Put These 5 Things on Your Desk and Be Happier, According to Science

happier at work
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Science has found that having certain items on your desk, or even just in your office, can help make you happier at work.

Your surroundings matter more than you might think. This is true whether you work in a traditional setting, a home office, or somewhere in between. Improving your environment could boost your mood and maybe even your focus and creativity, too.

Here are a few things that researchers and scientists have found to be beneficial. Why not add a couple to your desk today?

1. A new lamp

Lighting your office can be tricky. You need to be able to see well, of course. No one wants workers straining their eyes in dim lighting – that can lead to headaches, drowsiness and other issues. However, lights that are too bright can be a real drag. A survey done by the American Society of Interior Designers, and presented by Inc., found that 68 percent of employees were dissatisfied with the lighting situation at their place of business.

If you’re one of these folks, consider investing in a new light source for your personal workspace. Natural light is best. But, assuming you’ve already thrown open the curtains as much as possible, try to reduce glare and shadows through indirect lighting rather than the overhead kind. Folks tried something like this at the U.S. post office in Reno Nevada back in the late 1980s. The results were pretty illuminating, so to speak.

“Productivity began to exponentially rise after the first year of the upgrade,” reported Inc.. “Mail sorters in the Reno post office were declared the most productive sorters in the western half of the country. Within mere months, machine operators had the lowest error rates. The return? This productivity increase was expected to boost revenue by approximately $500,000 per year.”

2. Healthy snacks

Eating right isn’t just good for your body, it’s also good for your mind and your spirit.

You might not need or want to keep a case of healthy snacks right on top of your desk. But, there’s a lot to be said for having them on hand.

You can bring in your regular food each day as usual. But you can supplement that with a few delicious foods that you keep at work, like nuts or dried fruits. This will really boost your mood on those days when you don’t quite have the time to prepare as healthy a lunch as you might like.

3. Pictures

These days, you probably spend a lot more time looking at pictures of your friends and family on social media than you do looking at their photographs in actual frames. But, there’s something to be said for having a few special photographic mementos hanging around your workspace.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the book The Happiness Project, believes in the potential mood-boosting power of photographs. Photos remind you of the people, things and places that you enjoy and love most. And, they allow you to bring a little piece of those things with you to work everyday. Adding some special shots to your workspace could help to make you happier at work.

4. Anything that you love

Try putting something on your desk that is special to you. Maybe you love fancy pens or beautiful pottery. Or, maybe you’re into collecting rocks and minerals or cute little duck figurines. As long as your beloved item is work-appropriate, bring it in and put it on your desk.

Being able to handle your favorite piece of rose quartz when you’re stuck on hold might just help to boost your mood. Your coworkers might also enjoy getting to know you a little bit better through seeing some of the things that make you happy. That could help to strengthen your friendships around the office, which would also support your happiness at work.

5. Plants

Research indicates that having a plant at work is good for you in all kinds of ways. Indoor plants improve productivity and concentration and they also help to reduce stress levels and boost mood.

Placing a plant that you love on your desk could also help you to be more relaxed and calm because science has shown that these positive feelings are enhanced by seeing greenery and nature. Just be sure to choose a plant that’s right for your environment in terms of temperature and sunlight. And, don’t forget to water it. Part of the benefit of having a plant on your desk comes from caring for it and watching it thrive.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you keep any of these things on your desk? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.