How Happiness Makes You More Successful

January 22, 2015

What qualities would you say lead to professional success? Dedication? Hard work? Creativity? A passion for your work?

What about happiness? Would you believe your state of mind can actually contribute to the success of your career?

A study published in the Journal of Career Assessment revealed that happiness doesn’t only correlate with success at work — it precedes professional success. Put simply, happy people are more likely to be successful in their careers.

When you take a moment to think about it, this correlation makes perfect sense. Who would you rather do business with: someone who is cranky, stressed and overworked or someone who is friendly, open and warm? It’s a no-brainer.

This sounds a lot easier said than done. We all have gloomy, grey days, when happiness seems elusive. Even when you’re feeling unhappy, however, you can always help yourself feel better.

Most psychologists agree that happiness isn’t something that just happens to you — it’s an emotion you can help yourself find. Studies have indicated that the act of smiling can make you feel happier, and even simply stopping yourself from frowning can boost your mood.

You don’t have to force yourself to smile constantly to feel happy, either. Giving yourself a 15 minute break to do something you like — whether that is grabbing a cup of coffee or tea, going on a walk, or reading a magazine article about something unrelated to work — can help you feel relaxed and cheerful. While you’re taking this break, monotask — if you bought a cup of coffee, only drink the coffee. Don’t respond to email. Don’t answer the phone. Just give yourself this moment to relax. This much needed break, oddly enough, will make you feel more productive when you return to work afterward.

If you’re still feeling distracted, tired, or overwhelmed, meditate for one minute. Close your eyes, focus on calming your breath, and find an intention for the rest of your day. Your intention could be as simple as maintaining your state of relaxation, or focusing on one task you want to accomplish. Pinpointing a goal and following through on it will give you a sense of satisfaction.

Finding a healthy balance between your life outside of the office and your career also contributes greatly to your happiness. Try to do at least one thing purely for yourself every day. After work, go on a run, visit with a friend, or check out that new restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Perhaps take a long bath, or do some aromatherapy with essential oils. Remember to take care of yourself, physically and mentally, and the happiness will follow.

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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