How to be happy every day at work

You can't. I tricked you.

I was forced to sit through a talk by an "inspirational speaker" for an hour not long ago. He was nice. But, like usual, I heard again rhetorical questions like, "Are you stressed at work? Why not be happy everyday? Put a smile on your face!"

I'm not sure why this absurd idea continues to be promulgated. 

Look, let's be real. Work is--for any normal person--a conglomeration of a wide range of responsibilities and tasks. And even those who love their jobs (like I do!) still experience stress and drama at times.

It is absurd to think that work or life or anything never involves stress.

Even children experience stress and they don't pay any bills!

This essay is short and sweet. Here's the point that any rational person understands:

The goal in life and work is not to avoid or deny stress. The goal in life and work is to be able to process stress when it occurs.

What healthy people do is learn healthy coping skills to deal with life as it happens. And life involves stress and drama.

There are two extremes: (1) Some people love drama. They love the attention it brings them. You might be like that. Gossip makes you excited. It gives you validation. (2) Some people abhor drama and stress and either attempt to avoid it at all costs or deny that it exists by wearing a factitious smile and only thinking positive thoughts.

Healthy people don't go looking for it and they don't deny or avoid it at all costs. They simply (1) admit that it occurs and (2) process the emotions that occur when it comes.

How do they process the emotions? They develop the proper coping skills necessary. They take deep breaths; they speak about their feelings with trusted friends or a counselor; they journal their feelings; they pray; they seek the counsel of mentors; they practice constant, healthy boundaries in life and work and don't take more responsibility for an issue than is absolutely necessary; they take appropriate breaks during the day; they live a life based on their values, not on what other people value; and other things.

Again, what they don't do is go looking for stress and drama nor do they deny or avoid it.

So, I'm not very inspired when an "inspirational speaker" tells me that I don't ever have to be stressed at work. Nonsense. What I need to focus on is healthy coping skills to deal with reality--and my accompanying emotional responses--when it happens.

That's inspirational because it's real.

David Pendergrass1 Comment