Happiness at work and the rule of the 3 Mercikes*

*“Merci” (French for “thank you”) is a brand of chocolate candy. Merci is manufactured as bars of different kinds of chocolate with different fillings, such as plain milk chocolate, coffee and cream, hazelnut-almond etc. “Mercikes” (“little Merci’s”) is the Flemish plural and diminutive of “Merci”.

“Gratitude is a flower that blooms in noble souls”. A truism. And yet why is it that we always tend to talk about what goes wrong, and let what goes well pass by in silence? Thanks are seldom expressed. And that’s a pity because happiness at work and gratitude go hand in hand. You can easily boost your happiness at work thanks to the rule of “the 3 Mercikes”.

Hazelnut-almond: grant yourself at least three acknowledgements a day

New habits take some time to become part of your routine, but once they have settled, they become a matter of course. Under the motto “you reap what you sow”, it is a very commendable initiative to utter the words “thank you” at least three times a day. Warmly. Sincerely. Wholeheartedly. The great thing is that you will also get many more thanks in return! That way we feed a very positive engine that brings a whole fleet of work happiness in its wake. Terrific, no?

Coffee and cream: grant yourself at least three moments of gratitude a day

Often, we are very strict with ourselves. Permeated by brainwashing figments of our imagination, such as “what will people think”, “just act normally, that’s weird enough as it is” and “a person has to work to earn a living”, we skilfully cut all the fun out of our lives to grow into an earnest personwho knows what he is doing … Stop! Fun is the sparkle that lights the candle and brings light and air into your life! When you dive into your bed at night and can reflect on a day that has brought you at least three moments of happiness and gratitude, then that was a successful day. A day to remember and to savour. And if you are being really honest with yourself: how many of these days do you actually come across in your average working week?

Dark mousse: grant yourself at least three delicious flavours a day

Today, there just seems to be such a distance between what we physically experience and what we are processing mentally in the meantime. Sound familiar? So many stimuli, so many distractions, such a challenge to align body and mind in the here and now … A golden tip to let you enjoy every moment with greater intensity: focus more on your senses! This way, you bring your mind to the place where your body is, and you will experience exactly how wholesome real presence can be. This experience was very natural prior to the digital revolution, but today, it has become quite a challenge. And that is precisely why we must dare to learn to reconnect with ourselves, our bodies and our senses. Your sense of taste is a powerful tool to do just that! How often do you nibble at something unconsciously while you are plucking away at your computer keyboard? What did you eat? Uhm … How did it taste? Good question! Did you enjoy it, and do you feel satisfied now? Such difficult questions! High time to make a small change! By granting yourself at least three tasty moments a day, you will spontaneously (re)connect with your body. Now isn’t that just what we set out to do?


As Chief Happiness, the rule of the 3 Mercikes is a very welcome tool: gratitude drives happiness at work, and I am happy and grateful to make use of it! Are you a manager, HR professional, prevention advisor, CHO, CEO or simply a great colleague? Start spreading around your sincere gratitude and you will be amazed by what happens next: happiness at work will naturally seep through in your team and corporate culture. And that gratitude does not always have to be tangible, mind you, although a tasty present now and then does work miracles!

The inspiration for this blog was no coincidence: a wonderful teammate of mine sent me a box of Mercikes. I thought I had done nothing special to deserve them, but my teammate thought otherwise. I received this fantastic gift just when I was sitting down with 3 of my VIPs. Should there be a fourth rule of Mercikes, then it would undoubtedly read: enjoy the wonderful moments with your VIPs and cherish every minute together. Because there is so much more to life than just work!