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Staying Positive in the Workplace

By Vitality Coach Melissa Britton
Positive emotions are said to help us to develop coping mechanisms which allow us to manage stressful encounters more effectively. According to Fredrickson positive emotions help us to think more creatively and flexibly1. If used well, evoking positive emotions in the workplace could be a fantastic tool. Below are some ways to evoke positive emotions in the workplace:

Count your blessings
Counting your blessings by noting five things you are grateful for daily. Gratitude has been associated with higher levels of attentiveness, enthusiasm and energy, along with a greater likelihood of helping others2, creating a happier working environment where you are more engaged.

Invest time in relationships at work
A report conducted by the Mental Health Foundation outlined that 42% of us have felt depressed due to loneliness.3 In 2014 Relate found that 42% report not having a single friend at work4, highlighting that this issue is not just related to the elderly or housebound.

A fantastic way to improve relationships whilst evoking positive emotions is through random acts of kindness (RAK) aimed at your colleagues, this can be as simple as offering to make your colleague a cup of tea. RAKs have been found to increase feelings of gratitude, optimism, happiness and life satisfaction among givers and receivers5.

Savour the good times
Research has found that completing just one week of savouring exercises improves resilience levels, depressive symptoms and happiness levels.6 A fantastic way to savour is through reminiscing about past achievements. Try to do this regularly with your team colleagues, whether this be looking back at achievements or social events. To savour current events, share details of the event with your co-workers, congratulate one another and outwardly express any emotions you’re feeling, this will intensify your feelings.
Mindfulness
Practising mindfulness has been found to increase feelings of job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion at work7. Set aside some time to and from your commute and try one of the mindfulness apps recommended by Vitality.
Do something fun
Do something enjoyable with your colleagues, whether this be going for a team lunch or having a fun activity before each team meeting to break the ice, doing something fun with your colleagues is the perfect way to evoke positive emotions at work.
References:
1 The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Fredrickson, Barbara L. American Psychologist, Vol 56(3), Mar 2001, 218-226.
2 Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377−389
3 https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/the_lonely_society_report.pdf
4 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/work/rising-epidemic-workplace-loneliness-have-no-office-friends/
5 It’s good to do good and receive good: The impact of a ‘pay it forward’ style kindness intervention on giver and receiver well-being. Pressman, SD, Kraft, TL, Cross, MP. 2015
6 Effects of a Savoring Intervention on Resilience and Well-Being of Older Adults. Jennifer L. Smith, Agnieszka A. Hanni First Published February 10, 2017, Journal of Applied Gerontology
7 Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Hülsheger, Ute R.,Alberts, Hugo J. E. M.,Feinholdt, Alina,Lang, Jonas W. B. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 98(2), Mar 2013, 310-325