Can eating the same thing for breakfast, turning off the radio, or telling a joke make you happier in your job? According to a new book, Before Happiness, the answer is yes. We spoke with author Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher, leading positive psychology expert, and distinguished former Harvard professor, to find out how simple actions like these can in fact help you become happier, healthier, and more successful at work and in your everyday life.
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Ask a Coworker Out for a Drink
If you've been feeling down at work, doing something nice for someone else can help you feel better. In fact, the greatest buffer against depression is altruism, Achor says. His research found that people who put more effort into their work relationships were 10 times more likely to be highly engaged in their work and twice as likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Most notably, these pro-social workers were more successful and had more promotions than the less friendly employees. "If you're not giving back, you're not getting ahead either," Achor says.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, offer to drive someone to the airport, or send a handwritten thank-you note. It can even be as minor as asking a coworker who you don't know well to grab a drink after work.