How to Be Happier at Work: 3 Tips to Make Your Day Better Now

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Note: Updated in 2018 for clarity and additional resources.

We spend much of our lives at work. And if that environment isn’t a good one, chances are we’re pretty miserable. Difficult coworkers, demanding clients and office politics combine for a pretty toxic mix.

Even if you love your job, work can feel overwhelming at times. I want to address this issue head-on. If we’re going to put so much time into something, it should be fun!

When we’re happier at work, we become happier in every area of life.

If you’re struggling with some aspect of your job or simply seeking a fresh perspective on work, then check out this video from my Dear Gabby series with Glamour!

3 ways to be happier at work and create career success

Press play for my three tips on how to be happier at work. Or you can keep reading for a breakdown!

Focus on the good stuff

It’s very easy to show up at work every day and say, “I hate this. I can’t stand my boss. I hate sitting next to this person. My cubicle sucks.” There’s a million ways we can get completely whacked out with the stories of why we don’t like our job.

Instead, lean toward the things that elevate you. Practice seeing those difficult people in a different light. The more you focus on the things that are fun for you, and the more you focus on the good that is around you, the more fun you become!

When you’re more fun to be around, people want to do more with you. You’ll get those exciting assignments. Those difficult clients and coworkers will start to actually change. They’ll see you differently and they’ll act differently around you. When you’re having a good time, the people around you have a good time, and that will help you get ahead very quickly, smoothly and with joy.

Let yourself off the hook when you have a bad day

You’re going to screw up. There are going to be days when the shit hits the fan. There are going to be days when things get difficult. There are going to be days when things get mixed up or you have a miscommunication, or your boss drives you crazy. It’s just going to happen.

It’s going to be what it’s going to be, and the first step is to forgive yourself. Practice the F word and forgive yourself! Let yourself off the hook. As soon as you let yourself off the hook and forgive yourself, you get an opportunity to start again. You can hit refresh. If you’re freaking out and just need to calm down first, try alternate nostril breathing to ground yourself fast.

The moment that you start again, you show up with your best energy and your best vibes, and people are ready to work with you again. If you carry that resentment toward yourself, the people around you will pick it up and they’ll be resenting you too. The moment you forgive yourself, you give others permission to forgive you.

Say nice things to yourself

This is crucial. This doesn’t just go for the office. This goes for every area of your life. Say nice things to yourself. You’re the only one listening.

Of all the thoughts you have throughout the day, probably 90% of them are negative. I can safely say that because I am human and I have that experience too. All day long: “Why’d you do that? Why’d you pick up that phone? Why did you listen to that story? Why did you talk to that boss?” Putting yourself down, making yourself feel bad: this inner dialogue can be so scary and chaotic.

I challenge you to take a moment to gently witness what it is you’re saying to yourself and be real about it. And then instantly change the story. Say nice things to yourself. Pretend you’re your best friend. What would you say? “You handled yourself well on that call.” “Great job meeting that deadline. It was a tight one and you worked it out.” “You’re a thoughtful coworker who helps when needed.”

You have an opportunity to completely change your inner dialogue. The beautiful thing that happens when you change that inner dialogue is that you start to feel better, and when you start to feel better, you just start to perform better. In that experience of feeling good and performing well, you will create massive success.

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  1. How can you look through a lens of love when you have a toxic employer constantly gaslighting you? I know my value and worth. I cannot find ANYTHING redeeming about my employer. Zilch. Zero. My focus is on self care and getting out of there. There are genuinely evil people that you cannot find anything good to say about.

    1. Great question, Lissette. Looking through the lens of love does not always mean finding the “good” in a person or a situation. Sometimes it’s more about protecting your energy as well as practicing acceptance and forgiveness to set yourself free. Here are some additional practices that you might find helpful:

  2. Really good tips. It’s not natural to sit in a chair for hours on end and stare at a computer screen. We must try to remember our eyes, muscles, and social needs – among other things. Like anything else, balance is important at work, and that includes balancing intense focus with periodic disengagement and consideration for our immediate health and happiness!

  3. This is so helpful, Gabby. I have been struggling to thrive in a workplace that is very chaotic and disorganized and I have had to pray every day before work, during work, and after work. I want to change my vibes radically!!!

  4. It is actually a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that
    you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please
    keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Gabby,
    I struggle with stress and anxiety at work and have been doing office/admin for over 10 years because I can’t seem to figure out my true purpose or what I should be doing to bring myself more fulfilment. Financially I need to stick with the job for now whilst I explore other options. Your talk felt very inspiring and I can already see myself bringing better vibes to work, not losing my shit and not letting bosses and customers get the best of me.

  6. Thank you for the video,I have been getting my self n a rut and pulled into the gossip. I cam home last night and spent the night regrouping and getting my self together. I got up this morning and feel refocused, I am letting people at work question my ability and making me feel small. I don’t know how to not let that happen.

    1. Try beginning each day with a prayer for strength and compassion. Do your best to recognize that whatever is going on with others is about them — not you. Practicing compassion can help you see them with love and recognize that we all use judgment in an effort to protect ourselves. My new book may serve you greatly! It comes out 1/2/18 — so until then check out these videos for further guidance:

  7. Thank you Gabby. I have been following you for a while. Now that I have full-time job, I feel that I need to change my attitude towards being in a cubicle and sitting most of the day. This video really makes see that I want to appreciate what I have around me. The big take-away for me is, FORGIVE YOURSELF and say nice things to you… you’re the only one listening.

    Thank you


  8. Hi,
    I been following your work for so many years only now I had the chance to Thank You for what you are doing it’s very inspiring, my dream is to follow the masters steps I am on the beginning of my Path. Please I would to email you, so can you please send me your email address. Lots of blessing and Love. Mary

  9. Hi #askgabby

    Love this, thank you! I constantly hare people talking about how much they hate their jobs. It really is as simple as you have made it out to be.

    Peace and Love, Jessica x

  10. This is making me cry. There is a super stubborn part of me who kept saying that everyone is mean to me, they keep repeating what they know, which I know already! It is my major anger, because my parents aren’t people who listen to me deeply and I have experienced being hit by mother, met a crime, blur blur. Therefore, I keep rejecting all the advice like this. It really is a fundamental thing that you should forgive yourself and focus on good things. It is like, old saying, and never new. Why am I listening to this and why do I have to put myself in a ditch and be miserable to listen to this?? I love yoga, I love surfing, I love meeting people, I love laughing, I love going to new contracting, I love planning campaigns, why do I have to drop down to here where I have to struggle to focus on a sunny side of things? I am so angry at me. I love myself and I need to rescue myself. I know everything, and I keep paying money for other people and I am skint. Help me.

  11. Such a great reminder! Whether you work for an employer or you ARE the employer, so much comes down to your “inner game” and what you focus on. Thanks for the tips and affirmation that negative thoughts are part of the human experience… strangely comforting 🙂 I’m excited to focus on all that is good today. Thanks for this!

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