10 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude in the Workplace
Having a positive attitude is more than just having a smile on your face, thinking happy thoughts and showing basic signs of happiness.
It is a much more profound feeling that has a physical effect on the body, the same way a negative attitude does.
Various studies have shown that those with a positive attitude have better mental and physical health.
This mindset also leads to a longer life filled with possibilities and endless opportunities. As such, a person with a positive attitude is more likely to:
- Learn new skills
- Experience many different things
- Create meaningful relationships and connections
- Have more success
- Be open to new ways of thinking and doing things
Those with a negative attitude typically suffer from poor physical and mental health and are closed off from all the wonderful things the world has to offer.
In the workplace, your attitude influences:
- Job satisfaction
- How others perceive you
As we spend the majority of our time at work, cultivating a positive attitude can add value to your professional life by:
- Building trust between you and your colleagues/customers/clients
- Highlighting to your managers/employers that you are an ideal candidate for promotion, leading to better benefits and salary
- Encouraging you to seek out and seize new opportunities
- Improving your relationships and connections as your colleagues will want to spend time with you
- Creating a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for everything you have in your life
- Allowing you to see failures and mistakes as learning experiences
- Helping you overcome obstacles
- Indirectly motivating others to adopt the same mindset
- Reducing stress and improving your productivity by 20%
While a positive attitude won't directly make you better at your job, a positive mindset will enable you to learn the new skills you need to do better and encourage others to help and support you.
Of course, adopting a positive attitude is easier said than done, especially when you work in a stressful environment.
Stress is the number one cause of a negative mindset. It also affects your immune system and overall physical and mental health.
There are many ways to develop and improve a positive outlook. This article looks at the top 10 ways to keep a positive mindset.
The idea of being in a routine seems very dull and uninspiring. However, the right routine is quite the opposite.
A good routine should help you feel more alert and awake and allow you to manage yourself better.
Research shows that an effective morning routine is the best way to improve mindset and productivity.
Books such as The 5 AM Club and Morning Miracle describe in detail best practices. But the idea is that waking up a little earlier each morning will give you the time to fully prepare yourself for the day ahead.
Depending on your commute and working hours, your morning routine might look like this:
- Wake up, meditate and write out gratitudes
- Complete some form of exercise
- Sit down for a nutritional breakfast
- Read over the day's to-do list
In the evenings, take an hour or so before bed to:
- Switch off all technology and put your phone on its 'do not disturb' setting
- Prepare the next day's to-do list
- Prepare your clothing and gym/work bag
- Prepare your breakfast or lunch if you prefer to make your own
- Read a book
Both routines take two to four hours out of your day, yet change your attitude and productivity for the better.
In the office, encourage team leaders, managers and employees to create a routine.
For example, if you have daily or weekly meetings, schedule them for the same time each day or week and release the topic a few days before.
This way, you and your colleagues know when and what to be prepared for, thus reducing stress and increasing productivity.
It is no medical secret that taking care of your health makes you feel emotionally and physically better.
When you eat healthy food and exercise, you have more energy, less brain fog and lower stress levels.
Make time for physical activity at least four times a week and swap out unhealthy foods for nutritional ones.
If you create a routine, include a weekly food plan and a trip to the supermarket. Set aside time during the weekend to meal prep, so your healthy food just needs reheating and you aren't tempted to order in.
You also need to ensure you are getting enough sleep. A lack of rest is known to cause depression and increase stress levels.
In the workplace, taking care of your health includes:
- Drinking more water and less caffeinated or fizzy drinks
- Snacking on fruit rather than chocolate or chips. If your company provides snacks, ask them to offer more healthy options.
- Take your lunch break away from your desk and spend some time outside. This is the most beneficial thing you can do for your mindset.
Goal-setting is a great tool for helping you get what you want out of life. Goals give you direction and motivation.
When you reach a goal, you feel a sense of accomplishment and joy, which triggers you to set bigger goals. This, in turn, makes you a more optimistic person.
