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5 Simple Ways to Shed Negativity and Keep a Positive Attitude at Work
1st April 2022
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Positive attitude is the state of mind which focuses on the positive side of the coin in every situation. Having this state of mind makes all the difference between successful, happy people and bitter, unfulfilled ones.
How does keeping a positive attitude help, you ask? Numerous researchers aver that
- It boosts creativity and innovation
- You become more constructive and dedicated towards your goals
- It improves social bonds
- It increases failure tolerance and overall well-being
- You experience less stress and more conversion of opportunities
If being positive has so many perks, why is it so difficult for people to stay positive at work? Because…
The human brain has an inherent negative bias. Negativity just makes a bigger impact on our brains. From an evolutionary point of view, our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily most likely evolved to keep us out of harm's way – an arguably good reason. But this bias is at work in every area of our lives and at all times.
And because of the disproportionate weight of the negative, to maintain a positive attitude, the balance between positive and negative experiences cannot be a clean 50-50. According to research, that magic ratio is five to one. We need five positive experiences to counteract the damage wrought by one negative experience. Let that sink in!
To be positive we need to make more effort than to be negative. This negative bias literally makes us work five times harder to maintain our positivity. For most people, it is easy to be positive when everything is going fine, contrarily it becomes difficult to stay positive in dire circumstances. It's so much easier to turn down a new initiative or blame others for not converting a deal.
The social Intelligence deficit amongst most people exacerbates the problem. We generally mix our personal and professional life and vent out anger on the wrong people, or at the wrong time or both, making things worse for everyone involved. Sometimes our assumptions and communication gap contributes to misunderstandings, hurt feelings and less support from colleagues.
All said and done, this negativity bias can seriously hurt our productivity. When in a negative frame of mind, we’re upset and it makes us distracted.
While we can’t fully get rid of the negativity bias, thankfully, there are strategies we can all use to minimize it. Here are some simple and specific steps you can take to stay positive.
1. Physical and mental health
Monitor your overall well-being. Perform physical exercises to reduce stress and release serotonin (happiness hormone). Couple them with some breathing and try to practice meditation. Keep up with a healthy diet, try to smile and laugh as much as possible.
Pick up some simple, calming habits like sun gazing, walking more often or reading to start your day on a positive note. Catching up with a friend or just watching your favourite comedy show can release those happy hormones.
The better care you take of your body and mind, the more fulfillment will reflect in your work. Take out time just for yourself.
2. SMART goal setting
Set realistic goals; SMART (small, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) goals for yourself. With every achievable task, you feel accomplished. State clear expectations for yourself and don't overburden with work.
Remember how we used to motivate ourselves in school that if I complete this task by tomorrow, I will buy myself chocolate? Celebrate small wins, even the smallest. Every step counts.
3. Research tools to increase productivity and reduce the effort
One of the most evolved fields of human resource development is the management of employees’ productivity and long-term performance. Some effective management tools are given below
- One-on-one performance feedback - Regular performance discussions have proved to improve relationships between employees and their managers. Companies like Adobe, Google and IBM are also keeping up with the stand and reducing their employee turnover by over 30%.
- Personal development plans (PDPs) - It is a performance management tool where you increase productivity and engagement through the personal development of employees. This can restore focus in the new workforce and help them work in the right direction.
- Software for communication and collaboration- Slack, Fleep and Shift provide flexible communication and manage call accounts in one place i.e Google drive, email etc.
- Time tracking software - Softwares like Toggle, Harvest, Paymo, Everhour and Hubstaff stimulate seamless integration, reporting and history of entries in both desktop and mobile apps.
- Note making tools - Apart from using your brain to remember minute details and creative mind maps, some software like Evernote, MS OneNote, Google Keep are some trusted tools to collect everything including audio files, videos, images and links in one place and enable real-time collaboration.
4. Focus on problem-solving than complaining
Be accountable for your actions. When you work in an organisation you become a part of it, assume responsibility and try to solve problems at your level.
Complaining is a way of seeing everything in the dark tunnel without acknowledging the bright Sun outside.
Stay away from people who complain a lot and surround yourself with people who focus more on conflict resolution and problem-solving.
Avoid both gossip and gossipers.
5. Practice gratitude
Maintain a journal and write things you are grateful for, every day. You can also stick positive affirmations like " I am enough", "Stay calm", "Just an extra mile more" around your work desk. They set reminders of positivity for you.
Remember positivity comes from inside, by pushing yourself a little more but you can rely on positive quotes, books or people to keep going.
Be grateful for what you have and utilise the available resources more efficiently. Try to practice gratitude verbally and indulge in random acts of kindness without expecting a return. Spread the contagious positivity.
Be conscious of your body language too. Try to be more open, transparent and responsible while working.
Bonus Tip: Keep Upskilling
To keep excitement alive, even after years of corporate life, the mantra is to be eager to learn and update yourself to the latest developments in your domain.
Striving to stay positive is not easy and that's why we have more toxic people in our work culture than positive ones. But it’s well worth the effort.
While these strategies work for most people, there’s no saying what will work for you. So keep experimenting and you’ll soon find out what floats your boat!
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