6 Ways To Find Happiness @ Work


Mug Shot

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by James Clear

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

A few years back, I worked in a medical practice.

I’d always been fascinated with medicine, and the position allowed me virtually free reign within the practice. I was able to sit in at the operating room during procedures, learn about the medical billing process, chat with patients in the physical therapy unit, and much more.

Basically, the position was a great fit for me, but I still wasn’t happy at work.

Even though I had exposure to many areas, I was rarely given the responsibility I thought I deserved. My opinions seemed to count for very little, and I only had a few friends within the practice—if you could call them that.

Even though I was in a good job in the field that I loved, I still left each day feeling a little less happy with my decision to work there. I didn’t hate my job, but was this really what I was hoping for? I would think things like, “Is this as good as it’s going to get for me?” Or “Is this job going to make me happy, or am I going to be stuck in neutral forever?”

It’s easy to fall into this trap of mediocrity. In the beginning, you might be excited to start something new. But pretty soon you fall into a routine, and then one day you wake up and feel like you’re sleep walking through each work day.

The good news is that life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to find happiness at work. Here are 6 ways that I turned the sadness ship around and found joy at my job.

1. Develop a social circle.

One of the key indicators of happiness is having a strong social network.

It’s easy to hate your job when you don’t know your co-workers. And it’s even easier to keep hating it if you continue to avoid them. The situation isn’t going to change if your actions stay the same.

In my case, when I came in, I was training with one person for the first week. They were nice, but they didn’t introduce me to anyone else. After that week, everyone was used to seeing me walking the halls, but they were also used to not talking with me. Before I knew it, I had been there two months and barely knew anyone.

When I finally broke the silence, I found out that many of my co-workers were great.

Don’t let another day go by without learning about your co-workers. Friends don’t just fall into people’s laps. You have to make an effort and get to know them. Reach out to your co-workers and be curious about their lives. Two people have never become friends without one of them starting the conversation.

2. Look for opportunities for growth instead of failure.

So often, we worry about protecting ourselves at work. We look at situations not as opportunities to grow, but as a chance to fail. We view new ideas with skepticism. The thought that is always in the back of our minds is, “Will this make me look bad?”

The result is that we seldom take advantage of the opportunities before us.

If you feel like you’re always on the defensive on your job, then take a deep breath and look for an opportunity instead. Take joy in the fact that there is always a new project to start in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you work, there is always something new that could be done.

Instead of punching the clock and settling in to the same routine, take some time to search for new opportunities. Constantly defending yourself is draining for everyone involved. You’ll find it much easier—and pleasant—to look for opportunities to grow instead of trying to protect yourself.

3. Help someone solve a problem.

When you’re feeling down, there are few actions that can help lift your spirits as much as helping someone else.

When I felt stuck, I reached out to a doctor in the practice who was working on some exciting new research. His study was interesting, but he was too busy (and thought he was too important) to do some of the grunt work.

I offered to do it for him. As a result, I worked on groundbreaking research and helped the doctor move forward with his project. After that, he became one of my biggest advocates.

Help someone else solve a problem and you just might solve some of your own.

4. Take on additional responsibility.

Becoming a more important piece of the puzzle is a sure fire way to improve your attitude at work.

It’s easier to feel excited when you know that your opinion counts. Taking on additional responsibilities will make you feel more respected and valued in the workplace.

If you don’t know where to start, ask your supervisor for suggestions on projects where you can help out.

5. Have enough courage to ask.

If you hate something about your job, then have the courage to ask if you can change it.

If you sit around and expect someone else to change your situation, then you’re going to be sitting for a long time. People are too busy with their own jobs to worry about whether or not you’re satisfied with your role.

Want to get away from a co-worker who annoys you? Ask if you can move to a different department. Want to work on a different project? Ask if you can help out with something new. Want a promotion? Ask your boss what you can do to start working towards it. Want a raise? Ask if you can take on more responsibility and prove that you’re worth more.

You can’t be overbearing or nagging, of course, but you’ll be surprised by how easily you can get what you want if you start asking for it.

6. Take actions that increase good will.

Most of us are happy when people say good things about us. When you do good things for other people, you create happiness for them and set the stage to receive it in return.

For example, compliments are so simple that we often forget about them, but they are so powerful that we should never take them for granted.

