Pretty Happy at Work: Healthy Ways to Love What You Do, Inspired by Kate Hudson - Glassdoor for Employers
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Pretty Happy at Work: Healthy Ways to Love What You Do, Inspired by Kate Hudson

To watch Kate Hudson speak, laugh or act—or even just sit still—is to witness what feels like effortless authenticity; it all just looks so natural. But even though comfort in front of an audience is in her DNA, her secret is far more than just genetic predisposition. She’s thought hard about this stuff. In fact, she’s fought for it.   

In her latest book, Pretty Happy, Hudson shares her secrets for leading a healthy, vibrant and happy life. We read it recently and couldn’t help but notice that her Four Pillars of Health and thoughts on finding motivation can be applied to work life too. We’ve summarised her simple and sane approach, and extrapolated thoughts on how you can become pretty happy at work. Read her book. Do it for yourself. Share it with your colleagues. Everyone deserves this!

Pillar One: Cultivate Intuition (and Avoid Negative Thinking)

Turn around negative thinking across the board! Just like any muscle, your brain needs to be trained to turn negative talk into something that doesn’t hurt us—and might actually help us! This is especially important in the office where there are many opportunities for negativity if you allow it to creep in.

Quick tips for fighting negativity in the workplace:

  • Steer clear of personalising. Don’t automatically blame yourself, or assume others are blaming you, when bad things happen.
  • Leave mind-reading to the fortune-tellers. We can’t read our colleagues’ thoughts, and trying to do so drains precious energy. Focus instead on healthy communication.
  • Avoid catastrophising. To be good at your job, it’s important to consider many possible outcomes that could stem from your actions—or even mistakes—but don’t let those considerations turn you into an alarmist.
  • Sidestep “should” thinking. Going around with preconceived notions about what people should say or do is a trap that leads nowhere. Stay focused on making the right decisions for yourself to avoid trying to control how other people think and act.
  • Don’t get stuck in an approval-seeking vortex. Excessive need for approval is unhealthy and unrewarding. Instead, make a point to do your job, do it well and find satisfaction within.

Pillar Two: Eat Well

Many people turn to diet and exercise to improve their personal lives—to look better, feel better and have more energy. We often focus on how to stick with healthy food choices at work when we’re away from our “real” life, but the truth is, smart eating is great for your career too. Eating well facilitates clarity of thought, which helps you excel at your job. And, hey, the confidence you gain by looking and feeling great can help you lift your work game as much as it can elevate any other aspect of your life.

Quick tips for eating well in the workplace:

  • Avoid doughnuts. When junkfood appears in meetings, have a big glass of water and a piece of fruit or some veggies instead.
  • Practice moderation. If you do give in to the doughnuts, keep it to one loop of fried sugar dough, not two. This was Goldie Hawn’s first piece of advice for Kate on making good food choices.  
  • Plan ahead. Even when you’re working from home or on the road, stick to regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks.

Pillar Three: Awaken Your Body

It really comes down to one imperative: move! Whether you have an activity tracker to nag you or not, it’s critical to keep your blood moving. By now, everyone has seen statistics on how bad being sedentary is for your health—and how important it is to get your heart rate up regularly for workplace productivity.

Quick tips for keeping your body moving and your mind engaged in the workplace:

  • Go outside. Being in nature can reduce stress and promote calm—both of which are great for handling the frenetic atmosphere at many offices. Take a quick walk outside at least once a day to add a little cardio to the mix.
  • Stand up. We could cite studies and statistics, but it really comes down to taking a break from sitting.
  • Take the stairs. Hudson spends some time explaining how to get in touch with your body to figure out the type of exercise that’s best for you, but it’s safe to say that she’d recommend taking the stairs no matter your dosha.

Pillar Four: Be Mindful

Meditation and mindfulness practices have been shown to relieve stress, and you don’t have to commit to an hour at the local Buddhist temple to make it happen. In her book, Hudson explains that mindfulness comes down to doing four simple things (and we’ve added how to make this happen at work). You can use tools like HeadSpace to get you started, or you can set a reminder on your phone or calendar to go off once an hour. Here’s what to do:

  • Connect with your breath in a conscious way at work by taking a solid 60 seconds every hour to close your eyes and breathe.
  • Become aware of your thoughts and feelings while you’re doing your one-minute conscious breathing exercise.  
  • Actively observe your thoughts and feelings. Are you stressed about a deadline? Unnerved by a recent exchange?
  • Let go of these thoughts and feelings by letting your mind wander. This is your job, so you do have to come back to them once you give your mind a rest, but it’s likely that you’ll find that the urgency and anxiety has dissipated once your bring your attention back to the work at hand.

Those are Hudson’s Four Pillars of Health as we believe they apply to work. And guess what—they work! But getting motivated and staying motivated are two different things. Here’s the advice we pulled from her book on keeping a good thing going, with added tips for making it happen in the office.

Motivation Mantra

  • Set realistic goals. Start small! Instead of attempting to do a 90-minute boot camp every morning before work, commit to walking for 15 minutes after lunch.
  • Remind yourself of your goals. Put a Post-it note on your computer, or set reminders to pop up and remind you daily to stay on track.
  • Create a circle of love. Include a trusted colleague in your efforts to keep your mind and body healthy at work. Ask for their support, and turn to them to help you stay accountable. They might even join you!
  • Acknowledge your progress. When you meet a goal, remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished—and give yourself permission to feel proud!
  • Don’t dwell on setbacks. This one is exactly as it appears in the book: “Chill. Forgive yourself…. Make it easy, not an all-or-nothing fight with yourself.”  

We think the inspiration in Pretty Happy will make you and your team members pretty happy at work! Read the book for yourself, and follow Kate Hudson’s Four Pillars to take an active role in steering your life in the direction of your dreams.