Your job is a huge part of your life. If you’re not happy with your job, it’s tough to really be happy with your life. Dramatic, maybe, but true! I don’t want to dwell on that though, the point of this post is to suggest ways that you can be happier with your job without leaving for another job.

There are so many factors that we can’t control when it comes to our work. Focusing on those makes us feel small, insignificant and helpless. Not a fun way to feel, so we’re going to focus on the elements of your job that you can control in order to make it better.

1. Change your Habits

In our last post, we talked about habits that can increase your work productivity. Many of those same habits can also improve your mood.

Set goals that guide your progress and improvement, even if they’re not required

As humans, we want to be growing and progressing constantly. If you’re in a role that doesn’t have metrics or goals that you’re measured on, you’re likely to feel stuck. Set goals for yourself so that you have something to work toward. Even if the work is mundane, motivating yourself with goals may give you more purpose.

Utilize any break time that you get to refresh your mind; if you don’t have set breaks, build them into your day

Really BREAK out of your working mode when it’s time for a break. Let your brain shift to something completely different, then return to your workday refreshed. Without breaks throughout the day, we get discouraged, stuck and grumpy much more easily.

Eat better and drink more water so that your body is happier

Your body is an amazing machine, and it’s crazy how intertwined everything is. You may not think that your energy drinks or junk food affect your mood, but nutritionists would disagree! Eating healthier snacks and drinking more water helps to detoxify your body, and keeps your brain hydrated so that it can perform efficiently.

Write more! Write a to-do list, write down your daily accomplishments, write your questions or frustrations

Writing things down will help you to accomplish more throughout the day just by not having to remember what it was you were trying to remember. Writing down what you get done also helps you to see those accomplishments so that you’re more encouraged. Even if you don’t end up getting any recognition, you can see exactly what you’ve contributed and feel good about it.

2. Work on Relationships

This one is pretty simple and requires one main action: Talk to people at work! Working on these relationships will contribute to your level of engagement with your job. The more engaged you are, the happier you’ll generally be.

Never eat lunch alone

Everyone has to eat, right? Lunch time is the best opportunity to get to know the people you work with/near. It will bring a human element into your job even if you only ever stare at your computer. If you have nothing in common other than a love for good sandwiches, eat together anyway! You never know what you’ll have in common once you start talking.

Work out any rocky relationships with coworkers

Workplace drama is the worst. If you’ve somehow gotten on bad terms with someone and it makes things awkward, clear it up. ASAP. It’s uncomfortable for other people, it decreases productivity, and it’s pretty immature. You don’t have to be best friends, but you need to do your very best to put conflicts behind you.

Ask people about their jobs and what their department needs help with

Having friends at work creates opportunities. Caring about someone on a personal level can motivate you to come up with creative solutions to business-related problems. Those solutions could open new doors for you in your career, or help you to realize what you really want to do and what you’re good at.

3. Alter your Attitude

This can be a tough pill to swallow, but we all need a little attitude adjustment from time to time. Instead of focusing on all the ways your job rubs you the wrong way, take a look at these tips on improving your attitude and outlook.

Map your current job to your ideal job

Take a good hard look at what you do at your job and compare that to what you want to do long-term. Figure out what skills you use now and think about how you need to develop those skills to be useful later on. Even at the most entry-level jobs, mapping your skills to your dream job can give you a much greater sense of purpose and a better attitude about where you’re at.

Get really good at the things you don’t like to do

If there’s something you hate about your job, grit your teeth and get it done. The more efficient you can get at it, the more time you can spend on what you like to do. If you neglect responsibilities because you don’t like them, it will reflect poorly on your performance and could get you in trouble. If you instead work at improving processes and efficiency, there’s a greater chance you’ll be given the opportunity to do that at a higher level.

Think about the big picture within your company

Where do you fit in? What do you do that makes the company run more smoothly? Who do you help? Why did they hire you? Answering these questions can really put some pep in your step. When you shift your view from the tasks you do to the bigger picture of how you make your company work better, you should get a boost in that sense of fulfillment we all long for.

Pinpoint what exactly makes you unhappy about your job and come up with a game plan

Don’t allow yourself to pout and whine. Think about what the source of your dissatisfaction is. Is your boss rude to you? Is your computer really slow? Are you not utilizing your skills? Is a coworker sabotaging or bullying you? Evaluate that and come up with a plan of action. Some things will require you get HR or management involved. Some things just require you employ some of the tips above. The important thing is that you DO SOMETHING about it.