Top 5: Tips for Thriving at Work

Posted: June 13, 2013 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: June 17, 2013 at 7:13 am

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By Beth Cabrera

Beth Cabrera

Organizational psychologist Beth Cabrera

Research shows that positive people, those who experience more frequent positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, hope, or love, are more creative, energetic, engaged, resilient and productive. Staying positive at work enhances your performance and your well-being. It also significantly improves your overall life satisfaction. Here are some tips for increasing the number of positive experiences you have throughout your workday.

1.      Practice mindfulness.

Focusing on the present moment helps keep you positive. Staying in the here and now prevents you from worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. And while you are being mindful, try to focus on the things that are going well. We are hard-wired to pay more attention to negative events (noticing threats is what kept our ancestors alive). So it takes intentional effort to generate positive emotions by looking for and savoring what is good

2.      Cultivate your strengths.

People are happiest when they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. To do this, you first need to know your strengths. When trying to identify your strengths, look for things that energize you, you enjoy doing, are easy for you to do, and you excel at. Now find ways to use your strengths every day. Talk to your boss about modifying your role to play to your strengths, find a partner who has complementary strengths, or volunteer for a project or committee that will let you use your strengths more often.

3.      Discover your purpose.

We all have a desire to make a meaningful contribution. What is the purpose of your work? How do the tasks you perform contribute to the overall goals of the company? How do your actions benefit your co-workers or customers? If you aren’t sure, ask your boss to help you clarify the link between what you do and the impact it makes. Spend time, either at work or outside work, engaged in something that really matters to you.

4.      Celebrate progress.

People experience the greatest joy at work when they feel like they are making progress toward meaningful goals. This first requires that you clarify your goals. Then make sure you have the resources necessary for achieving your goals. Don’t be shy about asking for whatever it is you need to succeed. At the end of each day, list your accomplishments. Notice the progress you’ve made, and celebrate your forward momentum.

5.      Nurture relationships.

Spending time with others makes you happy and minimizes stress. People who have good friends at work are more productive. So connect with others throughout the day; share a laugh or express your appreciation. Look for opportunities to collaborate with colleagues. And don’t eat lunch alone at your desk! Your lunch break is a great opportunity to spend time with someone you enjoy and get to know them better.

Mason’s new first lady and noted organizational psychologist Beth Cabrera is an author, speaker, consultant and coach on the power of positivity at work. You can find out more about her at her website, Cabrera Insights, organizationalpositivity.com.

This article originally appeared in a slightly different form in the spring 2013 Mason Spirit.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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