Have you ever wondered how some people manage to stay positive even in the darkest of times? What is it about their personality or attitude that allows them to focus on the bright side of things?

When life throws you one curveball after another and the future is shrouded by uncertainty, staying positive can be challenging.

It’s not easy to find reasons to smile when plans don’t work out the way you thought they would, and problems keep piling up.

Fortunately, there is a way to survive life’s daily hassles and still find the strength to smile at the end of the day.

It’s called positive thinking, and it has nothing to do with forced smiles and happy thoughts. 

What is Positive Thinking?

Lately, “positive thinking” has become an increasingly popular expression.

Today, the Internet is bristling with articles that urge us to smile more often, think positively, and adopt an optimistic outlook on life.

Broadly speaking, this concept is often presented as a universal solution to our everyday problems.

However, there is some discrepancy between the general perception and the opinion of experts who’ve approached positive thinking from a scientific angle.

More specifically, positive thinking is not just about smiles and ‘happy’ thoughts, and in no case is the miraculous solution that will put an end to uncertainty and adversity.

To truly understand what positive thinking is (and isn’t), we need to look at one of the fundamental approaches of modern psychology.

It all began after the Second World War when researchers like Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi laid the foundation of Positive Psychology.

This new approach aimed to explore the factors that can help us reach that good life we all desire. It’s a promising field which studies the behaviors and habits that cultivate resilience and set the foundation for a positive outlook on life.

Basically, instead of focusing on repairing what’s broken, Positive Psychology seeks to improve on what’s already working.

In a nutshell, being a positive thinker means cultivating a solution-centered mindset, relying on your internal resources and ‘fortifying’ the strengths you already have.

How to Stay Positive at Work

#1 Don’t get your emotions tangled up in work-related matters

Considering that many of us spend most of our waking hours at work, it’s no surprise that we often forge strong bonds with our co-workers, and the office becomes our second home.

Slowly but surely, we begin to invest emotions in what we do at work.

In other words, work-related problems become personal problems that haunt us even after we leave the office. The conflicts and tensions that may arise at work begin to creep into our personal life, affecting us more than they should.

All the obstacles, challenges, and negative vibes that may characterize the workplace can quickly lead to an overall negative outlook on life.

Sometimes, a ‘cold,’ detached approach to work-related challenges can be the best way to keep your work-related problems in check. That way, you avoid ‘contaminating’ your personal life with all that negativity that may sometimes characterize your workplace.

Focus on solutions instead on the negative stuff

Put negativity aside and focus on solutions.

#2 Remind yourself the positive aspects of your job

No matter how passionate you are about your job, there are times when work becomes a source of disappointment, frustration, and even anxiety.

And since our natural tendency is to catastrophize any adversity (big or small) life might throw down our path, the negative aspects of our job can quickly take over our entire life, making us feel miserable, even when we’re not at work.

There’s a thin line between “My job sucks” and “My life sucks.

But despite the negative atmosphere that might characterize your workplace, there’s always a positive side. You need to look beyond the worry, doubt, frustration, and disappointment that cloud your perspective.

In fact, the very fact that you have a job is something to be grateful for.

Can you think of other positive aspects that can make your job seem less ‘negative’?

I’m sure you’ll find some!

#3 Focus on solutions

Have you ever noticed how some people choose to blame anyone or anything but themselves whenever a problem occurs? Or how some are more preoccupied with complaining and shouting instead of looking for solutions?

Unfortunately, such attitudes contribute significantly to the negative atmosphere that you often deal with at work.

Having a positive attitude means focusing on solutions, rather than problems.

When the project you’re in charge of hits a roadblock or doesn’t go in the desired direction, looking for ways to overcome obstacles (instead of complaining about the gravity of the situation) will help you adopt a more positive perspective.

In fact, positive thinkers enjoy the challenge brought by the problem and devote themselves entirely to solving it without wasting time on complaints and useless chatter.

Having a positive attitude means focusing on solutions, rather than problems. Click To Tweet

How to Stay Positive at Home

#4 Set up a gratitude journal

Before you go ahead and set up your gratitude journal, let’s take the time to understand the meaning of this word.

While The Oxford Dictionaries define gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness,” The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a strong feeling of appreciation to someone or something for what the person has done to help you.”

Gratitude teaches us not to take life for granted. It helps us see all the good things – the simple and small joys of life – that we usually forget about.

Even studies indicate that counting your blessings (versus burdens) can lead to increased wellbeing.

In a way, gratitude is like Kryptonite for the negativity that can sometimes cloud our judgment, ruin our mood, and make us forget about the bright side of things.

Luckily, a gratitude journal is exactly what you need to keep a balanced perspective on life. And it’s ridiculously easy to use!

Pick up a notebook and, each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for.

Show Kindness to People

When was the last time you showed kindness to someone?

#5 Do something nice for your neighbor

Another relevant concept that Positive Psychology often promotes as a way of increasing well-being is kindness.

While some call it a virtue, others see kindness as a character trait. But in my opinion, the best definition is that of Mark Twain who believed:

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.

To put it differently, kindness is a universally-understood value through which we can develop a positive mindset. It is the driving force behind every action that brings a drop of positivity into our world.

And what better way to exercise it then by doing random acts of kindness!?

Experts in Positive Psychology believe random acts of kindness not only brighten other people’s day but also increase your wellbeing.

It could be anything from helping your neighbor carry his/her groceries to giving a sincere compliment to a co-worker.

Make your world more positive, one random act of kindness at a time.

#6 Practice self-care

As the name suggests, self-care refers to a variety of habits and activities that are meant to improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Taking care of yourself (physically and emotionally) is the key to healthy living and a great way to prevent problems such as anxiety, depression, and stress.

In a world where uncertainty and negativity generate personal and professional struggles, it’s important to set aside some time for the small pleasures that can lift your mood and brighten your day.

When it comes to self-care, there are no strict rules or specific guidelines.

Just do whatever makes you feel like you’re looking after yourself.

Whether it’s taking a warm, relaxing bath or going for a nature walk, any activity that helps you relax and forget (for a moment) about the negative aspects of life can boost your overall health and wellbeing. 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for ways to stay positive both at home and at work, then make sure to:

  • Avoid turning work-related problems into personal problems.
  • Be mindful of the positive aspects of your job.
  • Adopt a solution-oriented approach.
  • List three things you’re grateful for each day.
  • Do a random act of kindness each day.
  • Practice self-care.

So, what do you think about our advice on how to stay positive at work and home? Have you ever tried one of the strategies mentioned above? Which one did you find most useful? Are there any other strategies that have helped you keep a positive perspective on things?

Share your story by leaving a comment below!

Alexander Draghici - Psychotherapist and Coach in Psyche Guide

Alexander Draghici

Clinical Psychologist, Licensed CBT Therapist.

I’m a Clinical Psychologist and a licensed Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy practitioner. My work focuses mainly on strategies designed to manage and prevent the most common mental issues – anxiety, depression, and stress.

When I’m not busy with my therapeutic practice or other work-related activities, I enjoy going out for a jog or hit the nearby gym.

You can contact me at alex@psycheguide.com, or via LinkedIn (link below), or through the Contact Us page.

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