Simple Ways to Keep a Positive Attitude at Work

You might be surprised at how powerful a positive attitude can be in the workplace. Studies have shown that positive employees are more productive, more energetic, and less likely to need sick time than their unhappy counterparts. A positive outlook on life helps with stress management, makes you a better collaborator, and enables you to build a strong support circle in the workplace.

Simple Ways to Keep a Positive Attitude at Work

How to do it

It’s one thing to say that a positive attitude is beneficial. It’s quite another actually to keep one every day. Frustrating customers, annoying coworkers, and minor challenges can add up and leave you feeling exhausted and crappy. While it’s very normal to feel these things, it can be helpful to empower yourself to shift out of it.

Here are a few simple ways to help you keep a positive attitude at work whenever you feel those emotions bubbling up.

1. Take a step back

We’ve all been there. An email lands in your inbox that leaves you seeing red. You’re tempted to respond and let your coworker, client or boss understand how wrong they are. And it would be filled with phrases like “per my last email” and “as we discussed earlier” 🙂 While this email might be satisfying, it can be detrimental to your career. You could lose a client or develop a reputation for being hot-headed and unapproachable.

Give yourself a 30-minute cooling-off period before responding. The American Psychological Association suggests taking deep breaths or repeating a calming phrase to help you release the anger and come back to a level-headed, more positive space.

2. Practice small acts of kindness

Your acts of kindness aren’t entirely altruistic. A meta-analysis of more than 200 previous studies involving a total of almost 200,000 participants found that positive actions and acts of kindness make people feel good. When you hold an elevator door open, for example, you feel better about yourself. You enjoy a small dopamine hit, which is the happy chemical of the brain. Essentially, the more you help others the better you feel.

Use this simple practice to maintain a positive attitude at work. Consider how even small acts of kindness can bring that sense of fulfillment and happiness. Start a fresh pot of coffee or hold the door open for a co-worker. Bonus: when you role model this type of behavior, you encourage others to do the same. In turn, this leads to a positive domino effect company-wide.

3. Focus on your own intrinsic motivation

There are two types of motivation in the workplace: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic refers to external goals and rewards set by your manager. These are your daily quotas, your bonus requirements, and the catered lunch for finishing a team project.

Intrinsic motivation is internal—it’s what makes you act each day. Intrinsic motivation includes self-satisfaction with a job well done or the motivation to take on a new project in order to build your skill set.

This intrinsic motivation is powerful. A meta-analysis of 124 studies found that intrinsic motivation drives the most positive outcomes. It’s what makes you work hard and creates the highest levels of happiness. If you motivate yourself, you’re more likely to keep a positive attitude than if you’re constantly waiting for someone to praise you.

4. Focus on what you can control

Depending on the nature of your work, there are likely some things that are in your control, but countless factors are actually outside of your control. Will a contractor complete their work on time and with the quality you need? Will you get your budget approved for a large project? It’s easy to become anxious, stressed, and negative when you focus on things that are out of your range.

To shift away from that anxiety, focus on what you can control while developing backup plans for what you cannot. For example, if your full budget isn’t approved, what can you do with the funds that you have? By focusing on what you can take action on, you can be more solutions-minded and positive.

Create your own happiness

Anxiety, frustration or unhappiness are always going to be there—to be human is to feel the full spectrum of emotions. But these emotions don’t need to rule your life or your workday.

Instead, use these strategies to shift back into a positive mindset. You can’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you react to it.

Post A Reply