How to Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work and Home

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 23, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Maintaining a positive attitude can be challenging. You may feel underutilized or work with negative co-workers who challenge your positive outlook. Knowing how to be positive can help you react to negative situations in the best way possible. In this article, we explore what it means to have a positive attitude and discuss how to maintain a positive attitude at work and at home.

What does it mean to have a positive attitude?

Having a positive attitude means being optimistic about yourself and others. Positivity makes you more hopeful, even during challenging times. It involves focusing on the positive aspects of your career and social life rather than the negative ones. Being more optimistic may be a challenge for some people, but learning how to maintain a positive attitude can enrich your life and that of those around you.

The benefits of a positive attitude include an enriched social and professional life, along with the following:

  • a heightened ability to develop resources and acquire skills

  • an enlarged social group

  • enhanced enjoyment of life

  • increased self-esteem

  • reduced stress levels

Related: FAQ: Why Self-Awareness Is Important? (With How to Improve)

How to maintain a positive attitude

Here are twelve ways to help you develop and maintain a positive attitude:

1. Control negative thoughts

The first step in learning how to maintain a positive attitude requires knowing how to identify and control negative thoughts. This helps you re-focus and lessens the impact of negative thoughts on your outlook and actions. If you want to help yourself focus on positivity, write down your negative thoughts whenever you notice them. This practice slows your momentum and allows you to evaluate the situation more rationally. Writing your thoughts down also allows you to analyze them. Separating your thoughts from facts can help you focus on positivity.

2. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

Once you identify negative thoughts, you need alternatives to take their place. It may be a challenge to think of these at first, but it becomes easier with practice. Try to think of positive instances that have happened, regardless of how inconsequential they may seem, and direct your thoughts to them whenever you think negatively. For example, consider a time when a colleague praised or thanked you for your hard work. You might even keep a physical list of these instances to reference them when you recognize yourself having negative thoughts.

3. Practice gratitude

Once you've identified positive thoughts, focus on them often. To help you achieve this, consider what you're grateful for each day. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes to think positively. Practicing gratitude has significant positive effects, including improved mental health and strengthened relationships. In addition, people who regularly work to cultivate gratitude experience increased energy, improved mood, and reduced anxiety because of reduced stress.

4. Surround yourself with positive colleagues

Another important way to maintain a great attitude is to surround yourself with colleagues with strong interpersonal communication skills. These types of skills, such as active listening, teamwork, and empathy, focus on productive communication. They also promote positive interactions and allow you to develop healthy relationships. Connecting with colleagues and friends who like their jobs, have exciting and unique ideas, and have interests besides work helps you enjoy your job more and maintain a positive attitude.

5. Lead positive workplace changes

To help you maintain a positive working environment, try to take responsibility for things you could make better. This decision may mean taking proactive steps to change the situation. For example, if you feel the need for more socializing or team spirit in the office, offer to organize a weekly lunchtime club where co-workers bring food to share. If there's a project that's mismanaged, provide your expertise and time to help make it a success. Setting an example at work may help others maintain a positive attitude and lead to a more enjoyable workplace for everyone.

6. Learn new skills

People become unsatisfied with work without new tasks or opportunities to learn new skills. Gaining a new skill set builds self-esteem and positive feelings of accomplishment and can increase your chances of getting a promotion. Find opportunities for professional development through employer-sponsored programs or online courses that you can do on your own time. You can also ask to be added to a new team or be responsible for a new task that differs from your current duties. New types of responsibilities can stimulate your mind and help keep your work interesting in the long term.

7. Take proper breaks from work

If you work a demanding full-time job, it's challenging to find time for a proper break. Taking a healthy break during your workday means pausing from work for at least 30 minutes and focusing on pleasant thoughts. To do this, you may need to leave your workspace, go for a walk, or enjoy a conversation or meal with a friend. If you're unable to leave your place of work for your entire break, try to go outside or into a different space for a few minutes so you can keep your positive attitude strong.

8. Develop a consistent morning routine

It's easier to maintain a positive attitude during the day if you begin your day in a good mood. Make it easier to set a positive attitude for the day by following a morning routine that inspires positive emotions and thoughts.

This routine may include giving yourself time to press the snooze button on your alarm, followed by a short and simple stretching routine. You might also set your alarm for earlier than you need, so if you press snooze, you still have time to arrive on time when you wake up. Preparing for your day at a leisurely pace can help you stay positive all day long.

9. Practice daily self-care

An essential step to maintaining a positive attitude is taking care of your physical and mental health. Stress from working at a high-pressure job that requires you to interact with people regularly, whether in person, via a virtual meeting, or through telecommunications, can negatively affect you without proper stress management. One way to do this is by practicing daily self-care.

Maintaining a positive attitude is easier if you indulge in self-care activities such as:

  • a hot bath by candlelight

  • a face mask

  • reading

  • a movie

  • gardening

  • baking

  • painting

  • a daily conversation with a friend

These are just a few examples of the activities you can use to practise daily self-care. The primary importance is that the activities you engage in are relaxing and enjoyable for you. If you're trying to determine what self-care activities are best for you, make a list of activities you enjoy or that you find relaxing.

10. Meditate

Meditation, a form of self-care, can be effective at improving mental health by decreasing anxiety and stress. Reduced stress can make it easier to maintain a positive attitude at work, even when dealing with unexpected challenges or negative colleagues. Meditating for a few minutes a day by focusing your mind and practising deep breathing can be an effective way to begin a regular meditation routine. The positive emotions from meditation can enhance one's purpose in life, stimulate increased mindfulness and social support, and decrease illness.

11. Spend quality time with family or close friends

Cultivating meaningful relationships, including a social network and committed relationships, can reduce loneliness and provide greater life fulfillment. Interacting face-to-face with a close social network can help you feel more love and support, which can improve your quality of life. In addition, regularly spending quality time with family or close friends creates emotional support to help you maintain a positive attitude at work and home.

12. Use positive words more frequently

Language directly influences your attitude, so use positive language whenever you can to help create a positive mindset. Using positive language when talking about your job or colleagues is a straightforward solution for maintaining a positive attitude. For example, if you regularly describe your work as boring, it sounds boring to others and yourself. Conversely, if you focus on the positive aspects of your job when discussing or contemplating it, you may find it more enjoyable and interesting.

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