Center for Workplace Happiness

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Hero, Villain, or Something In Between?

She is revered. She is vilified. She is someone that most of us took for granted, not realizing that she was a person with a life, hopes, and dreams before us, and plans for her own life that didn’t necessarily include us. She is Mother and this Sunday is her day.

Relationships are difficult at times, and many people have difficulties putting their “Mom relationship” into perspective. For those of us whose moms are no longer alive in a physical body, this week can be tough, and for those who resent or even hate their moms, this week can be even harder in many ways. All that serves to make this week before Mother’s Day a challenging one for many of us to find emotional peace and balance. It can be done, though – the same tools that help you put other things into perspective work for this, too.

Neuroplasticity came into being as a field of study when doctors watched patients re-acquire skills lost after a stroke. Researchers studied the process our brains...

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Are You Strong Enough to be Quiet?

This week’s topic might make you roll your eyes. That’s OK. This week’s topic may make you think, “I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me.” That’s OK, too. Keep reading for the why’s and how’s about adding … gasp! … meditation to your daily routine.

There are a lot of reasons people give for not meditating – they don’t understand what it is, they don’t understand what it does for them, and maybe they think they don’t have time for meditation. Let’s take those reasons, one by one:

What is meditation? It’s simply quieting your mind for a few minutes while remaining awake. That’s all. Most major religions have meditative practices, though meditation itself isn’t a religious activity. You don’t need special clothes, music, flexibility, or space to meditate – comfy clothes, a comfy chair or couch, and a space you can be undisturbed for a short period of...

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Carving Out Caring Time for You

If April showers bring May flowers, you know it’s time for peek-toes, flip-flops, and bare feet very soon! That’s probably why today is National Mani-Pedi day – gotta get those foot-tootsies summer-ready. Yes, even if you’re a dude, the benefits of carving an hour or so out of your day for pampering is a highly recommended experience.

Taking care of yourself with things like manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages can sometimes feel self-indulgent and maybe even wasteful. It’s not – taking care of yourself is giving yourself permission to relax as you allow someone to help you look and feel your best. Making time and space in your life to do things to help you live well and be healthier is, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the perfect way to manage your stress, increase your energy, and reduce your risk of illness.

There – did that get your attention? NIMH wants you to get a mani-pedi this week!

Self-care helps your...

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It's Tax Day - Do You Know What Taxes You?

Today is so taxing! If you’ve noticed that people are cranky, distant, or just plain missing, it’s probably because today is the day Uncle Sam demands his due. It’s tax day, and those who waited until the last minute have discovered that there aren’t a lot more minutes left to get all that paperwork handled.

As irritating as it can be to do make-work for the government and perhaps write a big check on top of it, there are other irritations often found in the workplace that you may have to deal with on a daily basis. Here are the top 5 things that team members do that annoy their coworkers:

  • Talking too loudly on the phone
  • Wearing too much fragrance
  • Speaking in jargon instead of plain English
  • Calling/texting/emailing outside of business hours & expecting a quick reply
  • Poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling

In the post-pandemic world, people tend to be more stressed and touchier about the idiosyncrasies they find in their co-workers. Whether in person or...

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Harnessing Your Inner Animal Control Officer to Lead Your Team

Dogs are an important part of my life. Yours too? Growing up, my family always had a small dog and she (it was always a “she”) was a member of our family. The first was Bobbie, the one who sadly taught us the importance of not allowing puppies to dash out the door unrestrained. Next was Pixie, from an “oops” litter one of Dad’s co-workers had. Then came Buffy, the Pomeranian Mom always wanted, who joined the family after I moved out to chase my dreams. Who were the pets you grew up with, and are your memories as fond and bitter-sweet as mine?

Animals in general and dogs in specific are the launching pad for today’s newsletter. This week holds the dual, related designations of Dog Bite Prevention Week and Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week. Both are celebrated annually during the second full week of April, and both aim to educate, one about the responsibilities that come with dog ownership and one about the important role animal control...

