Keeping a positive attitude could be one of your biggest assets in the workplace, especially when you have difficult or indifferent superiors, coworkers, or subordinates. A positive attitude can help you preserve your bearing and sanity.
So here are 20 actionable & straightforward ways of staying positive at work and doing better for yourself as well as the company!
#1 Choose Positivity Over Negativity
The first and most obvious step is to choose positivity over negativity. It begins in and with the mind.
In Walter D. Wintle’s famous poem, he said, “Out in the world we find, / Success begins with a fellow’s will / It’s all in the state of mind.” You must decide that a positive attitude is more favorable than keeping a negative mindset.
Making this choice is both easy and hard, depending on your natural disposition. However, outlooks change. So, you must first be willing to make the change from being generally pessimistic about work and colleagues to being generally optimistic about them. It begins with you, not them.
When most people rummage the Internet on how to have a positive attitude at work, they miss this important point about where the transformation truly begins. This is not altogether surprising, considering how the human mind works. However, knowing this truth is the foundation for lasting change.
#2 Be Nice to Your Coworkers
We all have bad days. There are days when you don’t want to leave the comfort of your room, let alone get into the harrowing maze that is your workplace. However, there are also good days—days when walking this maze is a fabulous adventure.
Every employer and employee walks this path. This is one reason to be nice to others. Take the pains of easing someone else’s troubles. Mark Twain said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” So, be nice to others and to yourself.
#3 Fill Your Mind with Positive Thoughts
The human mind is a powerful tool. Legendary life coach, Tony Robbins said:
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.”
You can interpret this to mean that focus is power, and this is where the mind is king.
Filling your mind with positive things is the easiest way to maintain a positive mindset. You are (or become) what you feed your mind. So, feed your mind nothing but positive things.
Music is a hallowed haven. Strings have a way of easing the knots in the mind. So, get headphones and listen to positive music. Even recordings of Chinese melodies can do much for your mind. It can keep your thoughts light, gregarious, and responsive.
If music is not your thing, read. Make a habit of reading motivational books, snippets, or even quotes. Whatever you choose, make sure it improves your mood at that moment and loosens you up.
#4 Surround Yourself with Positive People
Having filled your mind with positive things, you need to do the same outside. In work environments, that means ensuring the words and actions of the people around you do not counter what is within.
You only need to be watchful and selective. Some people are naturally moody in the workplace, but others are not. Observe their personalities and choose who you will spend time with.
Positive people bring positive energy. Working alongside such people makes it easier to maintain positivity.
#5 Be Responsible
Motivation doesn’t come naturally to most employees. Workers get tired and they find it so easy to push tasks aside. Everyone wants a spark of anticipation from time to time. One way to get this spark is to assume responsibility for assigned tasks.
When you take charge of workplace tasks and duties, you carve out a place for yourself. Do it without thinking about how it will impress your superiors and coworkers. Over time, you will grow more confident and more ‘at home’.
Besides taking the initiative, staying positive at work also means responding to events with a self-possessed attitude. You may not be able to control everything that happens around you, but you can manage how you respond to them.
So, take charge of your emotions and be responsible for them. This makes it even easier to take on workplace assignments and challenges.
If you work in customer care or service, this is a must. The easiest way to respond or react in difficult moments is to lash out. However, this is counterproductive, further dampening your mood. So, practice deep breaths alone in your cubicle or even before your difficult bosses, coworkers, or customers.
Remember how we said that workplaces are like mazes? Well, how do you survive a maze? Any central character from a movie will tell you that you have to breathe first and foremost. Take deep and long breaths at regular intervals and let anxiety drift away from you.
One of the reasons why meditation has become indispensable in the corporate wellness industry is that it is so easy to do and yet so effective. A simple breathing routine of three sessions at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm every workday could help clear your mind and reset your positive mode.
#7 Go out More
Happy people are often outgoing people. It’s safe to say that the reverse is also true—outgoing people are often happy. So, if you are interested in knowing how to be positive at work, spend some of your weekends outside your house or workplace.
The world is big. It is a beautiful and exciting place. So, visit parks and rivers. According to a London School of Hygiene study, spending at least two hours a week in nature can improve a person’s health and wellbeing. As we know, positivity starts from within.
