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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

    Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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    Published on June 30, 2020

    What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

    What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

    Many conversations are being held nowadays regarding unconscious bias, but what does it really mean and how can it affect your life and the people around you? With many types of biases, it can get quite confusing. In this article, we’ll touch on cognitive bias, and then zero in on unconscious bias. Both types of biases have an immediate impact on your life because they relate to how you and others think about yourself and other people.

    If you want to protect your relationships and make good decisions about other people, you need to know what these biases mean[1]. Once we have clarity about that, we can explore in more depth unconscious bias and how to address it[2].

    Cognitive Bias

    Let’s start with cognitive bias[3], a predictable pattern of mental errors that result in us misperceiving reality and, as a result, deviating away from the most likely way of reaching our goals[4].

    These mental blind spots impact all areas of our life, from health to relationships and even shopping, as a study recently revealed[5]. In other words, from the perspective of what is best for us as individuals, falling for a cognitive bias always harms us by lowering our probability of getting what we want.

    Cognitive biases have to do with judgment, not mood. Ironically, cognitive biases — such as the optimism bias and overconfidence effect — more often lead to positive moods. Of course, the consequence of falling into cognitive biases, once discovered, usually leaves us in a bad mood due to the disastrous results of these dangerous judgment errors.

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    Unconscious Bias

    Unconscious bias is different from cognitive bias. Also known as implicit bias, it refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, age, and so on[6]. Despite cognitive biases sometimes leading to discriminatory thinking and feeling patterns, these are two separate and distinct concepts.

    Cognitive biases are common across humankind and relate to the particular wiring of our brains, while unconscious bias relates to perceptions between different groups and are specific for the society in which we live. For example, I bet you don’t care or even think about whether someone is a noble or a commoner, yet that distinction was fundamentally important a few centuries ago across Europe. To take another example, most people in the US don’t have strong feelings about Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims, yet this distinction is incredibly meaningful in many parts of the world.

    Unconscious Bias and Discriminatory Behavior

    Organizations often bring me in as a speaker on diversity and inclusion to address potential unconscious discriminatory behavior. When I share in speeches that black Americans suffer from police harassment and violence at a much higher rate than white people, some participants (usually white) occasionally try to defend the police by claiming that black people are more violent and likely to break the law than whites. They thus attribute police harassment to the internal characteristics of black people (implying that it is deserved), and not to the external context of police behavior.

    In reality – as I point out in my response to these folks – research shows that black people are harassed and harmed by police at a much higher rate for the same kind of activity. A white person walking by a cop, for example, is statistically much less likely to be stopped and frisked than a black one[7].

    At the other end of things, a white person resisting arrest is much less likely to be violently beaten than a black one. In other words, statistics show that the higher rate of harassment and violence against black Americans by police is due to the prejudice of the police officers, at least to a large extent[8].

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    However, I am careful to clarify that this discrimination is not necessarily intentional. Sometimes, it indeed is deliberate, with white police officers consciously believing that black Americans deserve much more scrutiny than whites. At other times, the discriminatory behavior results from unconscious, implicit thought processes that the police officer would not consciously endorse[9].

    After becoming aware that unconscious bias does exist, the next step would be learning how to recognize it in order to reduce it. I’ve outlined three crucial points to keep in mind below while further exploring the unconscious prejudice discussed above.

    How to Reduce Unconscious Bias

    Remember these three important points if you want to work on reducing your unconscious bias.

    1. Unconscious Bias is a Systemic Issue

    When we understand that unconscious bias is ultimately a systemic issue, we understand that internal cultures need to be checked and addressed first.

    Interestingly, research shows that many black police officers have an unconscious prejudice against other black people, perceiving them in a more negative light than white people when evaluating potential suspects. This unconscious bias carried by many — not all — black police officers helps show that such prejudices come – at least to a significant extent – from internal cultures within police departments, rather than pre-existing racist attitudes present before someone joins a police department.

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    Such cultures are perpetuated by internal norms, policies, and training procedures, and any police department wishing to address unconscious bias needs to address internal culture first and foremost, rather than attributing racism to individual officers.

    In other words, instead of saying it’s a few bad apples in a barrel of overall good ones, the key is recognizing that unconscious bias is a systemic issue, and the structure and joints of the barrel needs to be fixed[10].

    2. There Is No Shame in Unconscious Bias

    Another crucial thing that needs to be highlighted is that there is no shame or blame in unconscious bias as it’s not stemming from any fault in the individual. This no-shame approach decreases the fight, freeze, or flight defensive response among reluctant audiences, helping them hear and accept the issue.

    Unconscious bias is prevalent and often doesn’t match our conscious values. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs and prejudices stemming from our tendency to categorize people into social groups. This developed naturally as a way for our ancestors to quickly size up a possible threat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well in modern life.

    3. It Takes a Sustained Effort to Prevent and Protect Against Unconscious Bias

    After being presented with additional statistics and discussion of unconscious bias, the issue is generally settled. Still, from their subsequent behavior it’s clear that some of these audience members don’t immediately internalize this evidence. It’s much more comforting for their gut reactions to believe that police officers are right and anyone targeted by police deserves it; in turn, they are highly reluctant to accept the need to focus more efforts and energy on protecting black Americans from police violence due to the structural challenges facing these groups.

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    The issue of unconscious bias doesn’t match their intuitions, so they reject this concept, despite extensive and strong evidence for its pervasive role in policing. It takes a series of subsequent follow-up conversations and interventions to move the needle. A single training is almost never sufficient, both in my experience and according to research[11].

    Conclusion

    The examples and points raised illustrate broader patterns you need to follow to recognize unconscious bias. Only by doing so will you be able to determine if, and what type of, intervention is needed to address it.

    Unfortunately, our gut reactions lead us to make poor judgment choices when we simply follow our intuitions. Unconscious biases are systemic and need to be addressed in order to make the best decisions[12].

    We need to learn about the kind of problems that result from unconscious bias. Then, you need to develop the right mental habits to help you make the best choices[13]. A one-time training is insufficient for doing so. It takes a long-term commitment and constant discipline and efforts to overcome unconscious bias, so get started now.

    More Tips on Overcoming Unconscious Bias

    Featured photo credit: M.T ElGassier via unsplash.com

    Reference

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