How to Bring Joy into each Work Day

One of the ways we let stress overwhelm our work lives is by forgetting how to intentionally cultivate joy daily. Let’s talk about simple steps to bring more joy and positivity into your work day, every day!

How to Bring Joy into each Work Day

How to bring joy into each work day

Feeling down or feeling the blues at the end of your work day? Let’s talk about why we struggle with joy, how to identify joy each day and 3 simple questions to ask yourself each morning to help cultivate joy.

Why we Struggle with Joy each Day

As humans, we are naturally wired to have more negative thoughts than positive thoughts. Psychologists call this negativity bias. We tend to gravitate towards negative news/events and dwell on these events more than positive ones. This has a powerful effect on our thoughts, behavior and decisions.

Picture this: We have negative bias in real-life events all the time. Have you ever humiliated yourself in front of co-workers or friends? Do you vividly recall that event and feel embarrassed about it months later? Your co-workers or friends have likely forgotten all about this small event, but you are still dwelling on it.

Have you ever received a performance evaluation at work and constructive feedback was offered for where to improve? Do you tend to fixate on these comments rather than feeling good about the positive aspects of the review?

How do we Prime Ourselves for Joy each Day?

Remember back to your time in school when there were pre-tests before a topic? I definitely remember these, and I use them in my own classroom as an Associate Professor. These pre-tests were priming our brains to learn a topic.

This same concept of priming can be used in everyday life. We can prime our brains to see positive and joyful moments in each work day.

1. Set the tone for your day.

You can start out each day by asking yourself the three questions in the next section to make sure you’re priming your brain for the day.

2. Reframe the Language we use.

Many times, we use language that leans towards a negative bias. For example, when we use I have to do something today. Let’s shift this wording into I get to or I choose to language. This simple shift reminds us that we do not have to do anything in life. We have a choice and we have a choice to do things that add joy to our lives.

3. Stop Dwelling on Past Mistakes or Failures.

The past is in the past. Our mistakes and failures were learning experiences. It’s time to shift into the present moment. What opportunity do you have here and now to choose joy?

4. Reward yourself.

Many times, we tend to oversee the joy and progress we are making in life because we never stop and celebrate small wins. This is your time to take a moment, schedule in white space and celebrate. The rewards are personal to you – just don’t skip celebrating it!

How to bring joy into each work day

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Each Morning

Each morning, set the tone for the day. I recommend starting with journaling your thoughts on these 3 questions. As you incorporate this into your morning routine, consider saying them out loud and adding scent to it with essential oils as well.  

1. What is one thing I can get excited about today?

The first question focuses on something you can control in your life. For example, being excited about a workout you signed up for or a new software you are training on today.

2. A situation that might stress me out today could be… and my best self will handle it…

Inevitably, there are challenging situations that arise in life. When we are prepared for them and are willing to bring our BEST SELF to the table, everyone benefits. Maybe this means you have a challenging meeting that will stretch you today, but you tackle it head on.

3. Who is someone I can surprise with a note, gift or thank you today?

Spreading joy is one of the best ways we bring positivity into each day. For example, you may give a friend a hug, send an audio or video message to a colleague or handwrite a note to leave on someone’s desk. These are small gestures that show appreciation for others and spread the joy to our communities.

Next Steps to Bring Joy into each Day

Use the techniques and 3 questions each day for the next week. At the end of the week, write down how you feel. Have your feelings at the end of the day changed since beginning these simple shifts?

Learn more about how to decrease stress and burnout in your life on The Burnout Doctor Podcast and burnout starter kit.

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