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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

People experience pain for a number of reasons.  ERGOhealthy is focused on properly designed office workstations; however, while your workstation might be creating issues, there can also be other sources of pain.  Studies have shown that neck pain, for example, can be a result of lack of sleep, stress, lack of physical activity, and depressed mood. 

From an ergonomic standpoint, if you are suffering from neck pain, maybe it’s time for an ergonomic assessment.  Is your monitor properly adjusted so that the top of most screens are close to eye level?  Do you reference documents or repeatedly look back and forth between monitors?  Is your desk height too high causing your shoulders to creep up? 

Make the adjustments to your desk that are needed if you identified with any of these questions, but also consider something else.  There may be other things you can incorporate that can help address those other causes of pain: lack of sleep, stress, lack of physical activity, and mood. 

Studies suggest that employees who are happy have less stress which can also help to improve sleep quality.  Happy employees have also been found to be more successful and more productive than their unhappy counterparts.  Plus, they are both more creative and more supportive of others.  Even better, happiness is contagious.  People who are happy are surrounded by happy people either by choice or by effect.

Happiness may seem elusive, but researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, have learned a lot more about how we can all achieve it.  The key, according to researchers, is in having strong connections with others. Happiness also comes from expressing gratitude and in kindness to others.  After all, it’s difficult to be happy if you aren’t thankful for what you have.

Here are a few things that anyone can do at work that can help to make them happier.

Be kind.  Make it easy on yourself.  Smile at others and make an effort to interact with your coworkers.  This can help with developing connections, but it will also help to improve mood.  Most people respond to a smile with one of their own.

Get some sun.  If possible, try to work in an area with natural sunlight.  Good lighting can help with preventing eyestrain, just be wary of creating glare.  Sunlight has also been shown to improve mood. 

Take a walk.  If you can’t sit in the sun, try to incorporate a daily walk into your day.  This can also help with incorporating movement into your day, and studies show that breaks taken in nature can increase productivity, creativity, and focus.  Physical activity also has the added benefit of improving mood and sleep quality and helping with stress management

Participate in your company’s next charity event.  This has two benefits for increasing happiness.  Working with other people on a charity event can help you to make connections with others and develop relationships.  You are also giving back to others which can help to increase levels of happiness.  If a charity event isn’t an option, find another way to get involved and interact with your coworkers.

Be grateful.  Try to recognize the positive things in your life and be thankful for them.  That can be hard sometimes, but don’t overthink it.  Be thankful for the warmer weather.  Be thankful for the coworker who brought office bagels.  Be thankful that you didn’t hit traffic or, if you do, turn into time for yourself by listening to music, a book, or a podcast.  Finding ways to be grateful for what is already in your life will help you to be happier.

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