Happiness might be a state of mind. But it’s hard won in a cubicle—or any job where you feel unappreciated, spread too thin, and the recipient of 8 trillion more emails than any one human can manage. Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness at Work, has your back. And she wants you to take a deep breath. Then another one. And another one. (Better?)
The meditation teacher and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Center has made a study of “real happiness,” and with her latest book she applies meditation tools and practical Buddhism to your work life and its stressors (even your boss). So you don’t have to leave your job to find peace, it can find you there.
Salzberg talked to a lot of New Yorkers for the book. Here she shared a few (can-you-commiserate?) observations:
Did you encounter a lot of people in stressful jobs when researching this book? My strong desire in writing this book was to be as inclusive as I possibly could, so I talked to firefighters and hedge fund managers and writers and artists and special ed teachers and nurses and so many others. Lots of people talked about the same sources of stress: poor communication with colleagues, never stopping due to technology, feeling disconnected.
Does New York City turn us into stress cases? If I asked about stress, New Yorkers would often begin with, “Of course! I live in New York!”
Obviously you have tools for keeping your cool. But did you get stressed writing the book? Did I get stressed writing the book? Sometimes. I heard lots of stories about people feeling stuck and unappreciated. I wanted to just thank them for whatever it is they did. —Melisse Gelula