People who fail to set goals lack focus and find themselves stuck or 'behind.'
The main mood-boosting methods are:
- Listening to something such as a podcast or music
Making a list of all the things you are grateful for may seem like new-age thinking, but this concept has been around for millennia.
Make it a regular practice to focus on what you do have rather than what you don't.
Every day before work, think of three things you like about your job and why you like them. It could be anything from the juice they serve to the chair you have, your working hours or your pay.
After a few days of practicing this, you will find your appreciation for your job will have improved.
To help your mindset, do this for every aspect of your life.
Meditation can be done any time of the day to help calm the mind and body.
If you are often stressed and breathing fast, use deep-breathing meditation to slow your breath.
When you can control your breathing, you can better manage your emotions.
Listening to a podcast, audiobook or music can help lower stress levels and boost your serotonin. Make this a habit during your commute and breaks (if you're alone) to help you detach from your work.
Your mood can change with one simple thought.
Be mindful of what you think of your job, colleagues and life throughout the day.
If you think and tell yourself your work is boring, then yes, it will be. If you think it's hard, then it will be.
It may sound like a cliche, but thinking positive thoughts really does put you in a better mood.
If you think your work is boring, reframe your thought to:
- This task is going to teach me something new
- Once I have completed this task, I'm going to buy myself a really nice lunch
- This job is great for learning and testing new skills
It's a small rephrase, but it will make a big difference.
Not taking responsibility for your actions and playing the victim is a behavioral trait for a negative mindset.
Those with a positive attitude accept and own up to the fact they had a role to play in the situation and begin to resolve it.
Nothing destroys a positive atmosphere more than a colleague playing the victim and passing on the blame. It causes resentment among your colleagues and gives you a bad reputation.
By taking responsibility, you will be in the mindset to learn and grow. Eventually, you will be able to better control the things in your life.
Having this mindset will help you handle things better for those situations out of your control.
Soon your thought process will go from "Why does this always happen to me?” to "Okay, this happened, next time I will ensure that..."
Several versions of the same experiment have been conducted to see the effect that negative words have, compared to positive words.
In the experiment, two test subjects were placed side by side. One was told only negative words and phrases, the other positive. These were not only humans; test subjects also included water, plants and animals.
In the case of the plants, the one that received negative comments died while the one that received positive flourished.
For the water, the shapes and color changed dramatically, with the droplets that received positive affirmations, once frozen, turning into beautiful bright white shapes.
This shows that our thoughts and how we talk to ourselves can dramatically affect our bodies and the world around us.
Make it a habit to catch yourself before saying something negative.
It's important to note that positive words don't have to be super fluffy and upbeat. A simple rephrasing is often enough to change your mindset.
Rather than thinking, “I am so stressed, I have so much to do, I hate my job,” sit for a minute and rephrase it to “Okay, I have a workload, working through this is a challenge that I am fully capable of doing. Which of my tasks are time-sensitive and which are super quick?”
It is the same for how we communicate to our colleagues. Greet them with a smiley "Hello, how are you today?" or compliment them on their outfit or work.
Speak softly and with words rather than grunts and shrugs. Most importantly, don't weigh them down with your negative thoughts.
Your work colleagues may not be the people you would choose to be friends with, but building these relationships will help you stay positive at work.
As well as positively communicating with them, take the time to get to know them:
- Invite them to lunch or after-work drinks.
- If you have a gym onsite, ask if anyone wants to be your exercise buddy.
- Notice how your current work friends act and behave.
If they have a negative mindset, try spending more time with your positive colleagues. Or make a pact between you all to become more positive together.
The most important thing to remember with feedback is that it generally isn't personal. The areas discussed are usually skills your manager wants you to develop to become better at your job.
Before jumping in and being defensive, listen to what they are saying, accept responsibility, and work on correcting that behavior. Even if you disagree with their feedback, look at it objectively and find something you can learn from.
