Be happier at work

Finding a happy place at work may seem like mismatch—or if you are lucky, the norm. In healthcare, we strive to keep patients happy. Happy providers make happy patients. But sometimes we need some help in boosting our own happiness.

Here’s one method that comes from a happy place of sorts, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison that researches and shares ideas on our minds, our emotions, and how we can nurture the well-being of ourselves and others. It is a prescription everyone in healthcare needs and it is easy to remember: 5-3-1.

Each day, spend five minutes meditating. At your desk, sitting on a bench outside or looking out a window at a view you like, focus on your breathing and relax. This turns down the noise in our heads and allows our brains to de-stress.

Next, write down three good things that happened. By focusing on the positive versus the negative, we see happenings in a more positive light.

Finally, offer one act of kindness. When we feel generous, we feel happiness. We give and we get. In healthcare, giving is easy and happiness is sure to follow.

The folks at CIHM say it takes about a month for this daily regimen to bring greater well being—and build grey matter in our pre-fontal cortex that guides our attention, emotion regulation and executive decision-making. Happiness breeds happiness. Pass some on.