If you want to gain the respect of your co-worker, then send them a note about the great presentation they gave last week. If you want to receive the praise of your boss, then praise him first. If you want to catch the eye of the new CEO, then compliment her on the job she has done so far.

You can take this strategy a step further by not being as picky as well. For example, if you’re giving a presentation and your co-worker gets their part 80% right, then don’t worry about correcting them. In the vast majority of situations, it’s far more important to remain a united team than it is to correct every detail.

Try spending a day giving out compliments instead of criticizing people. Gaining respect and happiness in the workplace is easy when good will is abundant.

Finding happiness is as much about the decisions and actions you take as it is about having good things happen to you. And remember, if you don’t enjoy your life, change it! Doing the same thing today will create the same results tomorrow. Try some of these strategies and put yourself in a position for happiness.


the Author


James Clear is the founder and voice behind Passive Panda. For more tips on creating freedom and happiness in business, join Passive Panda’s Free Newsletter.


5 Common Unneccessary Stressors


“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

The human mind loves to find things to stress about.

There seems to constantly be something in our lives that causes us to worry. And when the thing that caused the worry disappears, we feel happy, but only for a short period of time until we find something else to stress about.

I’ve witnessed this pattern many times in my own life. As soon as I was able to solve one of my problems, my mind found me a new one.

Compared to other guys, my body is very skinny. It has been that way since I was a little kid. My friends used to tease me because of it. I laughed at their jokes, but inside I always felt horrible.

I felt like there was something wrong with me because I was different.

As I got older I started going to the gym so I could gain weight. Progress was slow since my body naturally leans towards the skinnier side. But slowly I began seeing results in the size of my muscles.

This is, however, where the results ended. I didn’t really get happier with my body at all, which was the main purpose of the training anyways.

I still felt skinny and there was always something in my body that wasn’t quite right yet.

At that point I realized that I was participating in a game that I couldn’t win. My body wasn’t the problem. The problem was what my mind was telling me about my body.

In essence, as long as you are identified and run by your mind, it will come up with “problems” for you to focus on.

Every single time a dilemma is solved, you can be sure of a new one arising that feels equally stressing as the previous one.

The good news is that there is a way to break free from this endless loop of stress. It starts by realizing how pointless and harmful this useless worry actually is.

Once you become aware of the negativity that these thought patterns create, it will be much easier to let go of your “problems” once and for all.

Here is a list of common stressors that are completely unnecessary to carry along with you. The simple act of becoming aware of them is a great start to becoming free of stress.

Stressor # 1: The Time

When we look at a clock, we don’t just see hands pointing to different numbers. We can also see our minds beginning to formulate some meaning relating to the time on the clock.

My typical mind chatter used to go something like this: “Oh wow, its 2PM already. By this time I should have gotten all my work done. I should have woken up earlier, like I said I would last night. I can never keep a promise to myself, can I? Why do I always fail in what I do?”

As you can see, if you let your mind run the show, it will devise some horrible story behind something as meaningless as the time of day.

There is another way. You could just acknowledge that it’s 2PM, and give no meaning to it. Realize that every moment offers a fresh start.

Stressor # 2: Other People’s Opinions of You

Could there be anything more pointless than to stress about what other people think of you?

First of all, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of you. Some will like you, and others won’t. There is nothing you can do about it.

Secondly, it’s not even any of your business what anyone else thinks of you. They are 100% entitled to their own opinions.

Thirdly, there isn’t even any sure way of knowing what anyone else truly thinks of you. We would have to be able to read others’ minds to get the completely accurate view.

It is basically insane to waste energy stressing about what anyone thinks of you since you cannot control it.

Stressor #3: Being Successful

In your so-called unsuccessful state, do you find yourself envying the people who are successful? Do you think that when you reach this elusive state of success, you will finally be fulfilled and happy?

We have so many assumptions of what our life would look like when we reach success. But we base these assumptions on zero proof, since we haven’t experienced it yet.

Would the world stop turning if you didn’t end up being a success? Most certainly not.

Would you be letting people down if you didn’t become successful? Probably not, since they are busy worrying about themselves anyways.

Can success even be measured?

I say its time to stop worrying about success, and just begin doing what you love to do. I’m doing what I love as I’m writing this post about living a better life.

To this point I haven’t heard of a better measure of success than how happy you are in the present moment.

Stressor #4: Your Age

We cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary pain by our mental labels relating to our own age.

