18 Tips to Reduce Stress and Have a Positive Attitude at Work

Positive attitudeBeing positive at work can be hard sometimes. Your project is behind, you have to work extra hours, the client is hard to deal with, and some of your team members aren’t working as hard.

Keeping a positive attitude at work is hard to do, especially in a situation like this. I’ve shared 15 tips to have a positive attitude in the workplace in this article.

1 – Focus on the Positive

If you’re having a tough time at work, then it can be much harder to get through the day.

Sometimes it’s easier to say this than to do it, but the first thing I would suggest is to focus on the positive.

I’m someone who enjoys work when there’s a lot to do. I’m also someone who gets really bored and dissatisfied when there isn’t much to do. When that happens, I stop enjoying work and start to feel drained by it.

I’ve tried to think of the positives in that situation which has helped a bit. At least I have a job. At least I’m available for other projects and tasks that might come up. Thoughts like this can make the day go better.

So, the first thing to improve your attitude in the workplace to a more positive one is to focus on the positive. This can come naturally, or it can be difficult, depending on the type of person you are.


2 – Remind Yourself Why

Why are you working in your job? Why are you on the project you’re on? Why is the project being requested?

Sometimes it’s useful to ask yourself why. Ask why for a few things. Answering these questions can help you focus on the bigger picture and give some answers as to why you are there, which can improve your mood about the situation.

For example, if you’re getting annoyed at the client making a late change in requirements for a project that is already struggling to make the deadline, then one thing you can do is think of the “why”.

Why are they making these changes? Well, it’s because they want a better quality product for their customers. This is something that we all want, ultimately, so it could be for the better. Long term, it could be the right thing to do, even if it brings some short-term struggle or annoyance.

This is something that helps me to focus on what’s positive.


3 – Talk to Someone

Sometimes it can help to talk to someone about your annoyances at work. You can talk to a teammate to see how they feel, and they may be able to understand how you’re feeling.

You can also talk to your manager. Part of their role is to support you, so if you have some concerns, then it’s good to discuss them with your manager.

They can help resolve them or work with you to understand them.

There have been a few times over the years where I’ve felt really annoyed.

If you feel the same way, then speak to a friend of yours about it and tell them the story.

You can speak to your partner, a friend outside of work, a family member, or someone in your team, depending on the issue.

Sometimes it can really help if you just get it off your shoulders and just express the way you’re feeling to someone.

It’s not something I suggest doing all of the time, but it can help sometimes if you really just can’t focus on your work and whatever the issue is has really thrown you off your game.


4 – Report Problems Quickly and Professionally

If you’re encountering problems on the job, then it’s good to report them to your manager as soon as they happen.

Whether it’s a technical problem, such as a server is down, or an email that brings a change in requirements which can cause a delay to the project, or something else, discuss it with your manager when it happens.

Also, try to keep a professional attitude when doing this. Complaining and whining about a problem can rarely be useful, so be professional and level-headed when bringing something to your manager.

This can often result in having a better attitude towards the issue.


5 – Respect your Coworkers

Sometimes, all it can take to improve your attitude towards your work is to have a better understanding and respect for your co-workers.

Do you have any co-workers that seem slow, useless, or are bringing the team down? Are there any that don’t seem to know what they are talking about?

These are negative ways to look at your team. To improve your attitude towards the team, try to focus on the positives.

What skills do they have? What is their role? Have they done anything recently that has helped the project?

Thinking of the positive areas of someone’s ability at work can improve your attitude at work, and improve your respect for your coworkers.


6 – Be Appreciative

This is somewhat related to the first point about focusing on the positive at work, but more direct.

Sometimes, all it can take to improve your attitude in the workplace is to appreciate your current situation.

The first thing I think of when I feel like complaining about the work I’m doing is that at least I have a job.

There are a lot of people out there that want to get a job in the IT industry, but can’t, for whatever reason.

Also, I’m glad I’ve got good health and am well enough to be able to write code or requirements or whatever I’m doing in my current role.

I’m sure there’s a whole lot more I could come up with, and I’m sure you could as well. Having a few thoughts like this can improve the way you look at your job.


7 – Get Enough Sleep

I’ve written about this before a few times, but getting enough sleep is important to be able to focus for the rest of your day.

How much sleep do you need? Enough so that you’re not tired and are able to stay focused for the day. For everyone it’s different, but most people recommend about 7-8 hours per day.

As I write this article, it’s about 5:30 AM. That might seem early, but I go to sleep about 9:30 most nights, and am up at 5, which adds up to about 7.5 hours of sleep. I feel pretty good during the day with this amount of sleep.

So, if you’re feeling tired from lack of sleep, try to get more sleep. It really makes a difference to your attitude.


8 – Identify Negative Thoughts

If you don’t have a positive attitude at work, why is this?

What thoughts are you having that may be negative or that are causing you to not feel more positive about work?

Is it the project? The company? The team? The number of hours you have to work?

One way of improving your attitude at work is to identify what’s causing your attitude to be negative in the workplace.

Take a few minutes today to think about why you’re feeling negative about work. Even if you don’t think you can do anything about it, just identifying what the negative thought is can help a little.


Be Aware Of Your Emotions

If you’re aware of how you’re feeling at any given time, you can learn to control how you communicate with others. It’s all too easy to become short or snappy or rude when everyone is under stress.

