You’d struggle to find someone who doesn’t get stressed out by something. For many, it’s work. But that’s no coincidence.
Stakes are high in the workplace. Stressful work environments are a common byproduct of environments full of busy people who desperately want to succeed. Luckily, finding joy at work isn’t a complex art to master.
What’s depleting your joy at work?
Is it the people? Is it the workload? Is it that manager who hassles you to work harder when she’s the one standing around with her coffee? Or perhaps the economy is instilling fear in you about the prospect of losing your job.
Whatever it is, it’s taking your joy away— and something should be done about that. It’s within your power to lead a life of joy and peace, especially in a space you commit much of your energy to.
Your stressful work environment can actually be an opportunity to build resilience— and thus joy. Many spiritual teachers and psychologists suggest looking deeply into what makes us tick, whether that be a stressor, annoyance, deep fear, or a seemingly unmanageable colleague— all of which can be found in the workplace.
Working through stress to find joy at work
Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, suggests studying what bothers us about the exterior world in order to navigate through our own issues:
“Everything that irritates us can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Further, Jung states”There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.”
Finding joy in a job isn’t a matter of changing what’s happening externally. It’s a matter of changing how the external is processed internally. It’s a matter of taking 100% responsibility for your internal condition while realizing joy can be a lasting state of being— not a fleeting emotion that depends on your external reality.
So what should you do the next time an intimidating deadline comes up or a coworker is triggering your anxiety and making joy at work seem impossible?
Use CBT to find joy at work
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the current gold standard in the mental wellness world— and for good reason. CBT literally increases happiness by changing thought patterns and perceptions to strike down anxiety and depression. And CBT isn’t only for those with serious mental conditions, but for anyone looking to increase their joy among a worrisome world— or workplace.
Here are a few CBT techniques that’ll benefit your mindset and performance at work. They’re easy to begin immediately!
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of becoming present by use of breath, senses, and immediate surroundings. Meditation offers the opportunity to respond rather than react and observe rather than judge. These skills are effective to carry into a stressful workplace where stress, fear, and blame can thrive and unfortunately replace joy.
The beauty of journaling is that it can be done at your desk if needed. Journal to monitor your perspective and come up with creative solutions to benefit your workplace at large. For example, your job may feel rather monotonous at times. Perhaps your coworkers feel the same, creating a depressing, undesirable work environment. By journaling, not only will you process these feelings, but you’ll be able to list creative solutions for the issue. Maybe you’ll write how to spark up more meaningful conversations or create impactful, innovative ideas that get the excitement flowing. You’ll find the possibilities are limitless!
Changing your thoughts changes your reality. This one is especially powerful if you feel unfulfilled in your job. Cognitive restructuring can be as simple as a change in perspective. You may think your job is unfair and soul-depleting— but what if instead you focus on how lucky you are to be able to earn a living? You can buy food and maintain a safe place to live! How many people worldwide are wishing for a similar opportunity? By changing your perspective, you’ll surely find joy at work. Further, you’ll feel empowered to make more of a difference after filling yourself with gratitude. Imagine arriving to a workplace you feel grateful to be in. You’d feel good and enabled to make more of a positive impact in the work environment.
Bonus tips for creating a less stressful work environment
There are countless ways to make your workplace a more desirable place. You hold the power to influence your surroundings, especially after finding joy at work through CBT and self-reflection. Here are a few extra ways to make your job brighter!
- Spread joy to your colleagues. Send them love through compliments. Let them know you care about their lives outside of the workplace.
- Initiate conversation. Have you ever had a conversation that fueled your entire day? The world needs more of those. Your colleagues are social beings waiting to be inspired.
- Inspire action. Work environments can reach stagnation. Be the light that guides your colleagues through the dark patches of uncertainty. Remember that there’s a creative solution to every problem. This is where the journaling can come in handy!
- Practice active listening. When others have their own ideas, remember to listen as if they’re the best ideas ever. This will create a positive flow of energy and bring you closer to solutions. Active listening also drives others to be receptive to your ideas.
- Gift your colleagues plants. Know the birthdays of your colleagues and gift them small plants. They’ll shine with appreciation while your workplace begins to glow with life and fresh air!
Instilling joy in a stressful work environment begins with you
The power’s in your hands. You hold the capacity to uplift yourself and others. Another quote of Jung holds true:
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”
Creating joy at work is a matter of filling yourself with light that will spill over onto others. Healing is possible through exposure to work stress because it’ll reveal your mental stagnations that could use some ironing out. After that self-revelation, you’re sure to spread your newly established joy to your colleagues and thus your workplace at large.
Visit the TelMD Upstream Blog for more ways to find joy!
Let’s Make Wellness Contagious!™
Jacob Lopez Wellness aficionado, traveler, and holistic ulcerative colitis warrior based in Huntington Beach.
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