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Being positive means you are choosing to see the bright side of things.
It means that you can recognize that struggle and pain are not the only things out there, even if they are the only things you can see at the time.
Positivity means you see the best in other people, even if you have to really search for it. Even with pain and sorrow, being positive means that you can always find the good, and you are able to focus your energy on that.
However, staying positive in life and at work is easier said than done. It is a conscious decision that you have to make on a daily basis. Positivity is about believing in the power of support and confidence and having faith that things will always get better.
Taking a positive approach to life helps us develop a healthy pattern of self-talk, which influences how we view and act in the world we live in.
No matter whether you are with learning to be positive or trying to stay positive, these tips for adding optimism to your daily life will help you look on the bright side, even if you aren’t sure one exists.
Tips for Positivity in Life
1. Start your day in a positive way.
How do you start off your day?
Do you hit the snooze button over and over while dreading getting out of bed? What you do and how you feel first thing in the morning usually sets the tone for the rest of your day.
You have a choice every morning when you wake up. You can embrace the day and start it off with something positive, like a quick workout or a calming meditation session—or you can try to avoid even getting out of bed.
Either way, you still have to get up and go to work or do whatever you are responsible for that day.
Find out more about starting your morning the right way.
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2. Eat healthy.
The food you regularly eat not only affects your weight, it also influences how you feel and behave. For example, it is important to start your day off with a proper breakfast.
Research shows that eating breakfast helps improve one's mood and provides people with stable energy throughout the day. This helps prevent drops in blood sugar that can lead to crankiness, anxiety, and fatigue. Start your day off with a lot of fiber and nutrients, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole-grain carbohydrates.
For the remainder of the day, develop a healthy eating habit that will help you control your weight and feel better. This will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
3. Exercise regularly.
One of the keys to staying positive in life is health and fitness. Regular exercise boosts your mood, releases endorphins that make you feel better and help improve your mental and physical well-being.
A few benefits of exercise include:
Set realistic goals and be consistent with your exercise. Whether this means finding a friend who will help keep you accountable, or someone who will join you for exercise classes, make sure to stick with it.
4. Get enough quality sleep.
Sleep and stress go hand in hand. If you do not get enough quality sleep, your stress will be magnified, which will inevitably prevent you from looking at the positive side of things.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 26-64 should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night in order to keep themselves feeling positive during the day.
A lack of sleep can affect not only your physical and mental health but your work performance as well. Getting a good night’s sleep on the regular should be a priority if you want to improve your quality of life.
5. Get a pet.
Sure, pets aren’t for everyone—but for those who are open to the possibility, taking care of another being helps you find a sense of purpose, and boosts your happiness. There are several ways that having a pet can boost your positivity, well-being and overall outlook on life.
First, petting your cat or dog can help lower your blood pressure and anxiety. It can help ease tension in your muscles and make you feel calm. Playing with your pet also increases the amount of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, which are both chemicals that naturally make you feel good.
Having a pet can also encourage you to get more exercise, and get out into the community as you take your furry friend for walks.
The National Institutes of Health even found that people who endure stressful situations recover faster when they spend time with their pets, rather than with their friends or partners.
6. Listen to music that puts you into a positive mood.
Music lifts the spirits and can be therapeutic. Science has shown that music actually has a physical effect on our bodies, as well.
While you listen to music, it has a positive effect on the autonomic nervous system, which controls your blood pressure, heartbeat, and limbic system—which is in charge of your emotions and feelings. Music has also been shown to decrease anxiety.
Make yourself a go-to playlist for whenever you need a mood booster. Put your favorite songs on it to make you happy, and you will likely stay positive.
7. Surround yourself with positive influences.
Surround yourself with people who bring you up instead of down. Seriously take a look at the people you spend the majority of time with.
According to Jim Rohn we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Now, this statement may be a bit glib, but it also has some truth. We do take on aspects of those we associate with.
You may not have control of this when it comes to your workplace, but outside of that, have the courage to let go of people who impact your life negatively.
