Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work
Dave Carlson - April 15, 2013
Most people spend about a third of their life working. It's not easy to always get along with everyone at work. If your work environment is filled with negative people, it may be difficult to maintain a positive attitude. If you're not careful, negative people can affect you and bring you down.
Stop a negative work environment from causing negative thoughts to form in your mind. Feelings are a choice, but sometimes the environment coerces you into the wrong choice. You can restore and maintain a positive attitude in a negative situation. Here are some suggestions to help keep you from getting bogged down in negative emotional muck.
- Have a life outside your job. No job is worth losing sleep over or letting it control your life. During the day, look forward to something that motivates you and makes you feel needed. Find and nurture friends who have a good grasp of reality and with whom you can share a life that's totally unrelated to your job. Don't even talk about your job outside work hours, especially if the work environment is toxic. If you're alone, decompress at home with a funny movie or television show. Spend time with your kids, go on a walk with your dog, find time for romance with your partner.
- Don't take it personally. Accept that most of what goes on at work and most of the negativity, even if it appears to be directed at you, isn't about you. A popular magazine reads, "You would be depressed if you knew how seldom people were really thinking about you." Reality is that negative attitude is not about you as much as you might think.
- Control your breathing. Learn a lesson from Yoga when you feel stress from workplace negativity. Free your mind and take several deep breaths in and out. Each time you inhale, fill your mind and body with peaceful thoughts. Each time you exhale, allow the stress, tension, and negativity to leave your mind and body.
- Consider others. Realize that your co-workers are facing stress at work, at home, and in their personal lives. Understand that they're projecting and displacing their anger onto you and others around them as well. When others around you are negative, they will be tempted to want you to be miserable too, since "misery loves company." You need to not participate in your co-workers pity party, and remain positive.
- Boost workplace morale. It's okay to enjoy your job. When surrounded by negative talk, which can become contagious to everyone in the office, take the initiative to help lift the depressing cloud of discontent from the workplace. Most healthy people, given a choice, would rather discuss and thing about possitive things. Suggest everyone talks about something upbeat. Telling an interesting story or asking about other people can go a long way toward changing feels in the office for the rest of the day.
- Be yourself. Refuse to let your coworkers' workaholic behaviors, ambitions, complaints, and selfish behaviors seep into your psyche. It's easy to start letting negative behavior creep in by agreeing with perspectives or taking sides. Instead, choose to rise above it all by remaining neutral.
- Think happy thoughts. Guard your thoughts; they eventually can become your reality. Make sure negativity in the workplace around you doesn't keep playing in your head. If permitted, play music at your desk at a reasonable volume (or use headphones) if you feel it helps keep you centered. Take frequent breaks to collect your thoughts. Keep positive reminders as quotes and motivational pictures around your workspace. Change these quotes or images frequently, to keep them fresh in your mind.
- Help your boss. Frequently, negative attitudes expand along with uncertain job security. Think about what you can do to help your boss keep their job. If their position is stable, they may be more likely to make sure yours is also. Job stability can help reduce negative tension in a workplace.
- Find a new job. It's not easy to remain positive when you don't enjoy your job or work environment. Consider your options for finding other employment if the situation is unbearable. Some bosses and co-workers can be emotionally abusive. If the company environment doesn't look likely to change, evaluate whether this is really the best place for you. Always be networking and keep your resume updated.