If you are reading this, you probably have a job. If not, you wouldn’t be learning how to be happier at work.

Maybe you love your job. Maybe you despise it. Or perhaps you are somewhere between those two extremes. Or somedays you love it and others you despise it.

However it is you feel about your job, did you know having a job makes you happier than someone that is unemployed?

It’s the truth.

Wellbeing is higher in those with jobs compared to those who are unemployed.

Pretty cool, right?

But how do you become happier at work?

I’m going to tell you.

And so you know, this information comes from the 2017 World Happiness Report.

Select the Right Type of Work for You

What you do for work matters.

Some jobs are associated with higher levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Those with the highest reported levels of happiness were managers or executives. This is closely followed by professional workers, clerical or office workers, and service workers.

Those with the lowest levels of happiness? Farming, fishing, and forestry workers. Construction workers and miners closely followed.

So if you are dissatisfied by your work, consider this information before choosing a new direction.

Be Actively Engaged

According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, active engagement is extremely important to job satisfaction.

The more engaged you are in your job, the happier and more satisfied you are with it.

What does it mean to be actively engaged in your work?

Actively engaged workers are passionate about what they do and feel committed to their job or employers.

Disengaged workers are are “checked out” and put in time without much energy or passion.

According to a Gallup poll, only 30% of Americans are actively engaged in their work.

How do you get actively engaged? Change your mindset or change your responsibilities/job.

Negotiate for a Raise

Higher wages are predictive of greater wellbeing.

This goes counter to advice or graduation speeches you’ve heard.

But the facts are those in well-paying jobs tend to feel happier and more satisfied with their lives compared to those in lower income brackets.

This isn’t a purely linear relationship, though. The lower you are on the income spectrum, the more a raise will contribute to your wellness.

Likewise, the HIGHER you are on the income spectrum, the less a raise will contribute to your happiness.

This is a tricky subject, because you have to consider work-life satisfaction. A higher paying job that substantially increases your commute time or causes you to worry at home will leave you LESS happy. Read the next tip for more details.

Leave Work at Work

This is a fascinating one.

Even though you may be enticed with the idea of job-flexibility or work you can do from home, this may detract from your happiness.

If your job interferes with your ability to spend time with loved ones, your happiness level goes down.

If your job causes you to worry about work matters when you are off the clock, your happiness level goes down.

If your job leaves you too tired to enjoy non-work factions of life, your happiness decreases.

Volunteer for Variety & Learn Something New

Variety is more than the spice of life — it is a key to job satisfaction and happiness.

Those with jobs that entail variety and the need to learn new skills are generally more satisfied with their work AND their lives.

So volunteer to learn something new or take on a new project — your happiness may increase!

Take Control Over Your Day

Having control - or autonomy - over your work is a significant contributor to happiness.

If possible, exert control over your workday and your pace of work. Workers that do this have higher wellbeing outcomes.

Find Your Work Tribe

Keeping your nose to the grindstone and staying to yourself at work may result in less happiness.

The level of social support you receive at work is strongly predictive of wellbeing.

Finding social support, and even being a member of a union, can increase your happiness at work.

Work for Someone You Respect and Feel is Competent

Your boss has a big impact on your job happiness (some of you may be thinking “duh” on this one).

When you work for someone you respect and feel is competent, your work wellbeing increases. Bosses and supervisors make a HUGE impact on satisfaction.

Data aside, I can personally attest to the importance of this one. I’ve been lucky to have mostly wonderful bosses. And in those circumstances, my team and I were happy and thrived. I can think of one situation where this was not the case — where I did not feel confidence on my boss. Instead of my team thriving, we were unhappy, stressed out, and overall lacking in wellbeing.

Turn Information Into Action

Information is only so helpful — it is action that will transform your life.

So take inventory of your job and life. What changes can you initiate to make you happier at work?

Write one or two down and commit to incorporating them into your life.

The Happiness Series

Do you want to be happier?

If so, read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the happiness series!

Sending you health and happiness,


Last week I was teaching an Intensive Lifestyle class and one of my participants asked me a great question.

She asked:

 “I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to prevent anxiety and depression. I exercise five times a week and try to eat right. What other natural things can I do to prevent depression and anxiety?

This is a question I get a lot. And in the spirit of our happiness series, I am here to answer.

Just to recap from last week, the biggest detractors from happiness are depression and anxiety. So I am going to share 3 alternative therapies that are proven to prevent depression and anxiety.

You may be concerned with the cost and effectiveness of alternative therapies. I completely sympathize your concern.

That is why I am only offering alternative therapies that are proven (and I share the links to the medical articles that show the support) and affordable. In fact, two of the three therapies I share can be obtained for FREE.


1. Music Therapy

Music therapy has solid evidence to help anxiety and depression

Music therapy is the use of music to influence physical, emotional, cognitive, and social wellbeing and quality of life. It can include listening to music or performing music.

Music therapy is shown to improve symptoms of anxiety and stress. Furthermore, music can enhance mood and induce relaxation.

The best type of music for depression and anxiety is still being determined.

