Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Associate Attorneys No Longer Unhappiest

Last year, associate attorneys topped the Forbes list for the unhappiest workers in America. Things must be looking up because this year associate attorneys didn't even make the list.

The Findlaw blog reported on the list and said that "[l]ast year, associates topped the list; this year, they're not on it at all. Security guards now have that honor, which makes a lot more sense. Bank managers, accountants, customer service reps, store managers, sales execs, tech support reps, marketing managers, sales managers (again?), and machine operators completed the field."

Findlaw also offered a few ways to perk yourself up if you are feeling unhappy:

1. Smile!

When we're happy, we smile. It's unconscious, which shows how tightly the brain and the facial muscles are connected. Well, that connection works both ways. Just smile and see how it brightens your mood. It can work. Seriously, it's science.

2. Exercise.

Science to the rescue once again. Exercise raises the level of phenylethylamine, a mood-elevating chemical in the brain. Try walking or running for 30 minutes. Sound awful? Just commit to doing one minute. There's no excuse not to do one minute, and it'll start you on the path to forming a healthy habit.

3. Get Out in the Sun.

Humans weren't meant to be kept indoors in dim light all the time. No wonder so many people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Even if you don't have SAD, getting outside can boost Vitamin D production and improve your health and mood in other ways.

4. Change Your Internal Dialog.

We humans have a constant stream of words going through our heads and sometimes our inner voice is a downer. Pay attention and challenge the things it says when they don't make sense. Don't catastrophize. I hate my job can often be downgraded to today sucks. I'm fat can be changed to I'm a little heavier than I'd like to be, maybe I'll go for a walk in the sun. As Shakespeare said, there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Consider writing down a script of good things to think and look at it when your inner voice gets out of control.

It looks like associate attorneys have gained some perspective within the last year. Maybe they've started smiling while exercising in the sun.

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