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11 Ways to Remain Positive at Work

11 Ways to Remain Positive at Work

12 Feb 15:00 by Ellé Rossall

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There are plenty of studies out there that aim to determine how positivity has an effect on results. In our last blog regarding ‘Top 11 Questions you should ask in your Interview’ it was noted that we spend 90,000 hours in an average lifetime at work. So, no wonder it’s sometimes difficult to remain feeling positive when it seems like there is simply no rest for the wicked.

In a review, published in the December 2005 issue of Psychological Bulletin, examined studies of over 275,000 people, found that the happiest people owe their success, in part, to their optimism and positive outlook. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-scientific-studies-prove-power-positive-thinking-mark-guidi/)

If you’ve ever felt or are currently feeling negativity, defeated and unenthused by your job and working environment, then here are 11 tips that could change this mind-set and ease this issue.

#1 - Take a Break

This is possibly a very obvious one to start with, but it has a huge impact on our wellbeing. We now live in a society where mental health stigmas are slowly dissipating, so taking regular breaks isn’t seen as ‘slacking off’ and rather a necessity to take 5 minutes for fresh air, or to grab a tea/coffee/snack.

It is often the case that so many of us are super busy all the time, so taking a lunch break is something of a luxury. However, a research group from the University of Tampere, which concentrates on studying wellbeing at work, has discovered that lunch breaks help employees to refresh and recover – especially when the break is long enough. It was found in the research that having a lunch break 4-5 times a week and having it outside the workplace affects positive work efficiency. (https://edenred.fi/en/studies-reveal-clear-lunch-break-improves-work-efficiency/)

#2 - Teaching Others

It is not being suggested here that we should teach others in order to increase your workload. Instead, teaching others has a positive impact on our ego. It’s a way of sharing knowledge and feeling a little better that you’ve been able to help someone develop. Not only does it make us feel better, but it also increases our knowledge and understanding of the topic as well, known as the Protégé Effect.

#3 - Leave work in the office

We hear this time and time again, don’t we? In fact, I am sure it pops up in LinkedIn’s ‘Today's news and views’ more than anything else. We know it’s true though. Work can be stressful, and taking that stress home to your family will only increase negativity in yourself and the environment around you.

No one is saying it’s easy to switch off from work, especially more so when you work from home. The simplest answer (and something you’ll probably have to force yourself to do) is to log out from your emails and switch off your work phone. Unless you have arranged appointments out of hours, there is no excuse. Otherwise, it becomes a habit to constantly keep tabs on all things business and this ‘norm’ is definitely not normal.

#4 - Participate in work outings

Don’t be the person that can never make it or who has to leave early. Sometimes, especially for those fellow introverts out there, it can be difficult to immerse yourself into a social gathering. But, this is how you build relationships and learn more about your co-workers outside of the office environment. It also gives you a chance to wind down from the working day and discuss work in a more relaxed, fun environment. Sometimes, creative ideas come from these social experiences too. Positivity all round.

#5 - Assume the best

This may be a difficult one for the ‘glass half empty’ people out there. And you know what? Life isn’t all rainbows and cute puppies. However, remaining cynical and assuming the worst only puts you in a bad mood. I get it, it’s a way to avoid disappointment. If you’re expecting something to fall through and it does, then at least you were prepared, right? But this has consequences for how you run your day and it also affects the people around you. Want to be part of a winning team? Surround yourself with winners. If you believe it will happen, you’ll do everything in your power to make it happen. The trick here is not to assume the best by thinking that luck will get you there. Luck won’t pay the bills.  

#6 - Jazz up your desk

Making sure your desk is tidied and organised results in your mind-set reflecting this too. Clear desk, clear mind. Ensure that you have a clear-out every week. Unwanted paper can pile up and become a nuisance. For others, colour is a great stimulant and also encourages positivity. If desk plants are your thing, opt for something that doesn’t require too much attention, like a cactus or Aloe-Vera. Photos of pets and loved ones are often found at a work desk, so if this is your thing, put them in a decorative frame to increase the aesthetic.

Investing in good stationery can also lift your mood; treat yourself to a good diary or a desk planner where you can organise to within an inch of your life. Oh, and also don’t forget to always have water available. Staying hydrated is very important too.

7# - Keep to a routine

Routine can have negative connotations. We may think that routine equals monotony, boredom and a way to destroy creativity. However, routine helps us to flourish, to stay on track and keep to deadlines. A routine should start before work. Allow time to actually wake up, and not to spend the morning like a blurry-eyed, yawning zombie. Take 10 minutes to warm up for the day, this might be for your morning shower, a meditation session or simply just making a tea/coffee and reading the news. On your commute, start the day by listening to music that makes you happy, or a podcast to distract you from traffic jams or other really bad road users (seriously, why do some people not indicate?!). Our morning can have a drastic effect on the mood for the rest of the day, so start the day right and continue the routine into work. Also allow time in the evening to wind down, whether this is doing exercise, reading a book or simply watching a great Netflix series. Life is about enjoyment, so make the most of every moment.

#8 - Don’t beat yourself up about a mistake

Mistakes happen, that’s life. We all make them, we’re human. And why are mistakes a positive experience? Because they teach us not to make them again. Or to do something differently the next time around. If we don’t make mistakes, how do we ever grow and learn? Stay positive and remind yourself, that every great genius has made mistakes. It’s not going to ruin your day or your week, and if it does, it’s because you’ve let it.

#9 - Set realistic goals

Unrealistic goals are pointless. You spend most of the time worrying that you’ll not reach them and you’re already in a negative headspace, meaning that it won’t ever happen. Break your goals down into achievable chunks. List it out, so that it’s written in front of you and tick off as you go along. Realistic goal setting makes targets more achievable. Next time around you can stretch it that little bit further. If you’re already overwhelmed before you’ve even started; then know that this isn’t a good start.

#10 - Reward yourself for your wins

Okay, so in an ideal world, this may mean booking a 3 week trip to Hawaii and living in luxury surrounded by lush jungle, turquoise sea, and dramatic waterfalls… sorry, just daydreaming there. In reality, rewards don’t have to be huge. But, if you’ve earned it, then why not? If it’s a small success, take a coffee break and enjoy a hearty lunch somewhere. If it’s a huge success, then do whatever you like, within your means. If you don’t enjoy yourself, what’s it all for?

#11 - Last but not least… Be nice to other people.

Something we were taught in pre-school. It’s a basic, fundamental lesson for a human being. Maybe, sometimes we’re so caught up in work and life in general, that we don’t stop to tell others that their work is also appreciated. That without their efforts, your own role would be a struggle. Let people into your lane on the motorway, say thank you and hold the door open, tell a colleague their new haircut really suits them. You don’t have to buy everyone breakfast or bake a batch of cookies, but genuine small acts of kindness not only make others feel good, but they lift your spirits too.

And on that super cheesy note… that’s all for the top 11 ways to remain positive at work. There is plenty more to add, but these are basics to remaining happy and successful.

However, if you’re in the wrong job completely, or positivity is becoming difficult due to factors outside of your control, then get in touch with one of our consultants who will be happy to discuss new opportunities with you.

To read our last blog, on the Top 11 Questions you should be asking in your interview, click here.