minute cushion into your commute.
Change self-talk. Practice turning negatives into positives. Instead of fretting you won’t finish a project, for example, tell yourself you’ll make a plan to do it.
Deal with a boss who “hates” you … Accept that it’s fine not to have a great personal bond and focus on being professional. Find out exactly what your boss needs and do it.
… and one who bullies. To gain more control, regularly ask for clarification on your duties. Repeat back what your boss says, create a written email record and try to have other people listening as you two talk.
Combat layoff anxiety. Do what you can to prepare for possible downsizing by researching other jobs and participating in educational, volunteer and networking opportunities.
Decompress off the job. Listen to books on tape or a favourite music station on your commute — nothing negative or work-related. If you have to bring work home, take a break to exercise, watch a funny TV show or spend time with family or friends.
Live healthfully. Eat a nutritious lunch during the workday, drink beverages that calm you — herbal tea or water, say, rather than coffee — and aim for seven or eight hours of sleep a night.