How to stay positive at work

Keeping a positive attitude at work can be tough sometimes. You’re stuck in a job you don’t love, surrounded by people who drain your energy. You’re not being paid what you’re worth and constantly being passed over for promotions. Almost every day, it feels like the world weighs on you.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can learn to stay positive no matter the circumstances at work.

Practice gratitude

One of the most powerful emotions in the world is gratitude, which can make us feel good about ourselves. Gratitude makes people happier, healthier, and more productive. Unfortunately, we don’t usually learn how to be grateful; it has to be learned through experience.

The lack of gratitude practice may lead to ungratefulness and resentment, workplace conflict, and poor performance. Gratitude is thus an important habit to cultivate throughout the day.

A few ways to practice gratitude at work are listed below:

  • Keep a gratitude journal every night by writing down three things you’re grateful for.
  • Count your blessings and give thanks for them.
  • Gratitude should be one of the first things you do in the morning.
  • Be sure to thank your boss, coworkers, clients, and even your family members for their efforts.
  • Consider your job’s positive aspects.
  • Consider your situation throughout the day and express gratitude for it.

Don’t dwell on the past, but look forward

Keeping your focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past is one of the most powerful ways to improve your work life. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about all of the things you could have done differently or better, but that won’t do any good. Put yourself in a better position from now on by taking a step back and considering what you can do to improve things. What kind of changes do you need to make to avoid failure and mistakes?

Set goals, both in the short and long term, and work towards them. That’s one of the best ways to start looking forward. At first, it may seem overwhelming, but taking small steps will get you there eventually. Goal setting with task management is the most powerful way to be more productive at your work.

Act now, don’t wait

As the saying suggests, “The right time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” The same is valid for taking action toward your goals.

There is no such thing as feeling “ready.” You will never be 100 percent prepared. You will always face some uncertainty and some risk, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action.

Now is the time to take your first step toward your goal. Even though it may seem like a small step, it is a crucial first step. Moving step by step will help you keep moving forward in the right direction.

Progression is not linear. Your goals will eventually be achieved if you keep taking action despite the ups and downs.

Avoid comparing yourself to others

Workplace comparisons are common. Perhaps someone got the promotion you wanted, or they seem to have an easier time completing tasks. However, it’s critical not to compare yourself to others.

Here’s why:

Firstly, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Just because someone has good skills doesn’t mean you can’t do the same. Secondly, comparing yourself with others can cause negative emotions like jealousy and envy. These emotions make it difficult to focus on your work and be productive. Last but not least, comparison can create unrealistic expectations. You may never feel satisfied with your own accomplishments if you constantly compare yourself to others.

The next time you’re tempted to compare yourself to a colleague, remember that comparison isn’t helpful and focus on your own goals instead.

Why is it important to stay positive at work?

If you want to succeed at work, you need to maintain a positive attitude. It’s what keeps you motivated and focused even when things get challenging.

Positive thinking makes building strong relationships with coworkers easier since people are drawn to those who are optimistic and upbeat.

Lastly, you’re more likely to achieve your goals with a positive outlook. You’ll put forth your best effort when you feel good about yourself and your abilities.

What you can do at work to spread positivity

It’s no secret that negativity can be contagious. Just like a cold, it can quickly spread throughout an office, leaving employees feeling drained and uninspired. But what if there was a way to “catch” positivity instead?

Here are a few simple ways to spread some positive vibes at work:

  • Make a point to greet your colleagues with a smile each day. It sounds cliché, but the power of a genuine smile should not be underestimated.
  • Compliment others frequently, whether for a well-done job or simply for a great attitude. Positive reinforcement goes a long way!
  • Seek opportunities to help your co-workers, even if it’s just lending a listening ear or offer advice when asked.

Negativity at work: what does it cost?

A negative work environment leads to lower productivity and higher health care costs for businesses. Unhappy employees are less productive and more likely to call in sick. It’s also contagious, so one disgruntled employee can quickly lower team morale.

Unhappy employees are likelier to vent their frustrations on their coworkers and customers. This leads to arguments, decreased cooperation, and lower customer satisfaction.

It’s important for businesses to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. A happy employee is more productive, cooperative, and customer-focused. A positive work environment benefits a company both financially and emotionally.

To sum up

The bottom line is that we all know that stress can cause us to act negatively toward our coworkers and bosses. The situation doesn’t have to be that way, however. In fact, you can remain calm and collected under pressure without resorting to negative behavior.

You should focus on what makes your job so special. Look around your office and the people who inspire you, the projects you are tackling, and the opportunities for professional development. You will keep your cool and keep a positive attitude if you let those thoughts guide you in stressful situations.


The Power of Positive Thinking. Published November 2021.

How Positivity Leads to Success | ATD. Published April 9, 2013.