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Making the most out of what you have

May 8, 2015
By Amber Hovey - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Every day most of us get up in the morning, get dressed, quickly gulp down breakfast and speed off to work. As soon as we get to work, we are wishing it were Friday.

Was there ever a time in your career that you loved to come to work? If so, why was that? Was it the employees you worked with or the boss that made you feel like he or she cared about you as an individual?

If you are in a job where you love your job, great! If not, maybe it is time to reevaluate your attitude or your job. Life is too short to live miserably day after day. Now you may say, "well, I do not have a choice to change jobs because I need to pay the bills or I have kids to pay for." But what if the cost of the stress and anxiety you deal with every day at work is affecting your health and even your kids?

A 2011 study by a team of social scientists at the University of Canberra in Australia found that having a job we hate is bad for our health and sometimes worse than not having a job at all. The levels of depression and anxiety felt by those unhappy at work were the same or greater than those who were unemployed.

I am not saying to go out and quit your job and live on welfare. What I think people often forget about is their own health and happiness, and while they may feel like there are no other options in life, there is. As the saying goes, "life is what you make it."

A study done by two researchers at Boston College found that a child's sense of well-being is less affected by the long hours their parents work and more affected by the mood their parents come home in. Our kids look to us to know how to act and feel, and sometimes as parents, we don't always realize to what degree we affect our kids attitudes and outlook on life.

In a study done by researchers at University College London in 2011, researchers found that people who didn't feel recognized for their effort at work were more likely to suffer from heart disease. The reason, they said, was mostly due to the feeling of control or lack of.

I bring this about because as individuals, while we are responsible for our own happiness, we have a large impact on those around us. We have become so consumed with ourselves that we forget to look around us.

I can recall multiple times when I was having a horrible day, and then for one moment, a stranger said something that made me laugh or a friend randomly texted me to say they missed me or even I, without thinking, held the door for someone and they smiled and said thank you. These little things changed my whole attitude about the day.

It is those kind of things that release those good feel chemicals in our bodies called serotonin and oxytocin. Serotonin is that feeling of pride or that feeling when others show like or respect for us. As humans and social animals, we want to feel valued.

Oxytocin is those warm and fuzzy feelings we get from friendships, love, or trust. This chemical is released often we do something for someone else or some one does something nice for us.

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is easy to get swept away by stress or the hatred we feel for our jobs, but what we often forget is that it simply does not have to be that way. Whether you feel like you have control of your life or not, you do. You have the power not only to change your attitude but the attitudes of those around you, simply by doing kind gestures that release those power chemicals of serotonin and oxytocin.

Today, I challenge you to greet everyone you meet with a smile, perhaps a hold a door for someone, but also to take in consideration the effect you have on yourself as well as everyone you encounter. And try to have a great work week next week.



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