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Great post, Michele. I like the idea of being in charge of my own happiness to do a better job. I will definitely start working on these techniques!

Hey Savannah--I like the idea of taking responsibility for this too, although I also believe that organizations could be more intentional about the environments they create and their own use of these techniques. I vacillate wildly between knowing that we can only control ourselves and therefore have to pay attention to our own behavior and what we do in organizations to create an environment that is supportive of these ideas.

I agree with Michelle that we shouldn't ignore systemic issues in the workplace such as environmental cues (lighting, desk set-up) and interpersonal interactions (management influence). While I agree that people have choices over their mood I also find this to be a problematic topic. If you take a person who has historically been subjected to systemic social problems (poverty, racism, lack of education) and is disempowered in the workplace and say to them, "Don't worry, you can control your own mood, just think happy thoughts," then the core issue is not being dealt with. The systems that maintain this level of inequality need to be changed. Work "happiness" is a complicated issue and needs to be addressed from a systems perspective.

Just my two cents.

This works well unless you are in a very toxic work environment with bullies and games at play. It is very difficult to be in charge of your happiness scale when someone else is being abusive or passive aggressive. This is a simplistic view, but happiness is a much bigger issue than just a to do list. It requires a sense of peace and centredness.

Van and Anna I think you're both getting at something that is important to bring up here regarding "positive thinking." I completely agree that systems impact our happiness and that we can be caught up in toxic systems and environments that make it impossible to be happy. I am definitely NOT someone who advocates "think happy thoughts and everything will be wonderful." That is definitely a simplistic view and I recognize that work and life is infinitely more complicated than that.

At the same time, I think that if you can start reframing some of the ways that you think about work and life--at least in terms of how you approach the problems you face--then you can start to see some different solutions. For example, if you're in a toxic work environment, then use some reframing questions to help you deal with it, like "What do I believe is realistically possible here? How can I expand this belief to broaden the range of possible outcomes?" or "What learning is available in this situation? How can I be open to it?" or "What one small thing can I do to make this situation better or easier?"

Clearly if you're in a toxic situation, you want to do what you can to move out of it. At the same time, you can start to look at how positive re-framing might help you see some alternatives that make the situation more bearable in the meantime.

Michele, thanks so much for posting this. It's a powerful approach and will change how I talk with clients about their workplace performance issues.

Glad these help, Cathy. Would love to hear how this strategy works for you in working with clients.

It's interesting how we can train ourselves to be more positive at work. Furthermore, we can keep a positive attitude by maintaining our energy levels. We recently wrote an article http://academy.justjobs.com/come-to-work-charged-up-and-combat-ready that describes how we can do this. - Erich

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