13 Ways To Stay Positive at Work

August 14, 2015

As an HR professional, you’re always in a good mood, spreading positivity wherever you go. Wait—what’s that? You’re not always in a good mood? Sometimes you just wanna squeeze a stress ball until it explodes? Well, don’t worry too much about that. Our bodies are biologically programmed to be that way. Back when mankind was more primitive, it served us very well to always be on the lookout for impending doom (Oh no, a saber-toothed tiger!). But today, that effect has limited value. Especially in HR, where our positive attitudes favorably affect every facet of our business.

As much as we are predisposed to be pessimistic and negative, we are also very susceptible to positivity—it’s contagious in a good way. And since studies have shown positivity is correlated to career success, it’s clear that staying positive is imperative to your business. And that’s to say nothing of the positive physical and mental effects that come from staying positive. With that in mind, here are 13 ways to stay positive each and every day at work:

1. Develop a solid morning routine. You don’t have to be a morning person to get the day off to a good start. You may not want to go jogging for an hour while listening to upbeat music and cook a large three-course breakfast before work, and that’s okay. Maybe the routine that works for you is a warm shower, Pop Tarts and a favorite podcast. Whatever you know puts you in a good mood, do that thing. Just make sure to give yourself enough room to get to work on time, avoiding stressful commutes and other anxieties.

2. Show gratitude. Whether you keep a gratitude journal or make a point to acknowledge things you’re grateful for each day, it’s easy to stay positive when you do. But gratitude doesn’t stop at acknowledgment. Express it verbally frequently, and perform random acts of kindness as often as possible . You’ll feel good about yourself and others. Not only is life easier when we’re grateful, but life is longer too.

3. Live healthy. Make your health a priority. Exercise regularly, and couple that exercise with relaxation and meditation. Among regular exercises, make sure to smile and laugh as often as possible. As with most exercises, you may not be in the mood to do either sometimes, but the more you smile and laugh, the better you’ll be at it (and the better you’ll feel). Also, maintain a healthy and properly hydrated diet, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Health and positivity have a reciprocal relationship, so the more you do one the easier the other will be.

4. Celebrate often. You don’t have to organize a party every day, but always make sure to recognize the performance of your coworkers and celebrate their successes (big and small) with them. A simple “great job!” will often suffice, but the point is do it. They’ll feel more appreciated, and the positive vibes will carry everyone forward to the next success.

5. Keep learning. Whether it be a new job skill or a personal interest, always be learning. Read good books. Pick up new hobbies. Positivity comes from appreciating all the world has to offer, and we may forget the world’s brilliance when we stop learning new things.

6. Take breaks. It’s too bad people don’t actually come with batteries included. Because that way we would know when we absolutely must recharge. As it is, far too often we go until we’re burned out, at which point it is very difficult to stay positive. Take small breaks throughout your workday, and when you’re really lagging, go on a vacation. Even the energizer bunny needs an occasional recharge.

7. Maintain balance. Make time for the most important people in your life, namely your family and loved ones. If your personal life is in order and you’re in healthy relationships outside of work, it’ll spill over to your job in a good way (and the opposite is also true). Never overlook the importance of a solid work-life balance.

8. Make coworkers your friends. It’s always easier to stay in a good mood among friends, so make your coworkers friends! As you’re developing friendships with coworkers, navigate towards positive people. Of course be friendly with everyone, but be careful not to spend too much time around those who are disgruntled or gossipy. They may start to wear off on you, steering you into a dead end of negativity.

9. Decorate your workspace. It’s a small thing, but if your desk is uncomfortable or sterile, it will affect you. Make your workspace your own. Whether that means it’s chalk-full of family photos or covered in Star Wars paraphernalia, just make it true to who you are (Or as Yoda would say, “To who you are be true. Hmmmmmm.”).

10. Set realistic goals. If you’re setting realistic, achievable goals regularly, you’ll constantly feel accomplished. But if your goals aren’t realistic, you’ll always feel behind, like you’re failing. Unrealistic goals may motivate you for a time, but eventually they will lead to negative feelings and attitudes.

11. Focus on your strengths. Did you know that a guy named Tiny Meeker bench pressed 1102 pounds? Can you do that? Of course not! (Unless you’re Tiny, in which case, Hi Tiny!) Just because you can’t lift heavy amounts of weight doesn’t somehow devalue you. So it is with your work. You have your job because there are certain things you do really well. As much as possible, focus on those things, and keep your head up. If your focus is on all the things you cannot do, you will slowly lose your confidence and become pessimistic. That’s not to say that you don’t have weaknesses to improve on—just don’t focus on them.

12. Be creative. Creating something—whether it be a piece of art or a strategic HR solution—brings personal satisfaction. And when you’re creating something that will improve your company, everyone is better off. Others will be grateful for you, you’ll be grateful for their accolades, they’ll be grateful for your gratitude, and so forth and so on. It’s a circle of goodness.

13. Find the positive. One of BambooHR’s prized values is “assume the best.” This means keeping a positive, optimistic outlook towards other people and things. When negative thoughts come, or people appear to be acting poorly, look for the positive. You’ll be surprised how much good there is in any circumstance. Just look for it!

There is so much to like in this world. Now go spread some positivity!

Bryson Kearl

Bryson Kearl is a Copywriter for BambooHR. His role enables him to study HR's impact on organizations, and he is a diehard believer in the vital role HR plays in building company culture by making people the focus of all business efforts.