How to find happiness at work

“Decades of research have shown that happiness is not the outcome of success but rather its precursor,” says Emma Seppälä, the science director of Stanford School of Medicine’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research. Most people think they will be happy once they will have found success in a great job at a good company. As it turns out, it might work the other way round. Happiness first, then success.

Picture: Jacob Lund / fotolia

Or that is at least what the author describes in her new book “The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success”. Refreshingly enough, Seppälä does not focus on management, leadership or organisation questions, instead she zooms in on Positive Psychology: mindfulness, resilience, the management of personal energy levels, creativity, looking after yourself, compassion. To get there, she recommends practices like meditation, breathing and active listening.

In the end she turns well-known ideas and practices into six strategies for attaining happiness and fulfilment – and to thrive professionally. Some of the practices Seppälä recommends to foster success contradict one another at times. For example, on one hand you should immerse yourself in any given task to be fully in the moment. And at the other hand, you have to step aside from actual activities to become objective and calm. So it might be that the secret to a happy success is to know which strategy to follow when.

To sum it up: The book is a clever compilation of the science of well-being and how to turn it into skills that help you to keep calm and resilient in stressful jobs and environments. Since so many people – successful ones as well as unsuccessful ones – are desperately unhappy in the office, this book might be a good read for many.

“The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success”, Piatkus (January 2016), ISBN-10: 0349405468