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Staying Afloat in a Sea of Uncertainty

Countries are at war. Banks are failing. The stock market is teeter-tottering. Inflation is behaving like a spoiled brat, refusing efforts to control it. Politicians are taking dirty laundry and gleefully hanging it out for all to see. And all of this is coming in the wake of a worldwide pandemic, which created a mental health crisis worldwide.

If you’re feeling a bit more stress, world events could be playing a role. If you want to feel less stress, read on for some scientific news and some practical ways to easily lower the angst.

To say that times are uncertain is an understatement. To say that every person has to feel the pain of the uncertainty, live in the stress of the uncertainty, and rule their lives based on what can only be guesses at possible outcomes is incorrect. Not everyone has to suffer in uncertain times. As a matter of fact, visionaries, great leaders, and innovators often thrive in uncertain times, because they see the opportunities that the upheaval...

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In Praise of Family Farmers

In the past week, did you eat anything? Did you drink anything besides plain water? Did you sweeten something with sugar or monk fruit or stevia or honey? Do you have fresh fruit in your kitchen, canned goods in your pantry, meat and veggies in your refrigerator and freezer? Then you are the end user of thousands of unseen and often unappreciated farmers, growers, ranchers, dairy farmers, beekeepers, fruit farmers, vintners, etc. etc. etc.

Every day should be National Agriculture Day. Last week was the official one, and I hope the people who grow, farm, ranch, harvest, and collect food for us so we can eat felt appreciated.  Farmers work hard to provide food for American families – according to the USDA, 96% of the farms in the US are family-owned and operated, and most of them – 88% - are small operations that gross less than $350,000 a year. Before you get all excited and decide to go out and start your own small family farm, realize that one good, multi-purpose...

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How Can You Be as Happy as This Cat?

Happy Act Happy Week! And if you’re not happy and you know it, it’s OK to not be able to give an Oscar-winning performance. In this week’s newsletter I’ll help you find your way back to happy with a few mental wellbeing tools you can use any time, in the privacy of your own head. Or you can just watch funny cat videos - whatever works for you is good.

Have you ever thought about our amazing range of emotions and how quickly they can switch up, based on what’s happening around us? Research at UC Berkley identified 27 distinctly different emotional states of mind, and also showed that they are interconnected, allowing us to slide easily and quickly between them. What are the 27 emotions they identified through a research study with over 800 participants? Here you go: admiration, adoration, aesthetic appreciation, amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, craving, disgust, empathic pain, entrancement, excitement, fear,...

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How Comfortable are You Asking Questions?

I have a question for you – how comfortable are you asking questions? Questions are a fundamental learning tool, and yet many people spend a large part of their lives being uncomfortable about asking questions. It could stem from a desire to be or seem perfect, it could be because they don’t want to be nosy or pry, or it could be because they don’t even know how to formulate a question to get the information they need. Often, people don’t ask questions because they don’t know what they don’t know, so have no idea they even should be asking a question.

Today is Albert Einstein’s birthday and is also Ask a Question Day. It’s not a coincidence that they are the same day – Einstein is widely regarded as one of the most flexible-minded inventors largely because of his ability to continue to ask questions long after most people would have given up trying to make something work. A tenacious curiosity is a fundamental building block of...

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Beefing Up Your Leadership Skills

Are you a team lead? The team can be a work team, a sports team or a family team – most people lead some sort of team, whether they know it or not. Some people enjoy the role of leader, helping people develop their full potential, while others are intimidated or uninterested in taking a leadership role. No matter where you fall on the leadership continuum or what sort of team you lead, it pays to know how to shape your words and actions to help your people understand and want to follow you.

In 1938, Sears Roebuck & Company began an ongoing survey of their employees, looking to understand important yet difficult to quantify concepts like loyalty, satisfaction and organizational behavior. Their longitudinal study attracted sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists, all of whom parsed the survey results in a myriad of different ways. In many respects, this was the beginning of a strong corporate human resources focus. Fast-forward to now, when the science of the brain...

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