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How do I Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Work can often be stressful, and it can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude at work if you're feeling frustrated. It is important to do so, however, for a variety of reasons. People who consistently have a positive attitude are more likely to succeed in their jobs, be considered for raises and promotions, and get along better with their coworkers. Stress and constant negativity at work can also negatively impact your health.

Try to deal with stressful situations at work as soon as they arise. If a big project comes up and it will benefit you to finish before the deadline, then try to get it done as soon as possible and eliminate the stress. In addition, if a misunderstanding or trouble with a difficult coworker arises, deal with the problem, resolve the issue, and move on without dwelling on it or continuing to dwell on it.

Treating other people with respect and recognizing others' accomplishments is another way to maintain a positive attitude at work. Even if it is not technically in your job description, you might find that organizing fun events for other employees, such as potluck lunches or birthday celebrations, helps everyone to feel more positive when coming to work. It will also make managers notice your hard work and ability to be a team player.

Take the time you need throughout the day in order to recharge. If you get a lunch hour, for example, be sure to take the whole hour off work. Go for a walk, read a book, or simply sit and relax. It is essential to take this time in order to ensure you do not get burned out and annoyed with your coworkers throughout the day, and it will make you more productive when you do return to work.

Maintaining a positive attitude at work is largely a conscious decision. In every situation that arises throughout the day, you can choose to react with stress and anger or with positivity; if all else fails, fake it. Trying to make the conscious choice to be positive can actually make a big difference and can even affect the way that other people react to you as well. If people know that you remain calm in stressful situations, they will be more likely to address you in a calm way.

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Discussion Comments
By anon300875 — On Nov 01, 2012

I quit a job that I loved because of a bully that taunted me every day. I mean every day. How can I not dwell on it when it's happening every day?

By snickerish — On Oct 19, 2011

From reading others' comments it really seems that maintaining a positive attitude at work is very individual.

For some it comes from identifying the problem and if it is a company difficulty - such as unprofessional behavior then it is best to deal with the stress (as the article mentioned) and deal with it using the appropriate authority channels at your work.

For others they found that by balancing their life outside of work, they found the stress at work less important and were consequently able to enjoy their work and therefore have a more positive attitude.

For me, I had to switch jobs. I was in a job that forced me to be balancing on my definition of unethical by being spread so thin that I could not give my clients the care that they deserved.

And needless to say it did not help in maintaining a positive attitude, although I tried to be positive when working with my clients. In the end, by switching jobs, I have never found myself in that situation again and it has absolutely changed my life and positive attitude.

By lonelygod — On Oct 18, 2011

I think a lot of what helps to keep employee attitude positive is what the company is willing to do. I think strict rules against work harassment and making sure that everyone is on the same page go a long way to keeping things positive at work.

I remember at my old office that we had some problems with a few of the male staff members making inappropriate jokes with the female employees. They were promptly put on probation and their attitude became a lot more formal. This actually helped improve the attitude of everyone at work. Sometimes everyone just being professional helps a lot.

By manykitties2 — On Oct 17, 2011

There is a lot to be said about the power positive thinking has but it can only go so far. I used to have a job where my work colleagues were completely miserable due to an overbearing boss, and no matter how hard you tried, it was impossible to stay upbeat.

I eventually quit the job because I think that employee outlook is not just a case of how to keep a positive attitude at work. Sometimes there are very strong external factors around you that make things tough. In the long run I think you need a decent environment in order to stay positive.

By subway11 — On Oct 17, 2011

@Cafe41 - A few years when I first got out of college I got what I thought was a great job with a high salary. I later found out that the job itself was making me miserable and I hated coming to work.

What I decided to do was start a running program after work. I ended up running five miles a day for four days a week. After my run not only was I more relaxed, but I was able to think more clearly about my job.

After I began exercising regularly, I started to feel a little more relaxed and I think that it had to do with the physiological effects of exercise. Exercise does elevate your mood and make you feel better overall.

I was happier at work and the things that used to bother me were not that big of a deal anymore. Exercise gave me my optimism back and made me look at things as an opportunity rather than a problem. My optimism was catching on and the people around me started to look at things with rosier glasses too.

By cafe41 — On Oct 16, 2011

@Oasis11- That is true, but I think that happy employees also have a balanced life. While these employees might experience a lot of stress at work, they also have an active social life that they engage in that will allow them to take their mind off of work during their time off. Getting involved in a charity can also change the way you look at things and make you more grateful in life and will allow you to view your job in a better light.

Helping others does relieve a certain amount of stress and it also makes us feel happier. Volunteering to learn something new that the company will sponsor also lets you appreciate your job more and develop a more positive attitude. Some companies offer educational seminars and many go as far as offering tuition reimbursement for those employees that want to further their career by getting additional education.

This can also help you feel more hopeful for the future especially if you have a negative attitude because you feel your job is boring and somewhat of a dead-end.

By oasis11 — On Oct 16, 2011

I think that developing a positive attitude at your workplace is choice that you have to decide to make if you want to succeed and have a normal life. Every job contains a level of stress that some people may have a hard time to manage, but focusing on what you have rather than what you prefer is the best choice.

If your job is really stressful understand that at least you have a job to go to. Many people have been displaced by unemployment and are trying to find a job and would probably trade places with you just to get working again.

I think that when we put things in perspective we realize that things are not so bad and we can actually look at our job in a different light. Considering the positive aspects of your job and focusing on that will help you manage the difficult stressful times at your job. That is really how to remain positive in my opinion.

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