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Team Effectiveness

The Power of Positive Thinking in the Workplace


Discover the Advantages of a Positive Mindset

The ability to think positively is a valuable skill that develops over time. In today's ever-changing work environments and with external pressures from the fluctuating economy, employees often find themselves overwhelmed, lacking motivation, and uninspired about the future.

However, by embracing the power of positive thinking in the workplace, you can significantly enhance your job satisfaction, level of engagement, and open doors to potential leadership roles.

What is Positive Thinking?

William James, a leading 19th-century psychologist and philosopher, once stated, “Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

Positive thinking is a state of mind—or an optimistic attitude—that focuses on the good and encourages future happiness, health, and success. Contrary to popular belief, positive thinking does not mean ignoring negativity but merely approaching challenging situations expecting the best outcome rather than the worst.  

So, what are the easiest ways to improve and practice positivity?

Improve Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is your inner voice.  Beneficial or destructive, self-talk can alter your emotions or mood, influencing your self-confidence and affecting how you respond to life events. According to research by the American Psychological Association, your inner monologue and language toward yourself directly impacts how you think, feel, and behave in both personal and professional setting.

Self-talk can be positive or negative. Take a look at the following phrases to begin putting positive thinking into practice in the workplace:

Negative Thought Positive Thought
I don’t understand the task. This will be a great opportunity to learn something new.
The project is too complicated. I am going to consult the team on this project.
I am too busy to finish this. I need to prioritize my tasks.
I can’t believe I made that error. I am learning from my mistakes.

By reinforcing positive self-talk over time, your mind will become more optimistic, creating less self-criticism and more acceptance. 

Be Mindful

Practicing mindfulness, the act of being present and aware in the moment, can help improve your positivity and overall well-being. In a work setting, it is sometimes easy to allow your environment and circumstances to control your emotions and mindset. Practicing mindfulness allows more autonomy over what thoughts flow through your head, effectively resetting your mind to the here and now.

To practice mindfulness in the workplace, take a break and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why am I feeling this way?
  • What am I doing right now?
  • What should I delegate?
  •  What is my most important task of the day?
  • Did I reach my goal today?
  • How can I learn from this?
  • What is out of my control? 

It can be easy to get caught up in difficult projects, tight timelines, and challenging workplace conflicts, but setting aside a moment to refocus can create a calm in a sea of change. Practicing mindfulness can help increase your focus, creativity, and resilience to distractions, which can lead to a more positive mindset.

Initiate Change

A change other aspects of your life can bolster a change in mindset. What is it you find yourself ruminating on? Is it your long commute to work? An outdated operating procedure in your department? A conflict with your coworker? All these challenges can compound negative thoughts, thus taking up space in your mind and preventing you from excelling.

To begin to think more positively, first identify the areas that you can change, one challenge at a time. Try not take on too many changes at once—this can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, exacerbating negative thoughts. Instead, take a moment to ask yourself what changes can be made today to create a more positive environment. Can you add a coffee shop stop to your long commute to break up the drive? Can you plan with your team to restructure a standard operating procedure that just isn’t working anymore? Can you communicate with your coworker over lunch to come to a resolution?

Positive thinking can be transformative. While dynamic work environments and challenging circumstances can lead to a negative mindset, actively working toward making positive thinking a habit in both your personal and professional life can unlock future leadership opportunities while increasing job satisfaction and engagement. This proactive approach to positivity can create a ripple effect in your workplace, creating a more productive work environment.

At FlashPoint we offer a variety of professional development solutions that can be facilitated with your team, department, or individually. For more information about our latest upcoming Open Enrollment The Leadership Challenge, visit our events page. 

Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash 

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Kara Janssen

Kara Janssen creates engaging content that connects our clients to the FlashPoint brand and mission, helping them grow as leaders.