Adding more positivity can benefit our lives in many ways, but it’s especially powerful at work. Chances are you have found yourself making a bad day worse by clouding your mind with negative thoughts. If you had rejected that first negative thought in favor of a positive one, your day may have never spiraled downhill.
Even if we love our jobs, most of us wouldn’t do it for free, and we certainly wouldn’t spend as much time at work as we do now if we didn’t have to. When you consider how much of our lives we spend working, it’s especially important that we make that time happy and meaningful, otherwise we’ll have miserable lives.
Celebrate the small achievements
It’s easy to fall into the trap of internalizing all of the setbacks and obstacles we face at work, but only celebrate the big successes. Make note of the little victories you have every day, like the customer’s problem you resolved quickly or the to-do list you cleared off.
Recognize the difference between “happy” and “fulfilled”
These two words are not synonymous in the workplace. As an exercise, make two columns on a piece of paper, one titled “happy” and the other “fulfilled.” In the happy column put things that make you immediately pleased, like a longer lunch break, a flexible schedule, or anything that’s nice but doesn’t offer lifelong meaning.
In the fulfilled category, write long-term goals, even if those goals means being unhappy for a short time, like a promotion or raise. Identify which you of those you want and target them with all your efforts.
Play to your strengths
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. A healthy person acknowledges both. Find a career that emphasizes your strengths so you set yourself up for success. If you already have a job, maneuver yourself to a position in the company that requires those skills. For example, if you find that customer service isn’t for you, talk to your employer about limiting those duties and taking on something else.
Validate and reward other people
By acknowledging other people’s accomplishments and rewarding their achievements, you create a culture of positivity where people look forward to coming to work. That type of environment will spread and make everyone feel fulfilled.
Keep yourself in the present
Past mistakes are just that… past. Don’t spend any energy harping on the mistakes and obstacles of yesterday, except to use them as opportunity to do better today. Once you have drawn any lessons from your mistakes, put them behind you for good.
Maintain a sense of humor
Humor and lightheartedness give us brief moments of happiness in what may be a dull work day. Engage with your colleagues on topics other than work. Laughing can clear your mind, put you in a better mood, and help you accomplish more. Even faking a laugh has positive effects on our physiology.
In what ways do you strive to be more positive in your life? Send me a tweet @sherryablair with the hashtag #PositiveThoughts!
Sherry is a New Jersey Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Board Certified Professional Counselor and a IABMCP Professional Coach. She volunteers as a mentor for Graduate Students pursuing positive psychology Master Degrees through the International Positive Psychology Association. She is an Advanced Trainer/Certified Nurtured Heart Specialist and has served on the Ethics & Global Summit 2011 Committees for Howard Glasser and The Nurtured Heart Approach, a transformational approach that changes lives.
Sherry Blair inspires and motivates others by applying and encouraging Positive Psychology. She uses her skills to teach others how to build effective teams, and use non-violent communication to achieve results and resolve conflict. Teaching others to speak from their hearts is a key constituent of the work she does.