Take an interest in the lives of people outside your block and office cubicle, even if this is only for a few minutes. Often, a heartfelt smile can come from seeing other people sing, dance, or play.
You will come to find that a positive attitude can be built from experiencing life from the perspective of others. You don’t need a Freaky Friday experience. You just have to be more outgoing.
#8 Set Goals for Yourself and Plan Your Day
Life coaches will tell you that daily plans are the ingredients for meaningful days. Besides showing you what to keep and avoid, setting personal goals helps you cultivate a forward-thinking attitude. Such an attitude is necessary for staying positive at work.
The fact is that you will not be able to maintain a positive mindset about life and work without short-term and long-term goals. These serve as evidence that life is not a turbulent ocean and the future is not an uncertain destination.
Knowing these, therefore, improves your mentality and helps you easily circumvent negative events at your place of work.
#9 Be Accountable
Just having personal and professional goals isn’t enough to keep the positive juices flowing at work. You need to throw accountability into the equation. Fulfilling your assigned role as part of a team will lead to productive outcomes. Demonstrable competence will make your bosses and coworkers see you in a positive light.
A time tracking software will clearly show what you have done and when you did it. When you have evidence of your work, it can be acknowledged by those who matter in the workplace. The ensuing back pats and thumbs up will make you very happy indeed.
#10 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
More often than not, the things that keep you stressed, distracted, and depressed at your workplace are trivial. These include things you could have said to a relative at home before coming to work, things you did say but wish you had not, and personal goals that seem unreachable. Put in proper perspective, these are little things.
We do not mean that they are not important things, only that they are things that are easily taken care of. You don’t see this because you are too worried, and that is why you find it so difficult to maintain a positive attitude at work.
If you are worried about seemingly unreachable goals, make new ones that you can achieve. If it is about your relationship with other people, find ways to improve it. Do not make your mind into a bazaar for your doubt and distress.
Think of solutions, not problems.
#11 Be Professional
We often hear the line, “It’s not you—it’s me,” in movies. Sometimes, the problem really is you. You are overreaching. As much as your coworkers could be motivated by your dependably sunny attitude, there is a limit. So, be professional in your conduct.
When you fail to be professional, you offend your coworkers. They, in return, complain about you. It is difficult to stay positive in view of an unfriendly work environment. So, maintain a professional attitude and desist from taking things too personally.
#12 Avoid Gossip
Gossip in the workplace is a constant. A 2015 study published in The International Journal of Human Resource Management showed that gossip brings about cynicism in the workplace. Even in cases where gossip is not work-related, employees tend to become more suspicious and distrusting of one another.
Needless to say, harmony among workers is vital to your mental health. The importance of keeping a warm relationship with your colleagues cannot be overstated. Gossip ruins every chance of maintaining this warmth in the workplace.
Staying positive in a harsh and hostile work environment is next to impossible. So, bearing in mind your mental health and the prospect of maintaining a positive attitude, stay away from gossip.
#13 Take a Careful Interest in Everything
As opposed to gossiping, taking an interest in everything in your workplace can help you remain positive. Ignorance often incites disinterest and boredom, and these often result in negativity.
Knowledge is power. What you know can keep or kill you; build or break you; and inspire or irritate you. To be positive in the workplace requires you to take stock of the things you should learn.
Learn how the office printer works. Pay attention to the tools and computer apps that your colleagues use. These things will not only boost your knowledge and value but also give you an avenue to connect to your coworkers, employers, or employees.
#14 Keep Smiling
Smiling is the best outward evidence of a positive disposition. You are unlikely to ever detect positivity in a work environment where employers and employees are perpetually scowling, frowning, or throwing glares around. Positive people smile.
This is really easy to do. The hard part is zooming in on something to smile about. This is where everything we have highlighted up to this point comes in.
A positive attitude starts in your mind and ends in your actions. Smiling is one of them.
#15 Visualize the Best Things
Besides meditation, visualization is another suggestion that has become popular with the rise of corporate wellness. Thanks to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and John C. Maxwell, the benefits of visualization are now well-known.
Visualization helps you establish hopeful prospects in your mind. Moreover, this is one way to get positive things into your mental space.
