20 Ways to Stay Positive At Work

Down in the dumps at work? You’re not alone. A 2010 survey by the Conference Board found that just 45% of US workers are satisfied at work. Negativity at the office is not only bad for your mood, but it could also be making you sick. Chronic stress produces a slow drip of cortisol in your bloodstream and causes all kinds of health issues. Stay healthy and happy by following these tips to stay positive at work.

1. Learn a new skill.

Stuck in a rut at the office? Learning a new skill will help you feel inspired. Take a class to beef up your resumé or attend a networking event to practice your schmoozing skills. You don’t even have to shell out money – see what skills you can learn within the responsibilities you already have. Could brushing up on Excel improve your workflow? What about learning some basic foreign words to impress potential clients? When you’ve mastered this skill, teach it to others. You’ll reinforce your knowledge and feel great helping others at the same time.

2. Be friends with your co-workers…

Some people view their colleagues as enemies, but that’s not productive or positive. Social support at the office is crucial. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should have a friendly and respectful relationship with the people you see 40 hours a week. Make sure to participate in occasional workplace outings to cement that bond.

3. But do it right.

It’s easy to get trapped in the web of office politics. But gossiping about who’s going to get fired only serves to make you worried about your own job. While some gossip is harmless, politely excuse yourself from the conversation when it takes a negative turn. You don’t need anyone bringing you down when you should be on top of your game. You should also avoid your office’s Negative Nancy. Is that you? Learn how to become more optimistic.

4. Protect your personal life.

A few late nights at the office? OK. Bringing home piles of work every night? Not OK. While constantly working at home might feel productive, it’ll overwhelm you and make you hate your job. Leave your work at work. Doing so will also remind you you’re not defined by your job, even though it can feel like it at times.

5. Decorate your workspace.

Whether you’re a neat freak or find solace in organized chaos, a workspace tailored to your tastes will give you a burst of happiness every time you see it. Try adding plants to increase creativity, photos to increase happiness, or one of these fun office products.

6. Set goals.

Setting goals improves your mood because everybody likes taking control of their own life. What do you want to accomplish today? This week? In the next year? Figure out attainable short and long-term goals, then create a step-by-step plan to complete them. You’ll find new purpose in each workday and could even set yourself up for a raise at year’s end by showing your boss exactly what you’ve accomplished.

7. Take care of yourself.

It’s hard to stay positive when you’re hungry, thirsty or sleep-deprived. Keep your mood upbeat by taking care of your body. Bring a water bottle to work, get to bed on time and stash some healthy snacks in your desk.

8. Count your blessings.

Being thankful makes you happier, and that goes double at the workplace. When you have a bad day, write down everything you’re grateful for at work – even if it’s as basic as “I’m thankful to have a job.” Want a daily reminder? Stick a post-it note that says “No Complaining” on your desk and see how it affects your day. Or try a positive affirmation, like this one.

9. Take regular breaks.

There’s a reason we love the Pomodoro Technique so much. Taking frequent breaks makes the workday less monotonous and relieves your exhaustion, both of which contribute to boredom. Unfortunately, scrolling through your Facebook news feed doesn’t count. You have to stand up to make your break work for you. Take a quick lap around the office, or go outside for maximum benefit.

10. Start the day right.

A rough morning can ruin your whole workday. Start the day right by listening to an upbeat playlist or podcast on your commute. You should also make sure to dress nicely for work. What do you think would make you happier and more productive: a wrinkled suit or a clean and crisply ironed one?

11. Stay in the loop.

Nobody likes feeling out of the loop at the office. But it’s your responsibility to learn the information you need to do your job. Instead of waiting for your boss to come to you, take initiative. Set up your own system, whether it’s daily emails to colleagues or a weekly meeting with your boss.

12. Ask for feedback.

It’s hard to stay positive when you have no idea how your boss feels about your work. But your boss is busy. So like the previous step, you have to take initiative. Ask for feedback. But it’s crucial to respond appropriately. If you receive negative feedback, remember that your work is being criticized, not you. So don’t beat yourself up!  Instead, think of ways to improve and present them to your boss at a future date. Are you doing well? Reward yourself! Try writing down positive comments in a notebook to boost your mood on tough days.

13. Mix up fun and boring tasks.

Every job has both tasks we love and tasks we hate. Some people advocate doing all the boring tasks at once, but try spacing them throughout the workday so you don’t dread any particular hour. Just make sure to find that balance. A day filled with only tasks you love might feel great at first, but you’ll be disappointed when the rest of the week is exceptionally boring.

