How to Be More Positive at Work

By Holly Marley-Henschen

For most of us, work has its ebbs and flows of exciting, energizing tasks and, on the opposite end, dullness and routine. During this work from home time it can be challenging to stay motivated every day, so here are some ways to perk back up.

Shift into Positivity Mode

Author and speaker Tina Hallis says the brain is wired to look for the negative aspects of our lives. “We can do a lot to improve our mood at work just by shifting and saying, ‘Ok, I acknowledge it’s normal to have a default mode of thinking about the things that are unfair and that I don’t like,’” she says. “But I’m going to purposefully find things that are good, that I appreciate, that I enjoy.”

Remember Your “Why”

When work has you feeling hopeless, take a trip down memory lane. “Think back and remember what used to excite you about the job. What were you excited to be part of? What purpose could you see for yourself in this role?” Hallis says. Step back in time and feel those emotions, then write your thoughts down and reread them every morning or once a week.

Breathe and Smile

A few slow, deep breaths can do wonders to relieve our stress at work, Hallis says. Deep breaths lower the stress hormone cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate. This helps the brain think more clearly, she says.

Another tip: “Just do a fake smile. Not just with your mouth and your cheeks, but a real fake smile where you also activate the muscles around your eyes,” Hallis says. Studies by Dr. Richard Davidson and others using functional MRIs have shown that the parts of the brain associated with happiness and feeling good light up with these kinds of smiles.

Talk it Out With a Trusted Friend or Family Member

“When you’re the person stuck in the middle of the drama, it’s helpful to see it from an outside perspective,” Hallis says. People who know you well can offer advice and different perspectives. “Or they might say, ’You’ve really got to get out of there,’” she says.

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