If you have a friend who is constantly negative, try to distance yourself from that person. If someone is always complaining about their life or their situation, the negativity is likely to rub off on you and put you into a similar mindset. Likewise, if you are with people who are positive about their lives, they will be able to influence you to feel the same.
8. Mindfully move through your day.
Practice mindfulness throughout the day, and learn to appreciate life more by staying in the present. If you learn how to live mindfully, you will be able to ward off feelings of anxiety or rumination that often make people feel negative.
By practicing mindfulness, you can change the way that your thoughts manage your life. You can learn how to take charge of the things going on in your head. Make the choice to be positive in each moment in order to get yourself out of negative thought loops and enhance your gratitude for the present time.
9. Share your issues.
Having someone listen mindfully to your problems can be therapeutic, if done right. Make sure you only share your worries and issues with a trusted friend whom you consider a great listener.
During this time, you will be able to feel close to this person as you share with them some personal issues that you are not making public for everyone else. This way, your trusted friend may be able to relate to you in some way, or show empathy towards your situation.
Sharing your issues may also help you identify the root cause of your problem, or think about a solution that you had not considered before. This will help you think more positively about the situation because you will have a plan in mind to make it better.
You can also air out your frustrations with mindful journaling. You can write in your mindfulness journal at any time, not just during times of crisis. Whenever you recognize your feelings, you can make a note of them and get them out on paper, and return to your day with a positive attitude.
10. Know your values and what really matters to you.
Having a solid foundation of values you believe in helps keep you focused on doing work that truly matters to you.
Everyone has values, whether you recognize them or not. But knowing and acknowledging your values can make your life much easier. It will help you make decisions and plans, and follow through with them.
For example, if you value family, but you work 80 hours per week away from home, you will likely feel internal stress and conflict while you are at work. Also, if you work in a competitive sales job, but you don't value competition, you likely will not be happy with your job.
Values influence how we think and make decisions, and guide how we interact with people.
11. Find the positive viewpoint in a negative situation.
It takes time to figure out how to be positive, even in the most negative situations. Train yourself to ask helpful questions to make sense of a bad situation. “What could I have done better?” “What opportunity does this open?”
For example, say you interviewed for a job and you did not get a job offer. While this may seem like a bad situation, you could choose to use it as an opportunity to think back and consider some things you may have done differently.
Also, you can tell yourself that if this were not the job for you, maybe the next one will be even better. You never know if the job would actually not have been a great fit to begin with.
12. Make your home a positive environment.
Staying positive is easier when you live in a positive environment. Your home should feel like a place of rest and acceptance. It should be a place where you do a lot of healthy activities. The things that make you happy that are not mind draining activities like watching too much TV.
Our homes can really represent who we are. If you wake up and live in a positive environment, you are likely to be able to carry that attitude over to your everyday life. What we do at home shapes our mood, has an impact on our productivity, and affects our outlook on life.
Studies have shown that we can increase our positivity by adjusting the small habits and routines that make up our daily lives. Make small, positive changes at home such as making your bed each morning or tidying up each room before you leave it. These small things can make a big difference in your outlook on life.
13. Add value and positivity to someone else’s life.
Take a hard look at how you treat people in your life. Is there anywhere you can show more kindness and patience? Can you help out more?
Start at home. Is there something you could do at home that would help take the strain off of some of the people living with you?
For example, if you typically just toss your dirty dishes in the sink, maybe you could start washing them or putting them in the dishwasher. Or, if you find the dishwasher full of clean dishes, maybe you can put them away instead of putting your dirty dish next to the dishwasher.
Also, there are likely several opportunities in your community to help out. Local soup kitchens or animal shelters can always use some help. If you are not sure where to start, ask some local churches for organizations that are looking for volunteers.
14. Practice gratitude.
Positive and happy people practice gratitude. Try some gratitude journaling to remind yourself of the good things you have in life.
Gratitude can have many positive effects on your overall health. For example, studies have shown that having gratitude reduces many toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, and frustration.
Leading researchers in the practice of gratitude have also found that there is a strong link between one's overall well-being and the amount of time they spend practicing gratitude. The research confirms that gratitude increases feelings of positivity and reduces depression.
