Boy, my entries have been pretty heavy recently. Being truthful, I’m glad we’re through with the leadership articles. Good info, but a bit weighty.
So, let’s have some fun. In fact, let’s talk about how to have fun in our daily work. An ancient Hebrew saying states: “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their work.”
Sounds great. But how? Most of us are tired and stressed, often feel overwhelmed and, as a result, we can become farily grumpy.
First, look at your life and take a moment to be thankful. Yes, you have negative circumstances in your life. We all do. (As M. Scott Peck stated in The Road Less Traveled, the starting point to mental health is to accept that “life is hard”.) But one way to overcome the negatives in our lives is to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. Personally, I am thankful I still sleep well. I am also healthy and can exercise without pain. That is a gift that many people don’t have. I love nature and have the benefit of living where I get to enjoy birds, the stars, trees, rabbits and deer. And I have a great family — a wife who loves me and four kids (although they are not “kids” anymore) who are neat people and we have a blast when we are all together. I could go on. But take a moment and think about the good tings you have in your life and give thanks (if it involves others in your life, it is good to tell them directly.)
A second key to enjoying life is to enjoy the moment. For much of my life, I have lived always looking forward to the future — thinking about tomorrow, this weekend, March Madness (I love college basketball), the next vacation, etc. As a result, I wasn’t really enjoying the moment I was living at that time. And the people around me noticed — I wasn’t present with them and I had a distant look in my eyes. I have worked hard to try to change this. No matter the circumstance — whether I am stuck in traffic, waiting for someone who is late to a meeting, fixing a flat tire — there is a way to enjoy the moment, and to make it a positive life experience. Look around — see who is there and chat with them, or take a brief moment to rest. (This is clearly a continuing growth area for me.)
A third way to enjoy life more is to practice some behaviors that foster positive interactions. Smile. Answer questions or greetings with a positive voice tone (rather than a grunt or negative comment.) Compliment others (whenever possible, be as specific as you can, “I really like that tie.” “I love the way you have decorated your office — it is so warm and inviting.”) Laugh. Tell jokes. Bring others’ attention to the positive things in life — the beauty of a sunrise or a flower, the fact that your flight arrived on time, how great lunch tasted, the accessibility of medical treatment and medication when you aren’t feeling well (think about what life was like before we had all the wonderful meds we have now.)
Next, take a moment to enjoy the people in your life. Stop by your receptionist’s or coworker’s desk and ask how their weekend was — what did they do that was fun? Or share about your weekend — tell a story about something interesting or funny that happened to you. Invite a colleague to lunch — not to talk business, but just to chat and enjoy a little time together. (You might need to give them a context — “I don’t want to talk about anthing specific. I just thought it would be fun to go grab a bite to eat together.”)
And lastly, do something that you enjoy — reward your senses, even if it is just a small thing. Talk a walk at lunch and enjoy the sunshine on your skin. Listen to some soothing music for five minutes (with your eyes closed). Eat one Hershey’s chocolate kiss and let it melt in your mouth. Give your spouse an extra long hug and kiss when you see them tonight. Tickle or wrestle with your kids. Go to bed half an hour earlier than usual and take a long, hot shower. Whatever you enjoy — incorporate some fun in your day. It makes life a lot more enjoyable!