If you’re aware that you’re stressed, realise that you may come across as being rude. Try to change the way you’re communicating or presenting yourself to counter that. This means speaking to others in your regular tone (perhaps slightly adjusted if you’re stressed), rather than shouting or being rude. In the long run, it will pay off.


9 – Improve your Overall Stress Level

Stress is a big part of how we feel during the day. Software development can be a stressful job sometimes.

Clients want projects completed as soon as possible, with often very unrealistic deadlines. They want them bug-free and fast.

Managers want to get more out of the team that they work with.

And, on top of all of this, your code just isn’t working the way it should, and you don’t know why.

All of these kinds of problems can add up to a lot of stress.

So I suggest trying to improve your stress level.

How can you improve your stress level? Exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep.

Go for a walk at lunchtime. Eat something healthy this afternoon. Go to bed a bit earlier tonight. You should feel a little better the next day.

Do this again the next day, and the next, and you should notice your stress going down.

Sure, the problems at work will still be there, but you might feel differently about them.


10 – Work Towards a New Job

If you’re not happy with the role that you have, don’t stay there forever. The IT industry is pretty big and almost all companies have the need for software to improve how they run.

Finding another job can have a few benefits, including:

  • Change of scenery and environment
  • New challenges and new people
  • A higher salary (possibly)

One way to improve your attitude at work is to get a new job. If you can’t do this immediately, then you can work towards it.

Update your resume when you get home. Search for some jobs on job boards. Send some emails to people you’ve worked with in the past and let them know you’re looking for a new job. Check your LinkedIn profile and make contact with some of your connections.

Getting a new job is a good way to improve your attitude at work.

I work for a consulting company, and the benefit of that is that I can work for different clients. If I’m no longer satisfied with one role, I can move to a different role.


11 – Set Goals

Thinking long-term can also cause you to have a positive attitude at work. Instead of thinking about the day-to-day struggles you have and the tasks you need to get done, try thinking about your long-term goals.

What do you want to accomplish in this company?

What do you want to do with your career?

What kind of role do you want to be doing?

Long-term goal thinking can often cause you to change your attitude towards something. You might realise that the project you’re on is causing you to improve your skills, which helps you get to your goal.


12 – Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

Having something to look forward to can really improve your attitude. I’ve noticed that many people are happier in December because there are Christmas holidays to look forward to, where many people take two or three weeks off to recharge and spend time with family.

There’s a similar attitude towards public holidays – people are more positive during a week where there is a public holiday.

But you don’t always need to have a day off to feel better. You can often just need something in the future to look forward to.

This could be:

  • A holiday you have planned later in the year with friends or family
  • The launch date for your project
  • The work Christmas party
  • Your annual review

There are many things that are happening in the future that you could be looking forward to. Try to think of a few.


13 – Change your Responsibilities

Making a change to what you actually do at work, and what your responsibilities are, can improve how you feel towards work. This is because the actual work that we do can impact our mood.

As I write this, I’m planning on making a change of my own at work. I’ve realised some of the work I’m doing isn’t suited for me and my skill set, so I’m going to speak to my manager today and see what can be done.

I don’t want to be dissatisfied or bored with the tasks that I’m doing, where someone else may enjoy them. So, there’s always a way to change.

If you feel like this, then think about changing your responsibilities or the work that you do.


14 – Smile

A simple yet effective trick is to smile more. The act of smiling can make you happier. It can also make others happier when they see your smile.

Sure, this might seem like a stupid tip – how can smiling improve your mood? I don’t know, but it just does.

I don’t mean to walk around the office all day with a grin on your face, because that would be a bit weird. Just try to smile a bit more at work. It should improve your attitude at work.


15 – Take a Few Deep Breaths

Being stressed can cause higher levels of anxiety. A great way to reduce this is to take a few deep breaths. It can be done at your desk, or away from your desk. Stop what you’re doing for a moment, take a deep breath for a few seconds, and exhale. Do this a few times. It should allow you to calm down a little and therefore make you feel a little less stressed and more focused.


16 – Get Away From Your Desk

Sometimes, you just need a break from your work. Your employer doesn’t expect you to be at your desk for the entire day. If they do, it’s unrealistic and unproductive on a larger scale. Taking a break from your work – even if you just wash your face in the bathroom, or get a drink of water, they can help reduce the feeling of stress in a situation. It’s also a great time management technique.


17 – Stay Organised

It’s important, both in general and while you’re working to a deadline, to keep yourself organised. Keep to your normal file structure when saving files. Take notes as you usually would. Organise your documentation or source code as you normally do. If you try to do a rush job when doing this work, it will most likely slow you down later, when you try to remember where you saved that file or what that piece of code does.


18 – Remember It’s Only a Job

The final tip I can offer is that all of this is only a job. There’s so much more to life than the job you work at.

You’ve got friends and family and interests and hobbies and all kinds of other things outside of work.

So, try not to let your job take over your life and remember there are other important things in life!


Career Action Tip: Think of three positive things about your current role, regardless of what situation your job is in.

Lastly, if you enjoy the information and career advice I’ve been providing, sign up to my newsletter below to stay up-to-date on my articles. You’ll also receive a fantastic bonus. Thanks!

Image courtesy of master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 thoughts on “18 Tips to Reduce Stress and Have a Positive Attitude at Work”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.