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5 Lifehacks to Bolster Your Happiness at Work

5 Lifehacks to Bolster Your Happiness at Work

Modern lifestyles have brought on an immense pressure in different areas of our lives. Professionals feel the pressure to keep their clients happy, and some people succumb to the pressure and become disengaged. This pessimistic approach to work often leads to declining happiness and a prolonged state of discontent can cause mental health problems depression. In this article, we find ways of ensuring a happy state of mind amidst the struggles of our daily lives.

1. DIY Projects

Besides exercising and spending more time with family and friends, there are other ways of letting off steam after a long work week. Why not try your hand at home projects such as cooking, carpentry, sewing, etc. Do-it-yourself projects are an opportunity to utilize those natural skills from childhood that you did not explore upon becoming an adult. If you have a family dog, treat your furry friend to a homemade meal once in a while. You do not have to be a cooking expert to achieve this goal. You can find a variety of delicious recipes on the Internet that will impress your puppy. Seeing your pet happy gobble down his meal will bring a sense of joy and fulfillment.

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2. Delegate Chores

One of the biggest sources of unhappiness at work or home is over-indulgence. If you head a large workforce, hire managers to help you run the various departments instead of attempting to go it alone. This phenomenon is common among entrepreneurs who are running startups. While running the show alone saves you money, exerting yourself too much is counterproductive. Finding happiness at work is vital for your well-being. Let go of the reins a tad and delegate some work to qualified employees. Delegating accords you some breathing space to focus on important tasks. You can leave the office early to spend quality time with your family.

3. Start Gardening

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    Plants have healing properties that elevate the mood and even alleviate allergies. If you are a novice at planting crops, you can learn from seasoned gardeners in your neighborhood or find a gardening expert to share tips. Gardening presents a fun activity to look forward to every evening after work, and it breaks the routine of household chores such as fetching groceries, cooking dinner, supervising homework, etc.

    Even if your lot is limited in size, you can try micro-gardening tricks such as planting in pots then suspending them on the patio, planting atop the benches, or along the boundary wall in the backyard. A moment to commune with nature will distract you from everyday pressures thus bolstering your chances of happiness. Besides, growing leafy vegetables in the yard promotes eating healthy, and this has a direct impact on your health.

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    4. Yoga and Meditation

    The art of meditation is an ancient practice that distresses the body and calms the mind so that you live in the present moment and recognize what that moment has to offer. You do not need a passport to head to Bali for meditation; you can do this from a dedicated sanctuary at home. Beat the Monday blues with yoga at work, if the environment allows. Go to a quiet room and meditate for twenty minutes before embarking on the day’s activities. You can also practice yoga poses to keep your heart healthy even in difficult times.

    5. Regular Exercise

    After putting in extra hours at work, your mind and body could use a little stretching. Sign up for SoulCycle class and attend sessions at least thrice a week. Spinning gets the blood pumping. Therefore, your brain gets more oxygen.

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    If you are fond of the outdoors, try your hand at jogging every morning or evening. Establishing a regular exercise regimen will give you some reprieve from the monotony of office work and recharge your mind and body. Research shows that regular exercise bolsters performance. For this reason, companies schedule team building activities to encourage contribution and problem solving. Feeling appreciated enhances employee performance.

    Getting a more money or receiving a promotion will not make you happy at work. Identify the stressors in your life and find ways of mitigating their impact. Practice gratitude and you will enjoy your life more than before. Besides, happiness is contagious.

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    Vikas Agrawal

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    Last Updated on September 10, 2018

    Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

    Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

    We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

    Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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    Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

    Looking at images of loved ones

    While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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    In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

    Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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    Exercise

    Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

    Meditation

    Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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    In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

    When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

    With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

    Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

    Reference

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