Meditation teacher and the best-selling author of Real Happiness shares ways to find fulfillment at work—even in jobs we may never love.
IN PREPARATION FOR WRITING my most recent book, Real Happiness at Work, I interviewed a lot of people, many of whom work dramatically different jobs—from a Wall Street executive to a carpet cleaner to a public-school teacher to an undercover policewoman, and more. My goal in writing about happiness at work was not to assume or argue that we all can find work we love or a job that is particularly fulfilling. Rather, I wanted to identify the ways in which we can find peace and meaning, or a sense of purpose, in our day-to-day professional lives, even in a position we don’t necessarily think of as our dream job. Why the search for meaning? It’s considered the strongest factor in one’s happiness at work, ranking even higher than position or status, according to survey findings from The Energy Project, a consulting firm that focuses on workplace fulfillment. And lest you think your own happiness is a selfish thing, it’s not—it becomes an inner resource out of which you can care for others.
Yet many of us feel like Tracy, who works as a secretary and told me how she struggles with separating her identity from her job: “It’s a huge challenge to not see myself as just a secretary,” she explained. “I do my best to be of service at a job that was never a great fit, but it’s wearing me down.”
Like Tracy, we struggle at work to find meaning and figure out who we are in relation to our jobs, as they are often the cause of disappointment, stress, competitiveness, and sometimes even downright despair. And while we cannot change those times when we are condescended to by our boss, disappointed by a failure, or overwhelmed by an astronomical workload, we can change how we relate to these experiences by cultivating certain skills that allow us to find meaning in the process. Meditation, I believe, is one of the most essential tools to help us do this.
Meditation helps us cultivate foundational skills like awareness, connection, and resilience. It’s certainly possible to find meaning at work without formal, seated meditation, but I’ve seen that for many, a regular meditation practice makes it easier. The two qualities most closely aligned with meditation that bring meaning into one’s work are mindfulness and compassion.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Know Your Knee
It holds you up and propels you forward. Here’s how to take care of your body’s largest joint so you can stay limber and pain-free in your practice.
The Purifying Power of Heat
Practicing Tapas proves that making an effort generates energy.
3 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat
Ease pain, irritation, scratchiness, and swelling— no OTC meds required.
Modern Vinyasa FOR THE MASSES
Teacher Calvin Corzine brings a functional yet challenging approach to yoga with an emphasis on making everyday movement easier.
JIVANA HEYMAN HAS A REVOLUTIONARY IDEA: Make Yoga Accessible to Everyone
FOR THE ACCESSIBLE YOGA COFOUNDER, ANYONE CAN DO YOGA” ISN’T A FEEL-GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA SLOGAN—IT’S A LIFELONG MISSION.
Mindful Messaging: Why LOL Just Doesn't Cut It
Sure, it’s easy to fire off those little blue messages. But these tips can help you slow down your communications and practice intentionality.
Home Sweet Home Practice
The next time the demands of teaching make-at-home yoga feel like a chore, channel these reasons to unroll your mat.
ROMANCING YOUR DOSHA
The secret to improving your relationship? Enhance your understanding of yourself and your partner.
I Began to Truly Live Yoga When I Quit Teaching It
Walking away from my practice actually drew me closer to it.
Can the healing energy technique work across distance and space?
How to Eat Well for Anxiety
Keep calm and reduce anxiety with these foods and supplements that help to restore balance.
Add These Healthy Routines to Your Day
Holistic wellness focuses on the connection between mind, body, and spirit It isn’t just about treating symptoms; it seeks to find the root causes that create the issues. By living a more holistic lifestyle, you may be able to enhance your body’s natural ability to restore itself.
Cook Your Anxiety Away
Rachel Levin and Tara Duggan, authors of Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on Your Table, help readers find emotional release in the kitchen.
Move More, Move Differently
The more you move your body, the healthier you probably are, mentally and physically.
Overlapping crises have made many of us jumpy. But how do you know when you have slipped into a more serious problem and need help?
When you’re on the road, there are ways you can beat stress before it beats you
Who Will You Be?
Identity is a version of reality we experience according to the vision we are using.
Rules for Being the Age You Are
Whether you’re 20 or 120, the author’s surprise-filled guide can help most anyone live happily ever
Megha Bajaj shares some simple tips on how to develop the capacity for intuition, which can be cultivated in daily life.
What are Your Intentions?
How to sharpen and enlarge your understanding and application of intentions.