Happiness at the water cooler: How to be, get and stay happy at work.


Looking for a quick hit of optimism to help your career? Pick up a copy of  Beth Thomas’ Powered by Happy, a training manual that provides exercises on how to boost your performance, increase success and transform your workday.

Citing research from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania that states U.S. corporations with the happiest employees have a financial performance notably better than lower-ranked companies, Beth frames her book by endorsing the power of a positive attitude and how to use it to make the most of your daily 8-5.

She first challenges the reader to define what happiness is and then use that definition to outline where he or she wants to be in their career by the time retirement comes along.

First, to define happiness, she encourages the reader to follow these three simple guidelines:

  1. Your happiness definition should focus on things that will make you happy for a long time.
  2. Your happiness definition can have multiple components.
  3. Your happiness definition should reflect your dreams but also be achievable.

Now use these exercises to fuel your pre-retirement plan. Beth says that when you’re considering dreams for work, complete this sentence:

“At the end of my career, if I accomplish [fill in goal here], I would be satisfied.”

So do you see that happy place? Now work backwards; consult with life coaches or financial advisors on how you can best obtain that goal and make professional choices that align with that long-term objective.

There are many other great exercises and tips, but I’ll leave you with her recommended – and my preferred – mantra: When all else fails, just laugh. There’s no getting around lemons; sooner or later you’ll be dealt yours. But it’s how you handle the sour situations that make all the difference. Being powered by happiness means you make the choice, every day, to fill your mind with laughter, positive thoughts and gratitude. If you can train your mind to focus on the good, you’ll be set to get and stay happy at work!


Sarah Z. • December 7, 2011

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