Lessons For Life: Tips for Finding Happiness at Work

By Jen Weigel
Chicago Tribune

If you think being happy at work sounds like an oxymoron, you’re not alone.

“The idea of happiness in the workplace people find strange,” said Sharon Salzberg, author of the book “Real Happiness at Work,” Workman Publishing Company.

“I’ve gotten feedback that we are not supposed to have fun at work, that’s why we call it work. We don’t call it play.”

But Salzberg says happiness at work is an attainable goal.

One of the ways to find your happy place at the office, Salzberg said, is through meditation.

“People have a lot of concepts and notions about what meditation is and what it should look like and if people are not used to it, they struggle with doing it,” she said.

Salzberg said she has encountered a wide range of people who were interested in learning meditation, from writers and artists, to teachers, firefighters and hedge fund managers.

While the professions varied, Salzberg said, they all had a common theme, the desire for a sense of meaning in the workplace.

“People are realizing that they may not find the meaning in the job description or in the task,” she said. “It’s something you have to bring forward into the work.”

The meditations people enjoyed the most, Salzberg said, were what she calls “stealth meditations,” or ways to bring awareness into everyday tasks.

“Begin your work day and think about one particular action you want to become more aware of,” she said. “This can be something that is brief when you do it but it might something you do several times a day, like opening a door, or greeting customers or clients. Maybe it’s reaching for the phone. And try not to pick up the phone on the first ring but let it ring three times and breathe. Any time we can pause, we are better off. You’ll get more centered.”

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