We have a picture in our minds of what our life should look like at a certain age. This picture is largely there because society has forced it onto us from an early age. But we can’t just blame society. We also played a role in accepting this to be the truth for us.

We don’t need to compare ourselves to others of the same age as we are. If we stopped comparing ourselves to others in our age group, there is no doubt we would be happier with being ourselves and more at peace with our present conditions.

Age is just numbers anyway. The eternal part of us is ageless, which means that it never gets old. Relate to that part of yourself, instead of giving numbers the power to affect your mood.

Stressor #5: What Is

Byron Katie says, “When I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100 percent of the time.”

This is the perfect quote to lead us into the most harmful stressor of them all: resisting what is in the present moment.

Many of us are so accustomed to fighting the external environment of the moment that we don’t even realize that it’s optional to do so. Or even that it’s completely useless.

It is this resistance of what is that leads to most, or even all, of the unnecessary suffering that we’re so accustomed to experiencing.

I used to be a great resistor of my life situation. I thought that resisting and fighting it would eventually lead me to happiness, but it didn’t. The resistance only fed itself and led me deeper into more resistance, and thus more suffering.

It’s not until I began becoming friends with the present moment that I began to experience peace.


the Author


Juha is the author behind Ever Evolve, a blog on Simple and Effective Self Development.



“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Someone wronged you. Maybe they treated you thoughtlessly without your feelings or best interests in mind. Or maybe they hurt you with full awareness in a moment of anger or frustration.

Your pride’s bruised, and your expectations destroyed. Why should you extend compassion to them when they didn’t offer you the same? Why should you reach out to them when you’re not the one who was wrong?

You could easily come up with a laundry list of excuses to stay righteous and unyielding. Unfortunately, no one benefits when you fester in anger, bitterness, or negativity–least of all, yourself.

It takes tremendous fortitude to acknowledge we all make mistakes and let go of your pain. The alternative is to hold it close to your heart, where you can feel right and hurt over and over again.

What kindness can you extend today to someone who awaits your forgiveness? If you feel resistant, why? What keeps you from forgiving?

Buddha 1

*This was originally published on 9/17/09. Photo by mhaller1979

the Author


Lori Deschene is the Founder of Tiny Buddha.

Show Your True Feelings


“Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” -Benjamin Disraeli

As I’ve been preparing my presentation for the Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival, I’ve been watching a lot of powerful speeches related to my topics of authenticity and connection. I found my way to Dr. Brené Brown, who researches vulnerability.

In her inspiring talk, Brené explains how shame can be one of the biggest barriers to connection. If you believe there is something wrong with you—that you are somehow unworthy—you may hide who you are in fear of being judged and rejected.

This is why I spent most of my early and mid-20s completely isolated. Because I felt overwhelming shame for mistakes I’d made, and I believed that they defined me, I chose to fester in a prison of my own making to avoid people’s judgment.

Though I have now joined the land of the social, there are still times when I think my true feelings are an admission of weakness. I get a lot of emails from readers who seem to feel the same way—that they shouldn’t be feeling angry, or frustrated, or hurt, or whatever. They think they should be stronger or more evolved than that.

This only exacerbates the pain because you pile guilt on top of the initial feeling.

There is no shame in having emotions. And as Brené points out, it’s nearly impossible to numb the uncomfortable ones without also diluting the positive.

If we want to know joy, elation, excitement, and everything else that makes life worth living, we need to give ourselves permission to feel the full range of emotions. And if we want to connect with each other, we need to accept and love ourselves in every moment, even when our truth feels heavy.

Today if you start judging what you’re feeling, remind yourself: Everyone deals with difficult feelings. What separates us is what we do with them.

the Author


Lori Deschene is the Founder of Tiny Buddha.

Believe In Your Ideas



“Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.” -Jim Rohn

The other day, my boyfriend and I started brainstorming for a screenplay we’re going to write. As we kept finding new details about the characters and events, I found myself fully visualizing it in my head.

I saw what the actors would look like. I imagined the trailer. I could hear the soundtrack. I was laughing at jokes that we didn’t yet write. The movie felt like a living, breathing organism, and in that moment, even at the very beginning of this new journey, I fully believed in our possibility.

I told him it felt so real, even though it was just a seed of an idea, and in that moment, I believed we could write it and get it made. That initial enthusiasm, the unadulterated belief–it’s magic. It’s when you’ve yet to consider all the reasons it might not work. It’s before you’ve contemplated all the odds against you, or weighed other people’s opinions as if they’re facts.

