How to Develop a Positive Attitude in the Workplace

4 steps to a happier on-the-job you

If you wake up every morning dreading driving to the job you hate, sitting at your workstation and performing tasks you dislike with people you can’t stand, you probably think having a positive attitude toward work is about as realistic as the last James Bond movie. We can’t all have jobs that we adore, but even if you’re not happy at your job, there are some techniques that you can do to keep yourself and your energy positive, no matter how much you hate Monday mornings.

Step 1: Prepare yourself

Whenever you’re in a situation that is less than ideal, stress is right around the corner. But according to the Mayo Clinic, there’s one way that you can quickly and effectively squash stress — thinking positively. In fact, a University of Wisconsin study recently reported in the New York Times that positive thinking can boost health.

If you walk into your negative work environment thinking negatively, you are probably going to end up sad and stressed before the day is over. But, if you practice positive thinking during the day and before and after work, you can keep a positive mental attitude toward work, even in an office full of the "Gloomy Gus" family.

Step 2: Get perspective

Sarita Maybin of Women’s Media writes that she uses three P's to survive a negative working environment: Personal, Permanent and the big Picture. What this really comes down to is gaining perspective. What happens in a negative job environment usually isn’t geared toward you personally; it’s not going to permanently affect you. And, in the long run, it’s not that important, according to Maybin.

If you think of your job this way, you’re less likely to succumb to negativity. Instead, you can have a positive attitude toward work even in the midst of office drama.

Step 3: Find the positive crowd

If you’re always hanging around the downers, then pretty soon you’re going to be a downer yourself. Instead, try to find the most positive people in the office, and do what you can to be around them. Working with others who have positive attitudes is contagious. Their attitudes will challenge you to be more upbeat and, before you know it, you might be experiencing genuine happiness, in addition to a positive attitude toward work.

Step 4: Get a new job

No, you shouldn’t just quit your job with no prospects because you can’t stand going to work, but you should update your resume while skimming the classifieds and scanning Craigslist. When you’re doing work that you love, you fulfill yourself in a much more satisfying way. And when you’re doing what you love, you also tend to be better at it.

Being a happier, positive person means being true to yourself, even if you have to deal with a step down the corporate ladder or a pay cut. In the end, you’ll earn more than money with a job that fits you perfectly and where it is easy to have a positive attitude.

Tips and warnings

In the University of Wisconsin study, people were asked to practice positive thinking by recalling a moment of happiness. The next time you feel down at work, try the same technique to see if you can muster a positive attitude about work. If you find yourself saying negative words and thinking negative thoughts to impress the people above you, it’s time to find a new job as soon as you can. Never let the competitive environment of the work place change your positive energy and attitude.

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