The reality is no one is perfect, and there are always areas to improve. Equally, learning to accept failure is one of your biggest assets.
Those with a negative attitude will experience failure and think that they are terrible at their job, asking themselves what's the point and why do they even bother.
Those with a positive outlook will look at their failure, accept that it happened, figure out why, take that learning point and move on.
The previous tips all contribute to an enjoyable workplace. However, physically creating a workspace you enjoy is guaranteed to improve your mood.
While it isn't always possible to fully control your workspace, there are small adjustments you can make:
- Clear out all the clutter – Go through all your folders, both physical and digital, and clean out anything you don't need
- Organize your folders – Put everything away in a neat and ordered fashion. This ensures you know where everything is and can get to it easily
- Use neutral colors – Too much color and patterns can be distracting and offputting
- Buy nice stationery – Adding some personal touches to your space will help you feel more settled and responsible for your work
Positivity in the workplace is when employees and employers are passionate about their work.
They take professional and personal pride in their company and often promote the products or services.
Employees are excited to come to work, and there is a cohesive working environment. Each employee feels that they can fully express themselves.
They use their positive attitudes to further innovate and improve output.
There is regular feedback, collaboration, recognition and teamwork. There is also mutual respect between all employee levels, backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities.
Examples of a positive attitude are:
- Accepting feedback gracefully
- Accepting responsibility for your actions
- Choosing to say and think positive things
- Developing relationships with your colleagues
- Creating a workspace you take pride in
- Maintaining a healthy standard of life
- Developing a routine
- Seeking to understand yourself better – motivations, triggers and limits
- Learning mood-boosting practices such as meditation and gratitude
- Focusing on what you have rather than what you lack
- Using open body language
- Setting personal and professional goals
- Accepting and learning from failure
There are many ways to maintain a positive attitude at work. The best tips are:
- Have a daily routine
- Take care of your health
- Set goals
- Practice mood-boosting methods
- Pay attention to your thoughts
- Take responsibility
- Use positive communication
- Pay attention to your work relationships
- Learn to take criticism and accept failure
- Create a workspace you enjoy
- Get enough rest and time away from work
- Manage your workload with to-do lists
- Develop a trusting and open relationship with your manager
- Make the effort to smile and be approachable
- Focus on the positive rather than the negative
Negativity bias is the natural willingness to see the worst in a situation and dwell on those situations.
This causes us to:
- Remember the traumatic moments over the positive ones
- Recall all the nasty things someone has said rather than positive ones
- React more strongly to negative triggers and events
- Dwell on a single comment or situation that irritated us
- Stress about potentially bad situations rather than seeing a positive solution
- See the worst in people
Working with a negative colleague can make the workplace a difficult place to be. If you have someone who is constantly being negative:
- Identify and highlight the positives in their comments
- Focus your time and energy on yourself
- Set clear boundaries
- Distance yourself from them
- Suggest helpful resources and tips to help them think more positively
- Cultivate your own positive mindset
- Speak to managers and seniors if you feel it is necessary
- Try to find a compromise during group projects
To promote positivity in the workplace:
- Express gratitude for your colleagues, the work, learning experiences and anything else that happens in the workplace
- Use positive reinforcement and messages to build trust between your colleagues
- Remember to say 'thank you'
- Appreciate all the wins, big and small, personal and professional
- Smile. It tricks your brain into thinking you are happy and encourages others to do the same
- Develop workplace relationships through social events and regular check-ins
- Understand the workplace mission and encourage everyone to work together to achieve it
Developing and maintaining a positive mindset is manageable, but it takes discipline and dedication.
Negativity bias says it is human nature to think the worst, so having a positive outlook means fighting against what comes naturally.
However, once these practices become part of your daily routine, and you can do them without thinking, negative attitudes will have little effect on you.
When working on your mindset, remember to focus on its long-term benefits to your personal and professional life.