How To Be Happy With Work

It’s Sunday, and suddenly, all the good vibes from the weekend starts to ebb from you. Your eyes start to dull, your voice gets taut, your anxiety rise and your patience short. It’s not the Monday blues affecting you. It’s the thought of work that has your heart constricting, your eyes narrowing, your mouth dry and your head aching. More and more, you’re thinking of quitting.

Now, why is this? You love your job. You were so proud when you first started. How did you go from excited to apprehensive? How can you find happiness at work again? How do you flip the switch from disengaged to engaged?

Professor Lyubomirsky posits that humans are remarkably adapt at getting used to any positive changes in their lives, a phenomenon she calls “hedonic adaptation”. Read more here – This builds on the theory developed in the 1970s, where many scientists thought that everyone has a happiness baseline – which they always return to – despite life’s ups and downs. This is called “set point theory”. Perhaps, you’re starting to get a feel for where this piece is going. So, what has this got to do with why you went from excited about work to apprehensive? From engaged to disengaged?

Nir Eyal recently wrote an article on LinkedIn where he alludes to this as he discusses if Clubhouse the drop-in audio chat app will become a habit or a Has-Been in his exploration of Variable Rewards. Variable rewards are the rocket fuel that power engagement. So, at first when you got your job, you hit a positive high which slowly dropped to baseline as you got used to the demands of the job, your colleagues and the perks (variable reward). Overtime, this baseline dropped as the variable rewards got predictable leading to routine, your basic needs changed, but your job didn’t, you grew in mastery(knowledge/skill), but your job specifications didn’t get the memo, so, you’ve become bored, and it could also be that you feel a lack of voice and autonomy.

Creating Happiness At Work

First, do a self check in using the Happiness Framework – Basic Needs, Autonomy, Mastery and Inclusion = Meaning, Purpose, Positivity and Pleasure. This check up helps you identify what is lacking.

Next, Here are things you can do before considering quitting.

  • Issue Sell – Find, Identify and Align yourself with ambassadors who will promote your cause to those with the wherewithal to effect the changes you want.  
  • Framing – Study the personality, behaviour and language of those you need to effect the changes you are after. What are their priorities? What is their mindset? What are their triggers or motivators? Frame your cause to reflect this. This way you get their attention quicker and your language does the convincing for you.
  • Socialising / Networking – Find those whose skills and positions complements yours, but have more influence than you do. Remember, your network is your net worth. Your network can make or break you.
  • Job Crafting – Take intentional and proactive steps to redesign how we work, our relationships and most importantly how we think of what we do. Find a purpose (what’s your purpose) and align your job to it, so it reflects this. For example, if you’re wanting to provide more support to others, you can consider training in mental health, mentorship or volunteering as an extension of what you do.

Are you a leader wondering how to boost your peoples’ engagement and happiness at work? Start with the culture of your organisation. Are your people psychologically and physically safe? Do they have Voice? Do they have Autonomy? Do you provide Learning and Development opportunities for everyone? Do you challenge them? Do you understand your peoples’ personalities and behavioural types? Their pain points? Do you have a wellbeing strategy? These are salient questions to examine as the response gives you your answer.

To learn more about how to build, boost and maintain happiness at work as an individual or for your team, join our wellbeing infused and interactive Masterclass on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Happiness at Work. Book here.

A Masterclass on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Happiness at Work

At SVH Inc., we work with you to boost your peoples’ strength, vibrance and happiness, through speaking engagements, away day experiences, wellbeing focused courses and trainings on mental health and happiness at work. Get in touch – here.


You’re a pretty cool human. You don’t see race, class, stature, or disability. All you see is potential and a person’s uniqueness.
To prove this, you hold conversations with all sorts of people, keeping an open mind, and even go as far as hiring those who are obviously different from you and the people you normally associate with. YOU REALLY ARE COOL! No disputes. Diversity is second nature to you. You seek to empower others by showing them a life with no divide.

But, how do you support their integration? Therein, lies the true empowerment.

Your character is revealed by how you treat others when you don’t think they can do anything for you. This is where we most have the potential for self development and growth. It is where we groom our allyship, intolerance for injustice, mindful exercises of inclusion, discretion, loyalty and sense of self worth. Amazingly, it also contributes to our resilience.

Let’s break it down with the Happiness Continuum using a movie that helped shape a lot of my life. “Pretty Woman”

Edward meets Vivian, a sex worker. He is lost and asks for directions. She accepts to direct him, but at a fee (she needs money for Rent). They get talking and he is intrigued by her. So intrigued, he invites her to stay the night. Edward, having recently broken up with his girlfriend needs a companion who will accompany him on dates, be at his beck and call with no emotional entanglements. He has a moment of genius and hires Vivian to be his companion for the week. It is within this period that we see how good intentions could backfire if not conscientiously implemented and create ripple effects of kindness or unkindness.

The materials for Happiness are Basic Needs, Autonomy, Mastery and Inclusion. The equipments are Purpose, Meaning, Positivity and Pleasure. In building Happiness, we cannot overlook any of these. Our Basic Needs depend on where we are in life. For example, the movie starts with Vivian needing to pay rent, while Edward needed a companion with no emotional entanglements. We observe their Basic Needs change as the movie progresses.