That’s the feeling that makes things happen: the belief in what you visualize. It’s not always easy to retain it, especially when you start doubting what you know and what you can do.

I know very little about writing a screenplay, but I know I am passionate enough about my ideas to commit to the process of learning.

You won’t always know what you need to know. You won’t always get other people to see what you see. And sometimes even you might stop believing. Obstacles have a way of seeming insurmountable, but rarely is that true.

Today if you start thinking your idea isn’t good enough, take a deep breath and remember: What’s important is not what you know in this moment; it’s what you believe you can learn and do.”


the Author


Lori Deschene is the Founder of Tiny Buddha.

Can You Be Too Clean ?

From Babycentre



Can you be too clean?

What the latest research says about allergies and the state of your kitchen floorIf you’re looking at a trail of crumbs over the floor and feeling guilty, or letting the dog slobber all over your toddler, or not keeping your house spotlessly clean all the time, you can stop worrying. Though your baby may have a few more colds now than her peers living in spotless environments, she may be less likely to suffer chronic problems with asthma and allergies later in life, according to the latest research.Over the past few decades, there has been a huge increase in the numbers of children with asthma and allergies worldwide, particularly in developed countries. Some experts have suggested that the rise in allergies might be due to declining family sizes and higher standards of cleanliness; these two circumstances provide young children with less exposure to germs. This, in turn, is thought to give children’s still-developing immune systems less practice in fighting off intruders. The result, the theory goes, is that the under-challenged immune system wants to be used, so it becomes primed to see harmless substances like dust and pollen as dangerous invaders, leading to allergies and asthma.

Recent studies show that there may be some truth to this idea, which has come to be known in medical circles as “the hygiene hypothesis”. In 1997, a study of almost 12,000 families in England and Scotland found that the more children a family had, the less the incidence of asthma. A May 2000 study in an American journal reported that among almost 1,200 teenagers in Canada, those who grew up on farms were 40 per cent less likely to have asthma than their urban and suburban counterparts.

And in a more comprehensive study, scientists at the University of Arizona followed a group of 1,035 children from infancy until they were as old as 13. They found that among babies under six months, those who had older siblings or were in nursery were more likely to have asthma symptoms such as wheezing. But after the age of six, these same children were 40 per cent less likely to be suffering from asthma.

“What do siblings, animals, and nursery have in common?” asks Dr Thomas Ball, assistant professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Arizona and one of the authors of the study. It sounds unpleasant, but the answer is probably contact with trace amounts of feces. Ball speculates that what actually causes that decrease in asthma later isn’t actually the number of infections a baby has, but rather the amount of contact she has with endotoxins, which are substances that are given off by bacteria when they die. Feces are loaded with them.

But the important thing to note from Ball’s study is that the window of opportunity for affecting the developing immune system seems to occur during the first year of life. Research has shown that a baby’s immune system begins preparing for microbial onslaught even before birth, with the placenta acting as a filter that lets through small amounts of innocuous allergens and microbes. Babies, it seems, are born ready to have their immune systems challenged.

So don’t stress too much about the various bugs your baby may be encountering at daycare or from the family pet. They may be the best thing for her in the long run !


10 Simple Ways To Live Happy, Wild & Free

From The Little Buddha…Enjoy !


“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” -Morris West

In the past I was not known as a happy, wild, and free person. (OK maybe wild, I had my moments…) In stuck phases, peppered with depression, darkness, and hopelessness, I often wondered what it would be like to feel happy, wild and free.

I fantasized about living in Europe, writing in cafes like Hemingway, having wild crazy affairs with sexy men, or even moving to Hawaii and wearing nothing but sarongs and flip flops all day. But in truth, these fantasies were empty.

I knew in my gut that fantasies of escape would not bring authentic happiness or true freedom. Maybe at the onset, but in the end trying to create happiness, wild moments, and freedom outside of myself is only temporary. I’m left with facing whatever is still present within me.

Funny enough, I am most happy and free when attending my yearly meditation retreats. Yeah, I know, sitting in a dark room for hours at a time without moving doesn’t seem like the world’s wildest party.

But, when I relax, let go, juice up my heart, and get concentrated on the guarding point, my meditation practice takes me to unlimited expansion. There is nothing more that I need.