Research suggests that music familiar to your culture is the most helpful for anxiety.

Classical music has been found to be relaxing and comforting. Rock music, on the other hand, may result in stress.

Interestingly, both calming and stimulating music may improve pain tolerance.

Music therapy is theorized to work by reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones. See this and this article for more information.

Music therapy is considered to be safe.

Multiple clinical studies have used music therapy without side effects.

2. Light therapy

Light therapy is shown to help with depression.

Light therapy (or phototherapy) is the use of various wavelengths of light to produce a therapeutic effect. It can use lasers, LEDs, fluorescent lamps, and bright, full-spectrum light.

You may have heard of using light boxes to help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depressive condition related to changes in the seasons. There is quite a bit of evidence to support light therapy for SAD. In fact, light therapy may be as effective as using traditional antidepressants.

You may not know light therapy is also useful for non-seasonal depression.

Bright light therapy has been shown to decrease depressive symptoms in individuals with non-seasonal depression.

To help with non-seasonal depression, white light (versus yellow or red) appears to have the most evidence.

Studies show that durations as short as 2 to 4 hours per day improves symptoms.

3. Yoga

Yoga decreases depressive symptoms in children and adults.

Yoga is a mental, physical, and spiritual practice that originated in India thousands of years ago.

Yoga’s popularity has increased significantly in Western cultures over the last several decades.

Research shows yoga improves depressive symptoms in individuals that are using antidepressant medicine and those that are NOT using antidepressant medicines.

Yoga works by improving blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, and anxiety levels.

These are all modalities that appear to improve depression and anxiety.

Yoga appears to be safe in most individuals.
Aggressive forms of yoga or yoga in highly heated environments may not be safe, especially for beginners, older adults, and those that are pregnant. It is best to practice yoga under the supervision of a certified instructor.

Several different types of yoga decrease depression and anxiety.

Studies show:

  • Sudarshan Kriya Yoga,
  • hatha yoga, and
  • sahaj yoga

decrease depressive symptoms and anxiety.

Boosting Happiness with Alternative Therapies

Happiness is important to us all and we know the main detractors from happiness in the Unites States are depression and anxiety.

The good news is there are alternative therapies proven to PREVENT depression and anxiety. Music therapy, light therapy, and yoga are affordable options that help.

Your Turn

What happiness hack will you try this week? I encourage you to pick one (or all three) to help keep depression and anxiety at bay.

Loved this post? Then share it with a friend!

Are you looking for more information on happiness? Read parts 1 and 2 of the happiness series and be on the lookout for part 4.

Get Happy . . . NOW - Part I

Do you want to be happier? Have you ever thought:

  • “I just want to be happy.”
  • “How come s/he always looks so happy? How come I can’t be like that?”
  • “I’ll be happy as soon as I have a new job/a new partner/a new house/a new outfit?
  • “Why can’t I just be happy?”

My guess is yes because most of us desire happiness. And most of us feel like we aren’t as happy as we should be.

If this is you, you are not alone. Most of us desire happiness and feel like we aren’t as happy as we should be.


The pursuit of happiness surrounds us. Americans spend millions of dollars each year searching for happiness. From self-help books to medications to material possessions, it is likely you have purchased something to enhance your happiness.

What you may NOT know is that happiness has been studied and there are evidence-based ways to improve your happiness.

Sounds pretty cool, huh?

So if you want to be happier NOW, keep reading. I’m starting this series with BIG picture happiness hacks.

The 2017 World Happiness Report

The 2017 World Happiness Report was recently published. This extensive report ranks countries on happiness and objectively ascertains determinants of happiness and misery.

What was the happiest country in 2017?


And the least happy?

The Central African Republic.

How does the United States rank?

14th, after countries such as Iceland, Canada, Australia, Israel, and Costa Rica.

What Makes You Happy

For the purpose of this article, I am focusing on happiness in the United States. This is because the majority of my readers are American. If you are interested in happiness information on other countries, please reach out to me and I’d be glad to share.

According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, income, years of education, employment, partnership, and health all contribute heavily to happiness and satisfaction. Another factor that contributed to happiness: being female.

Why Health Matters

Of all the happiness factors, health was the highest contributor.

This research mimics my personal experience as a clinician and practitioner. I have firsthand experience and have witnessed the transformative impact of wellness on individuals, families, and communities.

This is one of the reasons I am incredibly passionate about helping others lead healthier lives and focus so much effort on prevention.

Preventing physical and mental illness IS possible.

Really, this is the unofficial theme of A Better Way Wellness.

How to Improve Your Happiness

This series will take a close look at how health impacts happiness and provide you with real, evidence-based, actionable ways to improve your own health and happiness.

What you need to do in the meantime is take an honest assessment of your happiness and health.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! I’ve got you. I’ve put together quizzes that will help you gauge both happiness and health.

Happiness Quizzes

Health Quizzes

What’s Coming Next Week

Next week, we will specifically discuss the impact of mental health on happiness. Part of this will include ways to prevent the most most common mental health disorders. Stay tuned!

Sending you happiness and health,