How to Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work

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The average American spends a staggering 90,000 hours at work over the course of their lives. To put it another way, to get that all over with at once, you would have to work around the clock, seven days a week, for over 10 years straight.

The point is, you spend a lot of time at your job. Whether you commute to a nearby city or log in remotely from half a world away, it’s important to maintain a positive mindset each and every day that you spend working. If you find yourself struggling to be healthy and happy in your current job or even your career in general, here are a few suggestions to help you shrug off the sluggishness, smile, and enjoy each day as it comes.

The “Positive Mindset”

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The term “positive mindset” is thrown around a lot, but what exactly is it? Is it a state of mind? A series of thoughts? While a solid definition may be difficult to pin down, the idea of being “positive” is less difficult to define than you might think. Much of what makes an inherently positive or negative thinker revolves around how one reacts when faced with adversity.

When something goes wrong in your life, how do you choose to react? If a negative situation simply leaves you feeling stuck, chances are you struggle with a negative mindset. A positive mindset, on the other hand, often can be simply boiled down to possessing a willingness to try to change your situation.

Part of this ability to create a positive mindset involves becoming self-aware enough to catch your negative thoughts “in the act.” If you can start to become more aware of your thought processes in the pessimistic moments, it allows you to begin to redirect your thoughts towards the good elements of the situation. This allows you to foster a “cup half full” mentality.

Don’t misunderstand, this is a very difficult, often lifelong process. But if you can begin to practice the ability to maintain a positive mindset, it will open up countless ways to combat the various elements that tend to keep employees from having a good attitude at work.

That All-Important Work-Life Balance

There are many different signs that indicate you’re not maintaining a good work-life balance, regardless of your profession. These can include things like:

  • Overeating
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Getting sick often and easily
  • Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine

Work can easily permeate your entire life if you let it. It’s an issue that has grown increasingly more common with things like smartphones and telecommuting keeping everyone tethered to the office at all times. If you lack work-life balance, it’s important to try to take steps to separate your work from the rest of your life. Identify and be open about your needs, set and respect boundaries, pace yourself, and try to practice genuinely “turning off” your work at the end of each day.

Address the Stress

Stress and time pressure are common workplace issues that can lead to unhealthy habits and side effects as well as things like data loss and other mistakes on the job. Implementing workplace habits, such as tracking stressful situations that occur regularly and practicing relaxation techniques, can help address the issue. In addition, taking regular breaks to stretch and let your mind rest can be extremely beneficial.

Be Bold

It’s important to remember that you’re a human being, not just a cog in a larger machine. If someone is demonstrating negative behavior in your workplace, it’s important that you understand when and how to intervene. Properly addressing issues like hostility, narcissism, or disrespect from fellow employees can help to remove causes of negativity within the workplace.

Be Grateful

It’s a tale as old as time. If you can practice gratitude, you’re much more likely to feel happy and healthy. This goes hand in hand with the idea of maintaining that positive attitude. If you can train your brain to look for the things to be grateful for, even when a situation seems bleak, it can revolutionize how you face each day. Your job becomes a blessing rather than a curse, and each scenario presents its own unique reason to demonstrate gratitude.

Invest Yourself

Another way to overcome the temptation to gripe and complain is to check in on your motivations on a regular basis. If you’re feeling apathetic, make a conscious effort to invest yourself in your career in a fresh and new way. Try to learn a new skill, develop deeper relationships with your coworkers, and look for ways to be a part of the greater whole.

Be Confident

One thing that sets highly successful people apart from others is the fact that they believe in themselves. Even when they fail, it doesn’t dash their hopes, dreams, or belief in their ability to succeed. While confidence to a certain degree can be blinding, wisely applied confidence can help calm your emotional workplace mood swings and help you detach your success and failure from what others think, say, or imply about your work performance.

Develop Emotional Depth

It’s important to resist the urge to take things personally within a professional work environment. While there are certainly situations where private opinions may influence decision making, it’s important for your own personal and mental health that you try to develop a level of emotional depth and maturity regardless of what happens on a day-to-day basis. This can allow you to filter any potentially negative news without assuming that it’s personally directed at you.

Take Breaks

It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to skip over properly taking breaks when you’re focused on work or simply trying to get things done in order to go home. Robert Pozen suggests that a break after every 75 to 90 minutes of “concentrated work” is an appropriate amount of time. A 15-minute break can allow you to consolidate and organize whatever information your brain has taken in during the preceding work time and can keep you producing at peak efficiency.

The Struggle to Stay Positive

While there are countless other ways to try to stay positive, the important part of the equation isn’t so much about the tactics used as much as it’s about you, yourself. If you can make a serious effort to reform your attitude and strive to cultivate a naturally positive mindset regardless of your work situation, you’re much more likely to find yourself seeing the good in each and every scenario. You’ll also likely be able to rekindle a love for your work, regardless of the actual job itself, as you develop a feeling of value, confidence, and gratitude in the workplace.

About the Author

Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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