How I Learned to Love My Work

I used to be angry and frustrated all the time. I felt stuck in a job where I felt undervalued. I felt overworked, underpaid, and constantly micro-managed by an insecure manager.I dreaded going to work. I lived for the weekend. Every Monday I countdown the HOURS till Friday at 5 pm.

Can you relate? Does this sound familiar? It's an awful feeling and not how anyone should live.

We spend more time at work, with colleagues than at any other place, or with any other people, including our family and friends. Shouldn't work be a place we enjoy being at, with people we honestly like?

So what did I do?

I made a small, but effective change that made everything instantly better.

I changed my mindset.

I began to look at my manager in a different light. I saw her as a person, a real human being, who probably also felt micromanaged by her manager, and dreaded coming to work too.

This simple shift in thinking changed everything for me.

I now understood where my manager was coming from, and why she behaved the way she did. I saw how she protected the rest of our team and me from nasty unpleasantness that she didn't want us exposed to.  

When I realized this I no longer felt resentment; I felt gratitude. And instead of making things harder for my manager, I now wanted to make things easier; if it got easier for her, then it would get easier for me.

And it did. Work suddenly became a less stressful place to be. Instead of feeling like I tolerated it, I honestly began to enjoy it, and even looked forward to getting to the office and being with my colleagues.

Did you know that studies show that gratitude can make you 25% happier? 

Expressing gratitude boosts your immunity to anger, disappointment, and frustration. It's even been shown to heal pain and illness in your body. It can improve relationships, especially your relationship with your body.

Amazing things happen when you integrate gratitude into your mindset.

Here's a fun exercise to try. It's called "Early Morning Pages." Have you heard of it?

When you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed and while your brain is still foggy, write in your journal.

(I set my journal next to my bed every night before I go to sleep).

“There’s a time every morning when we are half awake, half
asleep and not quite fully conscious. At those moments, we have
access to our unconscious mind and our inner workings. But like
dew on the morning grass, it will soon be gone without a trace.
Listening to these tender morning wisps allows us to reach into
our inner world, the deeper part of ourselves that helps guide
us on our path of transformation”
— Julia Cameron

I begin this daily exercise by recording my dreams from the night before.

Somedays I don't remember what I dreamt about, but on other days, my dreams are so vivid, and I can easily capture every detail. This practice is a way to begin to connect and reveal our unconscious thoughts and feelings. 

Next, I list 5-10 things that I am grateful for from yesterday.

We tend to focus on things that aren't going well. Like the job I felt stuck in, and the boss that drove me crazy. We quickly forget all the things we are fortunate to have - like the fact that I had a job at all, the skills that I learned at work that made me a more marketable and valued employee, the free lunches (hey it's the little things, right?)

Sometimes I'm grateful for simple things, like the way Coco Pop (my pup) greets me when I come home, or that the checker at Whole Foods who gifted me a drink that I said I'd never tried before (true story).

What You Appreciate, Appreciates. 

This daily practice of appreciation reminds me that whatever I focus on expands. It's changed my mindset from my naturally pessimistic self to having a more positive outlook, because when we focus on gratitude and positivity, we will get more of it in return.

To close out my daily Early Morning Pages exercise, I spend a few minutes doing some consciousness writing. 

I write a page or two on whatever crosses my mind. It's random - nothing is too petty, too bad or too silly to write down. I don't censor my writing because no one will read it. It's amazing what ends up on the pages in my journal. Often, all the angry, ugly stuff that I write would otherwise stand in the way of being my best self. 

By getting it all out early in the morning, I can get all those repressed thoughts out of my system so I can go about my day without carrying that unnecessary extra baggage. I've come to realize that I am not my thoughts. And I can move forward and create the life that I want to live - not one full of resentment and contention, but one that is fun, joyful and fulfilling. 

I can only control myself; I cannot control anyone else. You can only control yourself, not anyone else. 

So be mindful and grateful; it will only help you to improve your health.

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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.