Positivity is Infectious

How even the most hardened grumpy cat can become a little ray of sunshine

Life is the pits. Especially at work. Your boss doesn’t appreciate the hard work you put in, your coworkers have already formed impenetrable cliques, and worst of all, your cube doesn’t have a view of the window. It can be easy to dwell on the injustices of the world, but there are some pretty compelling reasons to force a smile. So grab that sourpuss attitude by the tail right meow, and learn to be positive!

What Is This Positivity Poppycock?

Positivity does not mean living in blissful ignorance or being out of touch with reality. You don’t have to get steamrolled or lose your voice in important discussions. Rather, positivity is a conscious choice to accept your situation and to move forward in a constructive manner. Ultimately, you have the ability to choose how to react to frustrating and stressful situations, so why not make it a productive response?

Why It Matters

Consider the following situation: You start off commiserating about the terrible coffee in the break room, and all of a sudden everyone is cutting in with management’s latest infractions. After the coffee break, a herd of bitter employees returns grudgingly to their desks.

Complaining is pretty fun, but all this negativity can really undermine your enthusiasm for an otherwise decent job and hurt company morale. Studies show that workers with a positive attitude will be more productive and creative, less stressed, and will enjoy work more. Ready to become more positive? Use the following steps to improve your outlook, and then watch how one person’s bright attitude can positively influence the mood of an entire group.

Transitioning From Grumpy Cat To Sunbeam: A Twelve-Step Program

  1. Break the cycle. Search online for adorable baby animal photos until you begin to believe that there may still be some good in the world.
  2. Create a work atmosphere that you enjoy. Jam out to music and decorate your desk. (WARNING: Do not invest in a real plant for your desk. It will die, and you will be sad.)
  3. Do nice things. Volunteer to help out on tough projects or bake cookies to share with the office. Being generous is a lot of fun, and people will really appreciate your efforts!
  4. Professionalism does not mean becoming a robot. It’s okay (and encouraged) to interject some personality into your daily interactions and to use the occasional exclamation point in your emails!
  5. List out some of the positive things in life. I’ll get you started: 1) At least nobody dresses you in ridiculous outfits or stuffs you in tiny teacups…



  1. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Everyone runs late sometimes or says stupid things. My favorite exercise? Make up ridiculous stories. That woman who takes forever to respond to your urgent emails actually doubles as a superhero and was in the middle of a crisis. But don’t worry – she just saved the world and will get back to you shortly.
  2. Don’t try to please everyone. Some coworkers may love your ideas, jokes, and the special dip you brought to the company picnic. The rest of them are probably allergic to all that is good in the world, but see the above step on learning to deal with such folks.
  3. Stressing out about being stressed out…need I explain the irony? Take steps to minimize the sources of stress that you can control, but understand and accept that work won’t always be easy.
  4. Go for a 15 minute walk during lunch or instead of taking a coffee break. Bonus points for inviting coworkers along!
  5. Offer constructive criticism and feedback instead of complaining. Find the areas at work where you’d like to see improvements, brainstorm potential solutions, and discuss them with your manager.
  6. Shake up your routine. Ask to join the party planning committee or invite a coworker to grab lunch with you at the new Ethiopian place across the street to keep from falling into a monotonous stupor.
  7. Always say thank you. Drop people a quick note after they’ve helped you out. Better yet, tell them face-to-face with some heartfelt sincerity and a piece of chocolate.

It can be hard to stay positive, especially in negative situations, but don’t give up on your newfound sunny disposition. These steps will help build social support, raise morale, and keep you engaged throughout the workweek. Plus, the increased productivity and interest in your job won’t go unnoticed by management. You might just be a top candidate for that next promotion. So keep smiling!

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