Hey listen it doesn’t matter whether you are out of work, looking for work, working like a dog, or just coasting along nicely in your career; every now and then you’re going to have those times when things are rushed or when you’ll feel under pressure. If enough of those moments are not interrupted with moments of joy and pleasure, you’ll end up at some point feeling tense, intense and perhaps unhappy.
So how to counter the preceding and make your daily life more enjoyable? Well it may be as simple as looking micro instead of macro. Okay so in practice, if you only have major long-term goals, then your reward and the happiness it will bring is delayed. You will go day after day keeping your eyes and energy focused on some two or three-year plan such as finishing a degree, or landing that major promotion. But thinking micro is good at the same time.
So what do I mean by micro? Well it’s about having a series of very small things to look forward throughout your day. If you can connect many of these things together, at the end of the day you may find yourself feeling immensely pleased and satisfied even though no major goal was reached. What may have happened however along the way is that you were more productive overall, attracted positive people to you, found enjoyment in activities that previously were mundane, and got along better with your co-workers.
Examples? Sure. Pack along a CD or MP3 full of your favourite tunes, and you’re walking or driving with a smile on your face and maybe singing along releasing all kinds of physical chemicals that reduce your stress. Even getting into a clean car because you washed it on the way home the night before, gives you something to look forward to when you enter the garage instead of that dirty, mud-caked beast you were driving two days ago. Do you enjoy taking a shower and look forward to the hot steamy water pulsating on your upper or lower back? Something very small but invigorating to look forward to as you start your day.
Along your drive or commute, pick a development or favourite landmark or building. Check it out daily and watch it grow or change throughout the seasons. If you have a rural commute, watch the fields of a farmer and see how it’s tilled, planted, grows, matures and is harvested. Look forward to a sunrise and watch that orange orb ascend into a glorious morning sky. At work, look forward to greeting that Secretary or Support staff and tell them how much you appreciate all they do for you. Not only will you make them feel appreciated, but your mood will be enhanced to. Find things to laugh about, share a story you heard on radio that made you laugh with a co-worker.
And if you are unfortunate enough to be out of work, it doesn’t mean you cannot find small things along your day to take enjoyment in. As you are passing by a florist to drop off some resumes, pause a moment and go in and just smell some flowers. The bright colours in a dreary winter may please you. Kids have a natural charm about them when they are toddlers, find one on a bus, smile and wave or play peek-a-boo. It can distract you nicely on the way to your job interview and get you in a smiling frame of mind. And if you’ve prepped for the interview, relax and enjoy that moment.
Sure look forward to quitting time at work, but not because you get to run away from work, but rather because you get to go TO your home. Look forward to a television show, going to a movie, a dinner date, a trip to a museum or art showing. Even in the middle of a boring meeting at work, if you momentarily think of something to look forward to that same evening, you might just find something to smile about and it could show on your face; and lucky for you it might be interpreted as, “good to see so-and-so is engaged in this meeting!”
Stringing together a series of small individual moments and thoughts that bring you pleasure and are things to look forward to won’t get you that next job, or mean you get that big promotion. Let’s be realistic here. However, this very easy to do strategy can and does make your day more enjoyable, brings you more happiness than not, and relieves what otherwise might be a very long period of uninterrupted stress. What makes you happy and brings you cause to smile might be different from the next person. Nobody knows you better than yourself and therefore the things that bring you the most happiness are well within your control to bring into your daily existence. In other words, in a job search where you might feel such a profound lack of control, you can start on a micro level to take charge and bring into your daily experience small things to find joy and happiness in.
May you find happiness in many ways this day.