The Daily Grind

8 ways to maintain a positive attitude at work

The mystery that is maintaining a positive attitude at work

Some say that you are born with it.  Others say that it depends on your environment.  Perhaps you can learn it?  However it comes about, a positive attitude at work could be the key to your next opportunity.  But how do we decode the mystery that is maintaining a positive attitude at work?

There have been studies (of course there have been) around the benefits of having a positive attitude at work. They include (but are not limited to):

  • Less stress
  • A happier work environment (and happier colleagues)
  • Feeling more in control

Read here for a great article from life hacker on maintaining your positive attitude.

Here are 8 ideas that might just help you to maintain a positive attitude at work

Planning to maintain a positive attitude

  1. Choose & plan your responses

This is not the easiest one to start off with, but might be the most powerful.  You can choose to respond to things in a particular way.  In fact, you can plan to do it.  If you know that you have to have a meeting with a colleague who is always complaining, plan your response.  If they start by complaining about how much work they have on, counter that with a thought about how good it is to stay busy.  Fight to maintain a positive attitude at work and don’t be suckered in to the negativity.

  1. Play the long game

It is really easy to get mired in the negative when you let the little things get to you.  Instead, play the long game.  Ask yourself if this will matter in a week, or a month, or six months.  If the answer is no then spending any real energy on it is a waste of time.  It is easier to maintain positivity when we think about how much today’s annoyance will actually matter in the long run.  I have talked about playing the long game in my post on planning for your career not your job, you can read that post here.

Be conscious to maintain a positive attitude

  1. Be conscious how you communicate

This is for you, not for others.  If you tell yourself how sucky things are, then you will start to believe it.  Likewise, if you indulge in negative talk then it is more likely to make you feel down.  Be conscious and actively shut down the negative talk.  If work is a bit crappy today, you are probably not on your own in thinking so.  Make an effort in this circumstance to find something nice to say or to put a good spin on it.

If you are having a terrible day at work, then the light at the end of the tunnel is that it will finish.  The other part to it is that you never have to have that particular day again, isn’t that great!

  1. Remember why you are there

This is aligned to playing the long game, but with a slightly different spin.  Why do you have the job you have?  Is it to pay the bills, a stepping stone or is it because you love the industry?  Do you work to support your family, buy your dog toys or indulge in World of Warcraft?  Whatever the reason, the greater purpose for your working should not be lost.  Make a point of reminding yourself why you are at work, and the good things that it allows you to do with your life.

This point can help you get past a bout of the work blues, and assist you to maintain a positive attitude.

Seek out activities and people to help you to maintain a positive attitude

  1. Find people who are positive

It goes without saying that if you hang around with sad-sacks you probably won’t be getting great vibes.  I recently had the opportunity to talk to a couple of parents of children who had recovered of traumatic brain injury.  One of the parents told me that they were fierce about only allowing those who were positive near their child.  Literally, they would stand at the hospital door and tell visitors that they were to check any negativity.

Visitors were given instruction to only to be positive, and if they found themselves thinking doubtful thoughts then they should leave the room.  This parent fundamentally believed in the power of positive thought.  So do I.

Seek out folks who have a positive view of life.  Be ferocious in finding positive people as an antidote for any negative vibes.

  1. Laugh

What makes you laugh?  Is it crazy cat videos on Youtube, Monty Python?  If you haven’t had a laugh today, find something that makes you laugh.  Netflix has heaps of comedians, switch it on and even if you spend 5 minutes laughing, you will be winning.  It is impossible to be negative and laugh.

While you may not be able to switch on Netflix in the middle of the work day, you can make sure that you laugh every day.  A laugh a day will make the work negativity go away.

  1. Dance & listen to something that makes you feel good

Now this is something you can do at work….. OK, not always.  Like finding a way to laugh it is incredibly important to find things that you love to do.  What makes you feel good when you do it?  Is it cooking or gardening?  Is it dancing or running (boo)? What makes you feel good?  I can guarantee that when you are doing much more of the things that make you feel good it is difficult to stay negative.

During a very challenging training program early in my career one of my very great friends and I would return to my place at lunch time, turn on George Michael and dance around for 5-10 minutes.  We would sing and laugh and get pretty puffed by the end of the couple of songs.  We did return to work feeling happy, lighter and generally not negative.  This might not be practical for you but find a circuit breaker you could do during your lunch that puts a smile on your face.  Tip: A couple of quick shandy’s down the pub is not the answer to this dilemma.

Own your positive attitude

  1. Don’t expect others to pull you up

If you expect other people to make you feel good, then you may struggle with maintaining a positive attitude.  You are accountable for your attitude and no amount of external stimulus can change that.  The luckiest folks in the world can be a Debbie Downer, if they don’t take ownership of their own attitude.  You can’t control others but you can control your response to them.

pexels photo 208165 - 8 ways to maintain a positive attitude at work

How do you maintain a positive attitude

So, there are 8 ways to maintain a positive attitude at work.  Do you have any other effective strategies?

Feature Photo by Lauren Peng on Unsplash

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