3 Tips for Finding Positivity in an Endlessly Negative Workplace

Today’s society is riddled with negativity. Maybe it’s like this for every generation, but for those of us who are fairly new to the ropes of the “real world” and full time employment, the workplace feels like negativity camp (maybe I’m just being negative). Not only is the job search miserable and disheartening, our pay is low, our benefits are scarce, and our morale is obliterated by headlines of a further declining economy and the ever-decreasing national health. That being said, those of us who are employed are lucky and heading down the path towards financial responsibility and societal purpose.

These are extremely positive things and things to be praised. Now, along with long hours at work, dealing with difficult projects, and collaborating with new people, one of the most difficult aspects of the working world is staying positive when everyone around you is endlessly negative. This is not to say that things will always be negative at work or even that negativity will happen at all, but if it does, negativity can be extremely detrimental to your success and happiness at work. Try these three tips to help you stay positive and do your best work even when everything around you is emitting negative vibes.

Become Fully Aware of Your Surroundings

The first step to gaining control over your surroundings in a negative situation is recognizing the negativity around you and its various sources. Try to pinpoint where the negative feelings you are getting are coming from. By recognizing the source of those negative feelings you are not hoping to place blame, but instead wish to gain a more thorough understanding of why this makes you feel the way you do. Once you understand where these feelings are sourcing from, try to see what things you can do or say to yourself to change those negative feelings. If possible you should avoid the situations and circumstances that make you feel negative. However, avoidance isn’t always possible. If you have to encounter these negative situations throughout your day, find techniques that help you stay positive-minded. Immediately after you are in that negative situation at work do something that is productive that you know lifts your mood. Just being able to recognize when and where that negativity happens can help you find ways to stay positive.

Be Proactive

Find ways to make change in situations that are negative. If it is a specific person that seems to bring the negativity, speak up to them directly. Do not lash out at them, but instead explain how you feel and explain why it doesn’t work for you. Make things about yourself, so that you do not end up attacking that person and contributing to the negativity. Oftentimes, people who perpetuate negativity in the workplace don’t realize they are doing so. If it is professional to do so, point this out to them. You have to be direct, but gentle. You don’t want to insult or embarrass someone, but you should make it clear what they should and should not say around you. This will help you become a better employee and will create a more productive and pleasant work environment. You have to be proactive about the situation. Silence will typically only perpetuate things.

Always Accentuate the Positive

Try to highlight things that are positive both in your own work and in others. This change takes place in both your actions and your words. To do this, you have to maintain control of your own thoughts. Use the above tips to stay positive in yourself and then try to help others feel positivity coming from you. Acknowledge things that people around you do well and that you do well yourself. By becoming the person that is always positive, you will be the kind of person people want to be around. A good leader is always a positive one. Focus on the things that people do well and that you do well before you dive into problems. Constructive criticism is key for both the people you work with and for yourself.


Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.

Photo credit: ‘lamp in hand‘ by Big Stock Photo



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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