11 Ways To Keep A Positive Attitude At Work

by Carina Wolff

We've all had those days where being at work seems like the worst thing in the world. Even though we know we are lucky to be employed and recognize that life requires hard work, sometimes we just get grumpy and may need a reminder of how to stay positive at work. Being in a bad mood is not just unpleasant, but it's bad for our health and even detrimental to our productivity.

Although you may think a little complaining is harmless, a bad attitude can begin to affect your work performance. One study from Columbia University found that employees with more favorable attitudes showed far superior sales performances than their negative counterparts.

Other research from the University of Pennsylvania found that in places with a positive work culture, employees experience less pain, make fewer trips to the emergency room, and are more likely to report being satisfied and in a positive mood.

If you do care about your job and want to get rid of those mid-week cranky slumps, it's important you take the necessary steps to boost your morale. To brighten your day-to-day spirits while on the job, try these 11 ways to keep a positive attitude at work — perhaps you'll find your weekdays more pleasant after implementing these tips.

1. Befriend Your Co-Workers

Even if you have plenty of friends outside work, keeping good relationships in the workplace can have a positive impact. A report from Globoforce found that employees who have quality relationships with their co-workers are more likely to be engaged and happy at work.

2. Tune Out

People's moods are contagious, so if you find that there is negativity around you, try to separate yourself from it and tune out. "If you have a workplace that will let you bring headphones and listen to music while working, this can have a calming and productive effect on you," says Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC over email. "It lowers heart rate and increases focus by tuning out outside distractions."

3. Take Breaks

"Make sure that you take short breaks throughout the day," says Martinez. "You are entitled to them, and a brief walk or change in atmosphere can make a huge difference." A study from Baylor University found that office workers who take short, frequent breaks during the workday report higher job satisfaction, reduced emotional exhaustion, and greater efforts to take on their job responsibilities.

4. Deal With Problems Professionally

We all know that no good ever comes from bottling up our negative feelings, so if there's something that's not working at your job, find a way to resolve the problem in a professional matter before it eats away at your insides. Hit the conflict head on and use it as an opportunity to work on your communication, and you may find you hold less resentment.

5. Leave For Lunch

"Do not eat lunch at your desk," says Martinez. "Physically removing yourself and changing your environment for a brief time can have the effect of a 'reset' on your day. If you can, try to get outside. Getting moving outside even for just five minutes can improve your mood as well as your self-esteem, according to research from the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

6. Set Goals For Yourself

Sometimes all you need is some self-motivation. Creating goals for yourself can help motivate you to work harder, as completing steps in your goals can help give you the satisfaction that encourages you to keep working further, according to Psychology Today. Feeling attached to your goals is important, so if you aren't pleased with your work responsibilities, come up with some on your own.

7. Do Something Nice

Committing random acts of kindness is not only a good way to get into your co-workers good graces, but it could make you feel better as well. Research from the University of British Columbia found that people who do random acts of kindness each week report feeling happier overall.

8. Take The Time To Be Grateful

Despite the rough days, there's always something beneficial about holding a job, and it's important to remind yourself of that. Take time each day to write a list of what you are thankful for. People who keep a gratitude journal report feeling more happier and optimistic than people who don't keep a list, according to research from The University of Miami.

9. Keep Visual Reminders

"Keep images and sayings that inspire and calm you around your desk," says Martinez. "Read them and look at them when you feel yourself getting worked up. They are visual reminders of what matters to you, and that this moment will pass."

10. Get Good Sleep

It's hard to stay positive when you're running on little sleep. Lack of sleep can only make you more stressed and anxious, but it can even affect your work performance as well, leading to a vicious cycle of frustration, according to WebMD.

11. Smile

If all else fails, force yourself to smile. You'll not only appear more upbeat, but you'll likely start to feel that way too. Studies show that forcing a smile can genuinely increase your mood and decrease your stress because your body associates those muscle movements with feelings of happiness.

Feeling more positive at work can take some effort, but the more you think positive thoughts, the easier it will be to be happy. However, if nothing seems to be working, it may be time to consider switching jobs.

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