Who doesn't want to be happy in their personal and professional life? But, as most of us know, it's easier said than done.

Turns out though, that being happy isn't just good for your personal wellbeing, it's also good for your career--and organization, as a whole.

Positive people not only influence the environment around them, but they're also more productive, goal-oriented and successful, according to the study Why Does Affect Matter in Organizations? The co-author Sigal Barsade PhD, says, "If you're in a negative mood, a fair amount of processing is going to that mood. When you're in a positive mood, you're more open to taking in information and handling it effectively."

So how do we achieve this happiness? Here are 5 easy ways:

Meditate.

This doesn't mean you have to get down on the ground and spend an hour in silence. Meditation simply means taking some time to think quietly. Just a few deep breaths can quickly reduce stress. This can be done anytime--walking to meetings, going to the bathroom, waiting at the copy machine, or getting water. The key is to be aware of where your thoughts take you.

Branch out.

This year, make it a goal to expand your social horizons and network with colleagues you haven't spent much time with. A best practice is to make a list of all those you'd like to meet or who would be good for your career to know. Then systematically invite them for meetings or phone calls. You may find yourself being inspired and energized by their new perspectives, interests or skills.

Join a cause.

Many companies have corporate social responsibility initiatives. Jump on board. Doing things for others helps you keep perspective, forget your own problems (at least for a little while), and feel as if you're contributing something meaningful (which can fill the void if we think we aren't doing so professionally). A Gallup poll found that doing meaningful work is something most of us yearn for. People stay in their jobs if they feel like they're contributing something worthwhile.

Give praise.

A little compliment can go a long way in the workplace. Some benefits include a more positive mood, greater engagement, improved performance, and enhanced job satisfaction. What's more, showing gratitude is a great way to improve your own mood, too. You can do it in public or leave a note or email.

Try to get in the habit of verbalizing what you're thinking, rather than keeping it to yourself. If you're thinking something positive about someone (whether it be that you like the color of their sweater or you appreciated the points of their presentation), say it!

Embrace those silver linings.

Sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes things go wrong. While failure might not feel enjoyable in the moment, it can be a valuable learning experience. When dealing with mistakes and disappointments, try to find the lesson in the situation and shift your focus from feeling unhappy to improving the work tasks at hand.

No one is asking you to blast "Don't worry - be happy" over the company intercom to help team members embrace optimism. But by leading with simple examples, you can encourage a sunnier outlook and you just might be surprised at the boost in your performance and your team's, as well.

Published on: Jan 4, 2017
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