Happiness is elusive. During the workdays, we chase it by reassuring ourselves that we will discover serenity on our lunch breaks or after leaving the office. We try to commodify it by convincing ourselves that, after updating the wardrobe, we will feel the sense of confidence and contentment that propels us towards assertiveness and wellbeing.
Of all places in the world, one of the best places to fantasize about future feelings of joy is the cubicle.
Cubicle's are existential vacuums. Whether it's through constant chatter with employees or mindlessly scrolling through content on your many screens, there's a desire to remain consuming things from the outside world to fill the sense of emptiness in the center of your being. This sense of emptiness is reinforced and perpetuated by your desire to escape it.
If you really want to find happiness in a cubicle, you need to try a different approach.
Here are five steps to find happiness in a cubicle:
1. Be present.
So often we look to consume information because we are avoiding someone or something in our lives. Whether it's an uncomfortable emotion or the fear of vulnerability, we enjoy taking in so that we don't have to let out our innermost feelings. Stop swimming against the current and start learning how to float.
Instead of avoiding, push yourself to become more aware of yourself and your environment. Take five minutes to regain your composure with mindfulness meditation. As you connect to your breath, your body will relax, your mind will calm, and you will experience the ability to maximize each moment.
2. Take breaks.
The mind and body are connected. When you sit for hours each day it not only negatively impacts your body, it also influences your mind and your emotions. Set a reminder on your phone to get up and take a short walk. On these breaks, reconnect to your breath and recommit to being mindful.
As you soak up these few minutes, grab some water and stay hydrated. Stretch, and take some deep breaths. After a few short minutes, you'll have revitalized your energy supply and have a fresh perspective to take back to your chair.
3. Be intentional.
When we take time at our desks to fantasize about the future or ruminate on the past, we lack the intentionality needed to maximize productivity and enhance our wellbeing. If you're able to harness your focus and stay organized, you will not only climb the organizational ladder, you will discover that you are able to get more out of an hour than your coworkers complete in three. This productivity will increase your pride and self-trust, leading to higher self-esteem and positivity.
4. Build relationships.
As you become more intentional, instead of just talking to your coworkers about the weather, you can build more fulfilling relationships. Taking a few risks by disclosing personal information and then asking engaging follow up questions will help you connect with your coworkers in a more meaningful way.
When you build up a support network around your office space, you'll feel better about commuting to work each day and will feel a sense of happiness when you have to return to the task at hand. Never underestimate the power of genuine relationships.
5. Create meaning.
Not all managers and leaders do a great job of explaining how your small contributions are related to the organizational goals. As they continue their growth towards becoming more authentic leaders, do yourself a favor and draw a map of how your daily tasks relate to your long-term career goals, and how those career goals fit into your current organization.
When you're able to see how your small, seemingly meaningless tasks are related to the organization's goals and how those are aligned with your own career goals, small tasks become more significant. Adding meaning to the small things will help them feel more significant, resulting in increased efficiency and enjoyment. Rather than complaining about your tasks, change your perspective and take back your ability to influence your environment.
No matter where you are, cubical or otherwise, you have the power to discover the happiness that is available in each moment. When you change your mindset from being a passive consumer of information to an active producer of your experiences, you tap into your agency to influence the world around you.
The more you practice bringing awareness and intentionality to all that you do, you can change from someone looking for happiness outside of themselves to staying grounded in the inner contentment that is the foundation of true fulfillment.