Every workplace has its set of problems and challenges, which can cause you to become negative about your work. Negativity can reduce your productivity and harm your results. It’s important to stay positive at work, especially since you spend so much of your life there.
There are four specific mindset adjustments that can help you cultivate a positive attitude, even when things get tough.
- Cultivate gratitude: If you want to give yourself a great start at work, begin with gratitude. The claims about the benefits of gratitude may sound too good to be true, but research supports the claims. Gratitude reduces stress and anxiety, and improves your cognitive functions.
- Adopt a growth mindset: You may have read Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets, but to implement her concepts takes effort. To adopt a growth mindset, you must make behavioral changes and stick with them. It's imperative that you find the grit to keep trying until you succeed.
- Reframe negative thoughts: You possess a negativity bias. Most of your thoughts are negative and they tend to run on a loop in your mind. You can counter this through positive affirmations. If you can talk yourself into a negative state, then you have the power to talk yourself into a positive state as well.
- Mindfulness and presence: Regardless of the flavor of mindfulness practice you prefer, spending time in the present moment can help you be more positive. This can allow you to look at things more objectively. If you’re unsure where to start, consider meditation, prayer, yoga, or tai chi.
Adjusting your mindset helps you address internal obstacles to positivity. The four practical strategies that follow can help you interact with the external world to help you avoid negativity at work and in your personal life.
- Environment and ambiance: A cluttered workspace can breed negativity and anxiety, especially when things are already chaotic. You will feel a sense of control when everything is in its place. At home and the office, make it a point to spruce up and clean up your environment.
- Relationships and interactions: You may hear people describe their colleagues as their work family. By focusing on relationships, you play a role in creating and sustaining a better culture and achieving better results. Try to understand and respect your colleagues as people beyond their roles and titles.
- Communication techniques: A significant challenge in a positive workplace is the way people communicate with each other. You can improve communication through active listening and practicing empathy. Empathy is something that many people talk about but few people actually focus on in their daily work. Address conflicts promptly and adopt a problem-solving attitude.
- Balance and boundaries: You need boundaries. When you're working, fully engage in work. When you're home, be present at home. HubSpot’s research has found that 89 percent of salespeople are suffering from or at risk of burnout. To avoid this, you need time away from your work to recharge and remind you of what is most important.
Ongoing professional development can help us cultivate new skills and perspectives. It also brings a freshness to our day-to-day work, reminding us that challenges are usually opportunities to learn and improve. Here are three steps to building your own professional development plan:
- Set achievable goals: You'll find more joy in your work if you have a set of goals you're actively pursuing. You can perform even better when you find meaning and purpose in your work. In sales, for example, you help your clients to produce the results they need.
- Continuous learning: Progress is a human desire. When you don’t feel as if you're moving forward, you can become negative and pessimistic. Your company may offer a development program, but if it doesn’t, you can find all sorts of courses and workshops. It's essential for you to keep up with the changes in your industry.
- Feedback and adaptation: The best way for you to develop is through a coaching program that can help you identify your blind spots. Coaching is designed to foster the behavioral changes that will improve your performance, growth, and results. This growth can help you maintain a positive outlook.
Health and Well-Being
The better you feel, the more likely you are to be positive. Your physical and mental health and well-being influence the way you feel emotionally. When your body is drained or in pain, it’s easy for negativity to get a foothold and spread quickly. To stay positive, keep yourself healthy by focusing on sleep, hydration, exercise, and diet (SHED). Here are four strategies to support your health:
- Physical health: A stressful day at work can make it feel all but impossible to take a break and move your body. But taking a short walk, trip to the gym, or light stretching session can help you recharge. Instead of telling yourself that you must do more work, prioritize your health by taking a midday activity break or after-dinner walk
- Rest: You know how much sleep you should be getting but, if you’re like most people, you aren’t getting enough. Sleep is the only time your body performs many key processes like repairing cells, organizing memories, releasing key hormones, or getting rid of waste that builds up in the brain.
- Mental health: Since writing The Negativity Fast, I've become more aware of the importance of mental health, including the burnout and overwhelm that can come from work. When you feel stressed or anxious, spend time winding down. Your body is telling you to do less work, and more of something that will replenish your energy and motivation.
- Nutrition and hydration: Eating things that aren't good for you and failing to stay hydrated and make you feel tired, sluggish, and negative. During the day, make time to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water.
Integration of Positivity Practices
Like most things related to well-being, positivity practices need to become part of your everyday routine to be most effective. These three strategies will help you integrate positivity practices into your day.
- Daily routines: One of the first questions in an interview is “tell me about your morning routine.” I hope they talk about reading, exercising, and perhaps writing in a journal. I am looking for signs of discipline and how well they take care of themselves.
- Company culture: A positive culture never happens by accident. Leaders must work diligently to build a positive, optimistic environment. It takes only one person to create a toxic environment. Strive to contribute to a positive company culture.
- Self-reflection: Regularly assess your attitude and satisfaction levels at work. Adjust your strategies and habits as needed to maintain a positive outlook.
Anticipating and Overcoming Obstacles
Once you learn how to manage challenges, the next step is anticipating them so you can prepare. Knowing what to look for will help you meet obstacles head on and develop a plan for overcoming them.
- Identify potential negativity triggers: Be aware of the things in your life that can trigger negativity. Build a plan to avoid these triggers and actively prevent them from derailing your day.
- Resilience building: One of the most important ways to stay positive is to be resilient. You will face client problems, including losing clients. You may also lose deals or coworkers who you enjoyed working with, and you’ll feel the loss. You can lessen the impact of these negative events by controlling your response to them and finding something beneficial in them.
- Support networks: Don’t go it alone. Have a support network at work and at home. Humans aren’t designed to be solitary. Invest time in your network and work on being more positive than negative.
How to Stay Positive at Work
You spend many hours and days at work, where events can cause you to be negative. The list of strategies here is extensive, and while you won't practice each of them, choose three that you will use to reduce your negativity and help you to be positive more often.
This article is a list of strategies to support The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success. Reach out via email or LinkedIn for the workbook. Stay positive and do good work.