Every person, no matter where they work or how much they love their job, is going to have days where it just seems impossible to keep a positive attitude. On days such as these, it is especially important to know how to change your attitude to ensure you don’t get behind on work or even potentially do damage to work relationships.

Studies have shown that having a positive attitude can give you a broader view of life, one that is full of possibilities. Positivity promotes out of the box thinking and gives you the courage to learn new skills you never thought possible. It is clear to see why maintaining a positive attitude in the workplace can drastically improve both your home and work life.

Keeping a positive attitude can be difficult, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you. So here are 11 ways to ensure you keep a positive attitude at work.

1. Surround yourself with positive people

Attitudes are infectious – both good and bad. If you continually surround yourself with negative people who are always complaining, it’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself doing the same.

While you don’t always have the luxury of choosing the people you work with, you do have the choice to distance yourself from the negative individuals. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from a situation that will only bring you down. Instead, opt to go for a walk or do some mindful meditation to bring yourself back to a place of positivity.

2. Be aware of your words

We often don’t think about the words that we use on a daily basis or how those words impact our attitude. If you’re continually using negative words, it can affect how you perceive the world, yourself, and those around you.

Try to be more aware of how you choose to think and speak while at work and do your best to view everything and everyone in a positive manner. You’ll be sure to notice a difference in your attitude.

3. Be kind to others

When someone stops to say a kind word to you on your way into work, you may find that it can impact your entire day. So why wouldn’t you want to do the same for others?

The reciprocity principle, which is one of the fundamental laws of social psychology, states that in most social situations we pay back what we receive from others. So if you’re making it a point to be kind to others, then it will be returned. In time, it will become a cycle of generosity and happiness that will improve your personal and work life.

4. Turn negative into positive

It can be very easy to get caught in a negative loop of thoughts. Perhaps a co-worker said something that was rude or your boss wasn’t completely satisfied with your work. Their words hurt and you just can’t seem to let it go.

Rather than stewing over their words, take the time to reframe what happened, and find a way to turn a negative into a positive. Boss not happy with your work? What an excellent opportunity to learn some new skills and wow them on the next project! That co-worker who was rude? She was just having a bad day and needed someone to talk to. Now you have a new friend at work.

5. Deep breaths!

Breathing deeply in a regulated manner has proven to be able to calm the body. Calm people typically have better attitudes and a more positive outlook.

If you find yourself getting worked up or taking on a negative attitude while at work, step away from the situation to find a place where you can be alone. Practice some deep breathing exercises to clear your mind and bring you back to a place of positivity.

6. Feed your mind positive words and music

Just as with surrounding yourself with positive people to influence your attitude, the same can be done with what you listen to or read. On your way into work or while on a break, make sure you are listening to uplifting and positive audio books or music. Read books that encourage growth and positivity or watch videos that can help you improve skills.

If the saying, “You are what you eat” is true, then your mind is what you feed it. If you want a positive mindset, then feed your mind positivity!

7. Embrace learning and curiosity

If you have closed off your mind to learning new things, it can quickly grow negative and idle. When in this state, the potential to develop or acquire new skills becomes quite tricky.

Try to become a person that is always willing to learn and is curious about many things. Your attitude will noticeably improve because being curious and open to new situations will make you mindful and more aware of the present. Being present is a great way to force out negativity.

8. Don’t be afraid to laugh

Everybody enjoys being around someone who is willing to laugh at their own mistakes or someone who can bring a little lightheartedness to an otherwise intense situation. 

If your team is in the middle of a nightmare project and you begin to feel tensions rise, don’t be afraid to try and find humor in the situation. Not only will it improve your attitude, but others around you will also appreciate some much-needed humor.

9. Take responsibility for your actions

One surefire way to damage a positive attitude is by not taking responsibility for your actions or the way you respond to situations.

If you acknowledge that you didn’t handle something in the best possible way, this allows you to correct the behavior so that it won’t happen again. Taking control of your actions enables you to view life as something positive that you created rather than feeling as though you’re at the mercy of fate.

10. Decide how to react to problems ahead of time

It is inevitable that there are going to be things you don’t want to deal with at work. You know they’re going to put you in a bad mood, so it’s important to decide how to react to the situation ahead of time.

If you have a weekly meeting with an individual who is consistently negative, try to steer the conversation in a positive direction. No matter what the problem is, do your best to influence the situation positively.

11. Set personal goals

It can be tough to be a positive person if you feel as though all the hard work you do is leading to nowhere. Setting personal goals is a great way to demonstrate you’re moving forward and working towards something.

Set both short-term and long-term goals that you know you can achieve. As you accomplish each goal, you’ll be reminded that you are taking concrete steps, and you’ll want to continue on your positive path!