15. Keep your posture positive.
Carry yourself with “positive posture” to help your mind feel more positive. Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, hold your chin high, and stretch your arms out wide. This is called the “power pose.”
Recent research has found that confident people typically have higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol. Essentially, the right levels of hormones can help you feel more confident and less stressed out.
What is most interesting about this research is that it found that testosterone and cortisol levels can quickly change depending on social, physical, and environmental cues around you.
When it comes to feeling more positive, one of the physical cues that has an impact is your body language. If you know how to improve your body language, you can get your testosterone and cortisol levels in order, and quickly feel more positive and confident.
Tips to Be More Positive at Work
16. Leave work at work.
Make a point to not bring work or your work mindset home with you at the end of the day. Blurring the lines between your work time and personal time can have a negative impact on your health and family life.
Even if you love your job, work can still be stressful and all-consuming. If you let it come home with you, it can interrupt dinner with your family, as well as the important time you have at night to relax.
If you are able to practice mindfulness, it will help you leave work at work. Direct your attention entirely to your current surroundings. If you find your mind wandering to work worries, recognize the thought and gently dismiss it. You may even need to spend a few moments focusing on your breath to return back to the current moment.
17. Make and keep a compliment file or box.
Some call this their “sunshine” box. It's basically a collection of good things people have said about you. Take a peek when you feel down to remind yourself of your positive traits.
When you get a compliment from someone, it is almost like getting a gift. It is positive energy being passed on to you through appreciation. Getting the right compliment can certainly make your day, cheer you up, help you feel appreciated, and definitely help you feel more positive.
However, these gifts of appreciation are probably not at the front of your mind when you are having a bad day. If you keep notes for yourself of the nice things people have said to you or about you, you will always be able to put these thoughts into the front of your mind.
18. Give yourself a break.
It is nearly impossible to stay positive if you are always down on yourself and critical of your own work and efforts. This often leads to burnout.
Burning out at work is one of the fastest ways to lose motivation, focus, and productivity. Give your mind and body regular breaks so you perform at your best. Studies show that taking short, frequent breaks at work give office workers more stamina and re-energize them for when they get back to work.
Some other benefits that this study showed come from taking breaks at work include higher job satisfaction, a lower amount of emotional exhaustion, and more positive feelings about the work that has been done for the day. It also encourages workers to take on work that is above and beyond their job description.
If you want more ideas, here are some self care ideas for women to prevent burnout.
19. Learn to take criticism in a healthy way.
Taking criticism can certainly be difficult. However, at some point in your career, you will encounter someone who wants to tell you how you could improve. While this may seem hard to deal with at the moment, it's not all bad. Sometimes, you can take that criticism and use it to give you a competitive edge.
Recognize that receiving negative feedback or a poor performance evaluation is a positive thing. If your boss tells you that your work doesn't seem to be progressing, or it is sloppy at times, this is an opportunity for improvement and growth. Pause, and don’t react right away. Accept that mistakes can happen. Learn from them and move on.
20. Learn how to recognize serious problems versus slight difficulties.
As the old adage goes, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” Exaggerating already negative situations not only makes you and other people feel bad, but it also makes those around you look at you in a different, negative light.
Let’s say the copy machine is jammed and you are in a rush to get some papers out. How do you react? Do you get verbally upset and act like this copy machine jam is the end of your career? No. Take a breath and put it into perspective. It can be fixed.
21. Keep learning.
Acknowledging that you don’t know everything, and being willing to continue your learning helps keep you grounded, competitive, and motivated.
If you make it a point to keep learning, not only will you be able to have deeper discussions with other people more confidently, but you will also be more interesting to other people.
As long as you can back up any conversation you have with the latest research, people will always look at you as an authority on the subject. You may even surprise yourself with how much you can learn and teach others when you put your mind to a new task or subject.
22. Focus on one thing at a time.
Multitasking gives the illusion of doing multiple tasks at the same time, when in fact you’re only giving partial focus to many tasks, resulting in poor quality work. Avoid bad work habits such as this, and save yourself the trouble of feeling incompetent.