14. Don’t multitask.

It’s been proven again and again that multitasking simply doesn’t work. Focusing on one task makes you more productivity, and more productivity equals more happiness at work.

15. Change you responsibilities.

When you hate your job, it’s hard to stay positive at work. But you can change your job without finding a new place of employment. Just change your responsibilities! Sound easier said than done? Brainstorm some projects you’d love to work on and present them to your boss, framing them so they add value to the company. Alternately, volunteer for a new project.

16. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

The fastest way to get depressed at work is to pile way too much stuff onto your plate. Don’t commit to projects you can’t complete. Already overwhelmed? Ask your co-workers to help you out, or delegate to anybody you’re in charge of.

17. Pay it forward.

When a coworker asks for a favor, say yes if you’re able. You’ll improve your relationship and buy some capital for when you need a favor later on. But that’s not the only way you can pay it forward at the office. Performing random acts of kindness boosts both your mood and those of everyone around you. Bring some brownies to the office, clean up the office coffee maker, or try any of these 45 acts.

18. Go on vacation.

If you’re one of the many Americans who don’t take all their vacation days each year, book that ticket! Taking a break from the office lets you recharge and create positive memories you can turn to when you’re feeling blue. You’ll return to work well-rested and motivated to get things done.

19. Talk to HR.

Sometimes, problems with your officemates ruin your workplace attitude. Maybe you hate your boss or you’re being bullied by your co-workers. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to seek out help from you HR department. Remember, they exist precisely to make sure your workplace runs as smoothly as possible. You could also seek outside help, in the form of a psychologist or a lawyer as the case may be.

20. Quit.

OK, so maybe this is a last resort. But it’s hard to stay positive in a job you hate. If you try Tip #15 and are still miserable, quit. If that’s not possible overnight, at least make a plan for how and when you’ll switch careers or employers. The average human being spends nearly 100,000 hours of their life at work. That’s over 10 years of your life! Don’t waste that time at a job you hate. Work towards a job you love.

How do you stay positive at work? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: Highways Agency via Compfight cc

Down in the dumps at work? You’re not alone. A 2010 survey by the Conference Board found that just 45% of US workers are satisfied at work. Negativity at the office is not only bad for your mood, but it could also be making you sick. Chronic stress produces a slow drip of cortisol in your bloodstream and causes all kinds of health issues. Stay healthy and happy by following these tips to stay positive at work.

1. Learn a new skill.

Stuck in a rut at the office? Learning a new skill will help you feel inspired. Take a class to beef up your resumé or attend a networking event to practice your schmoozing skills. You don’t even have to shell out money – see what skills you can learn within the responsibilities you already have. Could brushing up on Excel improve your workflow? What about learning some basic foreign words to impress potential clients? When you’ve mastered this skill, teach it to others. You’ll reinforce your knowledge and feel great helping others at the same time.

2. Be friends with your co-workers…

Some people view their colleagues as enemies, but that’s not productive or positive. Social support at the office is crucial. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should have a friendly and respectful relationship with the people you see 40 hours a week. Make sure to participate in occasional workplace outings to cement that bond.

3. But do it right.

It’s easy to get trapped in the web of office politics. But gossiping about who’s going to get fired only serves to make you worried about your own job. While some gossip is harmless, politely excuse yourself from the conversation when it takes a negative turn. You don’t need anyone bringing you down when you should be on top of your game. You should also avoid your office’s Negative Nancy. Is that you? Learn how to become more optimistic.

4. Protect your personal life.

A few late nights at the office? OK. Bringing home piles of work every night? Not OK. While constantly working at home might feel productive, it’ll overwhelm you and make you hate your job. Leave your work at work. Doing so will also remind you you’re not defined by your job, even though it can feel like it at times.

5. Decorate your workspace.

Whether you’re a neat freak or find solace in organized chaos, a workspace tailored to your tastes will give you a burst of happiness every time you see it. Try adding plants to increase creativity, photos to increase happiness, or one of these fun office products.

6. Set goals.

Setting goals improves your mood because everybody likes taking control of their own life. What do you want to accomplish today? This week? In the next year? Figure out attainable short and long-term goals, then create a step-by-step plan to complete them. You’ll find new purpose in each workday and could even set yourself up for a raise at year’s end by showing your boss exactly what you’ve accomplished.