While meditating I am content, sometimes wildly ecstatic, and blissed-out, but most importantly, I am free. I realize then that my inner-crazy chick’s happiness and freedom exists in the simplest things.

When I attune to the simple things that give me joy, my body and spirit ignites! I feel truly alive and wildly happy. I feel free of the heavier burdens, beliefs, and complicated constructs that kept me stuck by focusing only on the “storms” within me.

Here are 10 stupidly simple tips to live happy, wild, and free:

1. Write out a short-list of the simple things that give you pleasure.

Keep them in the front of your consciousness and make sure you engage with them at least a few times a week. As you do these things, stay present and mindful of the joy they bring you.

For example, I love eating a fresh juicy nectarine on a summer’s afternoon, and meditating in the morning after a fresh brewed cup of tea, and taking a walk with my husband and window-shopping. What are some of your simple things?

2. Get moving.

Maybe you like the openness and relaxation you feel after a yoga class or the sweat and wild release of spinning. You may enjoy seeing your dog run happily in circles as you throw balls at the park.

Whatever movement inspires you, do it and observe the happiness and freedom it brings. Also, take a short walk after having a meal. This not only helps with digestion, but also instantly relieves any heavy feelings.

3. Eat light.

Support your body/mind/spirit with simple meals three times a day. On retreat, we eat out of three small bowls, usually a grain, a soup and a vegetable. Eating light helps us to feel lighter and also increases concentration, digestion, energy levels, and productivity.

As a practice of mindfulness, I put my eating utensil down between each bite and wait to pick it up again until the food is completely swallowed. It takes 20 minutes for our meal to be digested, so I know if I eat slowly for 20 minutes, I will feel completely satisfied without having to eat large portions.

4. Take a cold shower.

Waking up in the morning and taking a cold shower revives and wildly awakens the senses. Here are some benefits of cold showers:

  • Improves circulation
  • Relieves depression
  • Keeps skin and hair healthy
  • Increases testosterone and fertility
  • Increases energy and well-being

5. Talk less, and when you do talk have noble conversation.

When you hang out with your friends and loved ones, learn to love the spaces in the conversation. Listen more to their tone as they share rather than thinking about how you are going to respond.

Pay attention to what happens to your energy when you talk less, and how much happier you feel as you conserve more energy. Plus, you will love the simple intimacy of your relationships as you increase presence and heart-centered listening, freeing yourself of complications and unwanted dramas.

6. Get 10 minutes of sun a day.

With sunscreen, there are benefits to getting sun. Well-documented research shows there is a relationship between low vitamin D levels and poor health, such as frail bones, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer. We need vitamin D!

Also, light hitting your skin, not just your eyes, helps reverse seasonal affective disorder. Here comes the sun! Let the sunshine in!

7. Turn off the TV.

Rather than watch TV, use your time more mindfully. Read, walk, meet friends, or join an evening group or class. Use your time to connect to others and yourself. Or jump in and do something different, spontaneous, and wild!

8. Create.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist there are so many ways to express creatively. Cook with a loved one, dance in your living room, sing in the car, journal without editing or crossing out, learn a new joke.

Be happy, wild, and free as you express yourself more creatively!

9. Enjoy nature.

Find the nature that surrounds you—really see it. Observe yourself as you witness nature and appreciate its growth and timing.

If you feel like things are going too slow, too fast, or you aren’t really sure of where you are going, remember there is a natural timing for everything, and all the roads are taking you to the right place at the right time.

Ask yourself, “How can I compare nature’s experience to my life? How am I just like the wild flower that is growing on the path?”

10. Know the simple truth.

With enthusiasm and confidence, state what you know to be true about your authentic self. Ask yourself, “What is true about myself right now in this moment?”

For example, I am enough, I am worthy, I am good, I am loved, I have what I need, or I am a success.

State this affirmation out loud a few times to embody the essence of who you really are in this very moment. Take it in! Believe this and you are free!

Keeping your focus on the simplest things offers an immediate experience of abundant joy. May you embrace simplicity in your daily life filled with lightness, movement, and sunshine!

What are your simple things that bring light to your life?


the Author


Lynn Zavaro guides others to know themselves and create the life they’ve always envisioned. She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. Her book and card deck set, The Game of You™- An Interactive Way To Know Yourself, Create The Life You Want offers a powerful, profound and FUN experience of self-discovery and transformation. Try the online version.

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