Multi-tasking can be dangerous, and not just if you are trying to text and drive. Studies show that people who are distracted at work by emails and phone calls all day have a 10% reduction in their IQ.
So, how can multitasking at work be dangerous? Picture this.
You just sent a client an email. This was immediately followed by another email, this time including the attachment you forgot to add. Finally, your third email was an explanation of why that attachment wasn’t actually what he was expecting it to be. Once you eventually refocus on the conference call that you are on, you realize you missed a question that the director of the company just asked you.
Focus on one thing at a time.
23. Set attainable work goals.
Celebrate the small successes on the way to your bigger goals. It is important to have a sense of intrinsic motivation for your work, meaning that you enjoy the process of doing the work and not just the paycheck. Set small, attainable goals, and they will all add up over time to a larger goal that you may not have even realized was within reach.
24. Know your intrinsic motivation.
Speaking of intrinsic motivation, it is important to know what makes you tick. Intrinsic motivation is when you feel energized and fulfilled by the actions of what you are doing. You find the process of your task to be rewarding. While you may find that you experience small triumphs while you are working, you would still do the task even if you got nothing material out of it.
For example, let's say you like to knit because you find it to be stress-relieving, and it gives you a sense of peace and quiet. Even if you didn't get a blanket or a sweater in the end, you still just enjoy the process of moving the needles and being able to do a calming activity.
25. Help make your workplace a positive place to work in.
Creating a positive atmosphere in the workplace goes a long way toward building better relationships, encouraging creativity, and boosting productivity.
In fact, your work environment has a great impact on your mood and job satisfaction. If employees have to spend eight hours a day working in a dark and dreary office setting alongside unfriendly co-workers, they probably won't feel positive about going to work in the morning; and once they are there, they are likely not to be motivated or feel confident enough to speak up.
Creating a productive work environment is critical to the success of a company and its employees.
26. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.
Reward yourself when you meet your goals. It is important to have something to look forward to so you will stick with a habit, even if you are not feeling up to it at the time.
Tony Robbins claims that by rewarding yourself when you accomplish something, your brain evokes positive emotions, which allows you to realize that your efforts resulted in a positive reward. If you do this on a regular basis, your brain will start to associate pleasure with accomplishing the desired task, and move towards it in the future.
27. Build good relationships with coworkers.
Working becomes easier, more comfortable, and fun when you have good relationships with your coworkers. We are naturally social beings. People crave friendship, connection, and positive interactions, just like we crave food and water. It makes sense that having positive relationships at work will make you a happier and more productive employee.
Having good working relationships provides people with several other benefits. Not only is work more enjoyable, but people will be more likely to go out of their way to help you if you find yourself in a bind.
In fact, a recent study found that employees who sit at a large lunch table with their co-workers are 36% more productive during the workweek, and have 30% lower stress levels than employees who sit at small tables.
28. Encourage others.
Words hold power, especially when you’re a leader encouraging your team. Encourage employees and coworkers by telling them you believe in them and their abilities even before they start.
If you give an employee a daunting task or something new that may seem intimidating, make sure to tell them that you believe in them and that you chose them for this job for a reason. Encourage people so they know their worth to the company and they feel positive about their presence while they are at work.
29. Teach others what you know.
Offer to teach your coworkers what you know. Not only does this make you look good, but it also makes your job easier when they don’t call on you all the time to help solve problems.
While it may seem like you hold some power when you are the only person in the company who knows how to do something, it is actually quite limiting.
If you are the only one who knows how to reboot the server when it is down and you are out sick one day, what if the server fails? The employees who are at work that day will likely be frustrated with you for not sharing that information.
It may seem like sometimes the world is working against us, and negative things are happening all the time. But if you start implementing some of these strategies, you will be able to add more positivity to your life and stop focusing so much on the negative.
Start with just one of these tricks and commit to practicing it every day. Once it becomes a routine, add in another.
Keep reading over this list until you can apply most of these techniques somewhere in your life to make a positive difference.
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