It’s not often you find a movie that addresses so many relevant issues in one blockbuster, lip stretching, aww inducing and tear jerking movie.
Edward is like Management. At the top, so used to people giving and showing him what he wants to see, so quick and decisive in making decisions and taking actions, that he didn’t realise how his decisions and the privilege he takes for granted affects others.
He gives Vivian a job, a huge wardrobe allowance, extra perks which include fine dining at exclusive restaurants and even a visit to the Opera.

However, his best intentions are not conscientiously applied. He hadn’t realised there’s a marked difference between being nice and being supportive. Between being collaborative and being dictatorial.

Let’s examine some of the oversights that threatened the Happiness he was building.

Building Happiness

Basic Needs: Edward knew Vivian needed clothes for outings with him. He failed to consider that she needed to be armed with more than just cash. She needed some sort of onboarding with the hotel and the shops.

Autonomy: A major theme of the movie is Autonomy. Vivian and Kit are often heard stating: “we say who, we say when, we say how”. Edward in a jealous moment told his attorney that Vivian was a hooker. Even though he instantly regretted his actions, this moment created a riptide of unkindness, bullying and molestation. Edward didn’t expect Vivian to react as she did, but good on her, her actions lead us to reflect on what went wrong. It was an act of micro-aggression that gave the green light to his attorney, Stuckey to proposition her, hit her and try to rape her.

Mastery: Edward took it for granted that Vivian would know the etiquette of fine dining and ordered escargot. She didn’t even know the difference between a salad fork and and a starter fork. (to be honest, neither do I. Haha.)
But, a cheering moment here is when we see a practise of kindness and inclusion by Mr James Morse, the dinner companion and owner of the business Edward was aggressively trying to take over, Mr Morse makes a self denigrating joke about cutlery and proceeds to eat with his hands.

Inclusion: Even though Vivian was his invited guest, Edward didn’t think to inform the hotel of her presence. He also didn’t share much essential personal details like his full name, to make it easier for her to integrate. Even though it was put as a joke, he didn’t want her answering the phone.

The great thing about this movie is how the characters learn valuable lessons as they go along. Lessons in compassion (as seen with the shop attendants who wouldn’t attend to Vivian because she wasn’t ‘well dressed”. The look of absolute shame on their faces when Vivian returns to show off . . . priceless), to Edward learning a lesson in collaboration, inclusion, loyalty and friendship, Vivian learning self confidence and rethinking her life choices.

The theme of Mastery runs throughout the movie, taking the viewer along with it. We learn with the characters. A great example of Experiential Learning.

What movies have taught you valuable life lessons? Please share, so we can check it out and learn too. Thank you.

Shop scene in Pretty Woman. Image From Google

4 Ways To Ensure Happiness at Work

From darkness comes light, from light comes life

Change is the only permanent thing in life. And it’s only checkmate is a tradition of happiness, because happiness builds and boosts resilience. Change is permanent, and the resilient learn to either “LEAN IN” or “Leave The Brakes, Hit Neutral, Steer the Wheel and Ride it Out”. Let’s chat about creating happiness in the workplace for improved resilience, after all, a Strong, Vibrant, Happy and Incorporated Team is a resilient, creative and productive one. 

Happiness is the maximisation of Pleasure, Positivity, Purpose and Meaning. It is both Experienced and Reflective. Its four design principles include: Basic Needs, Autonomy, Mastery and Belonging.

All over the world, people are confronting exceptional challenges, as we all fight an invisible virus waging war on us, whilst we grapple with the attacks on all aspects of our wellbeing; Mental, Physical, Social, Emotional and Financial. For most, it feels like slowly sinking into quicksand, desperately trying to catch a rope, or being in a fast moving car with blown out tyres. Before this pandemic, it was reported that 1 in 4 workers in the UK would suffer from mental ill health resulting in less productivity. 

How can HR and Senior Management aka Superheroes ensure their people’s wellbeing, protect them from mental health issues and Burnout in the midst of constantly changing Government guidelines? 

4 ways to ensure a Strong, Vibrant, Happy and Incorporated team: 

Basic Needs: Give praise and appreciation. Sometimes, all we need is a simple acknowledgement to calm our nerves. We all have a need to be seen and heard. Ensure you see and hear your people. It is a simple and effective way to show kindness at work. 

Autonomy: Enquire and propose a more flexible work schedule to suit your peoples’ unique circumstances. Discourage an always on practice. Encourage daily and weekly SMART goals. This way, you avoid Burnout of employees, from always being on call. Work with them to create boundaries for the working day and clearly communicate priorities. Allow your team choose what works best for them. 

Mastery: Invest in a holistic Wellbeing Action Plan that would not only rejuvenate and inspire but educate your people in diverse subjects/themes, enabling them to gain CPD qualifications. This creates a sense of accomplishment and pride, increasing engagement and commitment.

Belonging: Be proactive about creating and fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels seen, and heard. Seek employees input before making policies or decisions to ensure you are not overlooking anyone’s needs, avoiding stress and resentment. 

To fully ensure that your people stay crash and bullet proof from Burnout, please check us out at