Confession: I discovered the Happier podcast a few months ago, and have had to moderate my listening so I would still have time for other programs! After all, who wouldn’t benefit from being a little happier at work–and anywhere else?

Hosted by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft, this sister team of writers explores low-lift, actionable ways to increase our daily happiness – and their tips can be applied just as easily to the home as they can to work. (Want to try listening to the show? Take it for a spin by subscribing!)

Below are six simple ways to increase your happiness at work, all of which are discussed on the podcast. Give them a try, and see if they’ll work for you!

Want more wellness advice? Download your free copy of “Happy and healthy: A wellness guide for legal professionals” >>

On better managing ourselves:

#1. Choose a one-word theme for the year, and/or a mantra for the day or moment (episodes 26 and 57)

If the idea of creating and maintaining a resolution appeals to you, these tips may resonate. Say, for instance, your resolution for the year is to grow in your career. Setting the word “growth” as your theme/word-of-the-year may help you maintain focus on that goal when things get murky. Similarly, if there’s something you’re dealing with during a particular week or day that’s arduous, creating a mantra like “it’ll be over soon, and I’ll be okay,” may help you achieve calm and move forward more easily through a difficult situation.

#2. Lower the bar (episode 29)

High-achieving professionals, in particular, are often prone to perfectionism, as well as to trying to do too much in too little time. Lowering the bar may mean asking for help, delegating, or simply spending less time on more cosmetic aspects of a project that ultimately won’t make a huge difference to its success. Some reflection may help you determine which bars you’d benefit from lowering for yourself, and doing so may make a huge difference both to your stress level and to your performance.

#3. Raise the bar (episode 32)

Once you’ve lowered the bar and taken some time back for yourself, it may also help to think more about which skills you could deepen, or what aspects of your role deserve more attention. For instance, you may have sufficient knowledge of Adobe Acrobat, but certain tasks would be easier, and you’d benefit more professionally, from devoting a few hours to digging into an ebook that could teach you new skills. You could reach a new level of success by raising the bar in just a few areas of your work.

On improving our relationships with others:

#4. Give warm hellos and goodbyes (episode 8)

A few simple words a day, accompanied by a smile or two, can make a huge difference to the culture of a space in general, and to our relationships with others in particular. Set the tone with warmth when you enter the office, and leave on a strong note as well!

#5. Act the way you want to feel (episode 42)

If it’s sometimes frustrating to interact with a certain group or coworker in your firm, or there’s a project that’s likely to cause anxiety, acting the way you’d want to feel can be helpful. That means, for instance, instead of snubbing someone back when they’ve offended you, reacting with kindness may help you feel less frustrated, calmer, and make moving forward in a productive way easier than if you reacted in anger.

#6. Start a group (episode 21)

Feeling connected at work can make all the difference to your happiness, so why not enable multiple connections at once by starting a group? You may be inspired by a goal (e.g. exercise more, eat more healthily, etc.), hobby (e.g. reading a certain genre of book, knitting, etc.), or a desire to exercise skills that aren’t required in your regular role (e.g. perhaps you enjoy running professional development workshops, but you don’t work in HR).

Whatever it is, asking your manager for their blessing, then a member of the human resources team for help, can make establishing the group quite easy, and may even help you secure a dedicated corporate budget that could subsidize the cost of some of your activities. After all, part of a company’s goal should be to help their employees be happier at work. Happy people make for a happier–and more productive–environment.


If you’ve tried any of the above tips, please let us know how they went! And we’re all ears if you’d like to suggest your own.

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