7. Take care of yourself.

It’s hard to stay positive when you’re hungry, thirsty or sleep-deprived. Keep your mood upbeat by taking care of your body. Bring a water bottle to work, get to bed on time and stash some healthy snacks in your desk.

8. Count your blessings.

Being thankful makes you happier, and that goes double at the workplace. When you have a bad day, write down everything you’re grateful for at work – even if it’s as basic as “I’m thankful to have a job.” Want a daily reminder? Stick a post-it note that says “No Complaining” on your desk and see how it affects your day. Or try a positive affirmation, like this one.

9. Take regular breaks.

There’s a reason we love the Pomodoro Technique so much. Taking frequent breaks makes the workday less monotonous and relieves your exhaustion, both of which contribute to boredom. Unfortunately, scrolling through your Facebook news feed doesn’t count. You have to stand up to make your break work for you. Take a quick lap around the office, or go outside for maximum benefit.

10. Start the day right.

A rough morning can ruin your whole workday. Start the day right by listening to an upbeat playlist or podcast on your commute. You should also make sure to dress nicely for work. What do you think would make you happier and more productive: a wrinkled suit or a clean and crisply ironed one?

11. Stay in the loop.

Nobody likes feeling out of the loop at the office. But it’s your responsibility to learn the information you need to do your job. Instead of waiting for your boss to come to you, take initiative. Set up your own system, whether it’s daily emails to colleagues or a weekly meeting with your boss.

12. Ask for feedback.

It’s hard to stay positive when you have no idea how your boss feels about your work. But your boss is busy. So like the previous step, you have to take initiative. Ask for feedback. But it’s crucial to respond appropriately. If you receive negative feedback, remember that your work is being criticized, not you. So don’t beat yourself up!  Instead, think of ways to improve and present them to your boss at a future date. Are you doing well? Reward yourself! Try writing down positive comments in a notebook to boost your mood on tough days.

13. Mix up fun and boring tasks.

Every job has both tasks we love and tasks we hate. Some people advocate doing all the boring tasks at once, but try spacing them throughout the workday so you don’t dread any particular hour. Just make sure to find that balance. A day filled with only tasks you love might feel great at first, but you’ll be disappointed when the rest of the week is exceptionally boring.

14. Don’t multitask.

It’s been proven again and again that multitasking simply doesn’t work. Focusing on one task makes you more productivity, and more productivity equals more happiness at work.

15. Change you responsibilities.

When you hate your job, it’s hard to stay positive at work. But you can change your job without finding a new place of employment. Just change your responsibilities! Sound easier said than done? Brainstorm some projects you’d love to work on and present them to your boss, framing them so they add value to the company. Alternately, volunteer for a new project.

16. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

The fastest way to get depressed at work is to pile way too much stuff onto your plate. Don’t commit to projects you can’t complete. Already overwhelmed? Ask your co-workers to help you out, or delegate to anybody you’re in charge of.

17. Pay it forward.

When a coworker asks for a favor, say yes if you’re able. You’ll improve your relationship and buy some capital for when you need a favor later on. But that’s not the only way you can pay it forward at the office. Performing random acts of kindness boosts both your mood and those of everyone around you. Bring some brownies to the office, clean up the office coffee maker, or try any of these 45 acts.

18. Go on vacation.

If you’re one of the many Americans who don’t take all their vacation days each year, book that ticket! Taking a break from the office lets you recharge and create positive memories you can turn to when you’re feeling blue. You’ll return to work well-rested and motivated to get things done.

19. Talk to HR.

Sometimes, problems with your officemates ruin your workplace attitude. Maybe you hate your boss or you’re being bullied by your co-workers. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to seek out help from you HR department. Remember, they exist precisely to make sure your workplace runs as smoothly as possible. You could also seek outside help, in the form of a psychologist or a lawyer as the case may be.

20. Quit.

OK, so maybe this is a last resort. But it’s hard to stay positive in a job you hate. If you try Tip #15 and are still miserable, quit. If that’s not possible overnight, at least make a plan for how and when you’ll switch careers or employers. The average human being spends nearly 100,000 hours of their life at work. That’s over 10 years of your life! Don’t waste that time at a job you hate. Work towards a job you love.

How do you stay positive at work? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: Highways Agency via Compfight cc

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