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ELKINS PARK, PA — It’s Sunday night and your stomach is rumbling, you’re brain is racing, and you can’t stop thinking about Barbara at the cubicle next to yours incessant tapping of her pen on her desk. Why do so many American feel so anxious before heading back to work Monday morning? Some people call these nauseating, weekly emotions the “Sunday scaries,” as you’re really just dreading the unavoidable work week coming at you like a freight train.

So what can a person do to be happier at work?

Well, Dr. Annie McKee, author of How to Be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope, and Friendship, and Senior Fellow at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, says she has the answer.  Mckee also teaches leadership and emotional intelligence in Penn GSE’s Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.

McKee says the first way to be happy at work is by accepting that you have the right to be happy at work. “The next thing that you can do is to look for ways to tie what you’re doing today to a personal vision of the future,” says McKee.

Easy to say, harder to do. Dr. McKee’s life wasn’t always easy, nor happy.

Sure, she’s authored four books, runs an executive doctoral program for CEO’s through the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and owns a beautiful home in Elkins Park, but before all that, there was a time when Dr. McKee was cleaning houses to feed her young children.

“I cooked, I cleaned, I sewed…I did all sorts of things. Before long we found ourselves on section 8, food stamps, welfare, the whole lot…and I had never done that before.”

She says there was a time when she was truly unhappy.

“I don’t want to paint a picture that I was miserable the entire time we were poor and on welfare because I wasn’t. I found ways to be fulfilled in whatever work i was doing.”

McKee says having a great attitude and focusing on the positive things in your life, and at work, instead of dwelling on the negatives, you’re more likely to overcome those tough times.

“If you find yourself not happy at work, what you don’t want to do is blame others. You may have a boss who is not the best, conditions at work may be tough, and all of that is very real. But if you want to be happy at work, it starts with you. It starts with the mindset that you have. It started taking action and finding purpose to understand where you are going in life and to build good relationships.”

For more tips on being happy at work, click here!