Make it a daily habit to see positive eventualities in your mind’s eye. Imagine doing your best work. Imagine earning the praise of your superior and the admiration of your coworkers. These will boost your confidence and shape your mindset to expect the best out of every situation.
#16 Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Besides visualizing future events, learn to talk to yourself.
Some public speakers, actors, and government officials are known to motivate themselves before performing tasks. They look into the mirror and encourage themselves.
A Clarkson University study suggests that self-affirmation can reduce the stress, anxiety, and defensiveness caused by our internal fears. By giving yourself regular pep talks, you’re opening yourself to the idea that there’s room for improvement. Having a growth mindset will keep you positive despite the challenges in the workplace.
Self-motivation like this keeps you positive anywhere and anytime. It is a simple step that some people overlook when they think of how to be positive at work.
#17 Take Breaks
Taking regular breaks is healthy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no rest make him dead. So, rest.
As meaningful and enjoyable as your work may be, you must make conscious efforts to engage yourself with other things. It can be weekend shows, sports, sleep, or just plain old relaxation.
Due to the value of rest to workplace productivity and organizational health, most establishments have special days. On these days, such as Take Your Children to Work Day, the workload is deliberately trimmed down. Workers get to rest a bit and shed a little of their corporate skin for something less impersonal.
Taking breaks from work like this directly boosts your positivity gauge.
#18 Be Diplomatic but Firm
Workplace hassle tends to grind down even people with an innate optimistic disposition. This is especially so for people who cannot say no to coworkers. Such individuals end up taking on multiple tasks, and sometimes even neglect their own.
As friendly as you need to be, there is a limit. If you must cultivate a positive attitude to work, you have to be resolute and firm. Be diplomatic so that you don’t obliterate your workplace relationships altogether. However, do not become so flexible that you turn into a rubbish bin for others.
Remember, a positive attitude in the workplace buoys your confidence and vice versa. Timidity will eventually work to your disadvantage.
#19 Keep a Happy Journal
Keeping a journal is a very helpful decision for maintaining a positive attitude at work. A routine like this can boost your confidence and make you focused, productive and optimistic.
Researchers from Wright State University School of Medicine say that everyday things can make you more appreciative and grateful. The benefits of gratitude realized this way are far-reaching. They touch on your health, work, and relationships.
#20 Do More
Your boss will appreciate you at the workplace when you go the extra mile. This is a simple logic that most people understand, but few take advantage of.
Employers are only human. So, they are easily impressed with extra work. In return, they dole out compliments, extra pay, and recommendations. These things are noted incentives that motivate your coworkers and uplift your attitude to work.
6 Benefits of Staying Positive at Work
#1 A positive attitude increases your productivity
For every task and project, failure is a possibility. A positive attitude helps you bridge this possibility. So, because you have considered the risks, you can easily overcome them and be more productive.
#2 Positivity nullifies stress
Stress is another constant in the workplace. It breeds lethargy and pessimism. However, a positive attitude is the nemesis of stress. Stress might not go away because you are positive. However, it will lose its bite.
#3 Keeping a positive outlook eliminates distractions
A positive attitude saves you from paying too much attention to unnecessary things. You might have tasks that are tedious and monotonous, causing inattentiveness. However, a constant positive mentality keeps you on track, no matter how boring your tasks get.
#4 It motivates you and your coworkers
Self-motivation is one of the biggest pros of positivity in the workplace. Rather than floating with the tides, it gives you an edge over your coworkers. You become the spark in the office, inspiring others to do meaningful work.
#5 It prepares you for leadership roles
Staying positive in this context is beyond keeping your cool. It shows that you have a resolute mind and can bear even the weight of the sky. This kind of firmness is in the makeup of the best leaders.
#6 It is good for your health
Positivity is generally good for your physical and mental health. An extensive 2017 report titled “Optimism and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study” found that keeping a positive attitude can save you from stroke, heart diseases, and other serious illnesses. The study also says that it increases your chances of a long life.
While everybody wants to know how to stay positive at work, only a small number realize that they have to work for it. A good attitude at work does not appear out of the blue. Thankfully, it is easy to build and maintain. As long as you pay attention to the ways outlined in this article and make them into a routine, you will be fine.