Career & Finance

3 Simple Tools That Foster Workplace Positivity

The right attitude can improve both your personal and work lives. While external factors might affect your mood, research shows that conscious behavioral change can transform attitudes.

How Can I Become a More Positive Person?

  1. Power Poses: There’s a reason career coaches suggest standing in “power poses.” Changes in body language can change brain chemicals. Standing with hands on hips and your chest puffed out increases testosterone and confidence, and forcing a smile can lower heart rates and stress. If you feel unmotivated in the morning, try standing in front of the mirror with your shoulders pushed back, chest out, and a wide grin on your face. It may feel silly at first, and that’s okay! This exercise can initiate a confident and optimistic attitude.
  2. Speak Positive, Think Positive: The end goal of positivity-inducing exercises is to train the brain to think with a positive disposition. Train yourself by using positive vocabulary with coworkers. When faced with a challenge, swap “we’ve never done this before” with “this is an opportunity to learn something new.” When offering criticism, begin with a compliment. “The research you’ve done is excellent, but let’s consider reordering the presentation of this data.”
  3. Offer Praise: Practicing gratitude is an effective technique to encourage positive thinking. Celebrate small achievements such as the home cooked meal you prepared or the document you submitted before its deadline. Give verbal gratitude for work done by your coworkers to foster a positive work environment.

Since October is Positive Attitude Month, it’s the perfect time to try out these tools. Try taking an attitude quiz to gauge your level of positivity and figure out the areas you might need to work on. Remember, positivity has a concrete impact on your career and reputation, so be sure to prioritize activities that lift your spirits.


Sharon Schweitzer and Emilie Lostracco co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.

Emilie Lostracco is a Fall 2017 Cross-Cultural Communication Intern with Access to Culture. The Montreal native is currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, studying International Relations and Global Studies. Emilie specializes in international environmental efforts, European studies, and French. She plans on graduating with honors in December. Connect with her via Linkedin.

Photo: Aki Tolentino on Unsplash

Profile photo of Sharon Schweitzer JD

Cross-cultural & International Etiquette Expert, Best-selling, International Award-winning Author