How To Be More Positive At Work And In Relationships (Even When You Don't Feel Like It)

Expert tips on how to be happy again... and again.

How To Be More Positive & Happy In Life, Work And Relationships Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

Sometimes, finding the motivation to have and maintain a positive attitude — whether at work, in romantic relationships, or in life in general — can be a struggle.

Trying to "think positive" can often feel more like work itself than like something that will make you feel happier, and finding happiness even during the inevitable ups and downs takes effort. Some days you simply don't feel like even trying, and that's OK, as long as your stay in that mindset for too long.


How can you be more positive and stay happy?

RELATED: 10 Golden Rules To Help You Think Positively

Whether you’re where you want to be in life or you’re still working at getting there, practicing positive thinking in the face of setbacks and struggles can help you build the resilience necessary to move past hurdles and on the way to achieving your goals.


Advocates of positive psychology say that when you take the best parts of a bad or frustrating situation and reframe your problems in a hopeful light, you remind yourself that the negative situations you're experiencing are temporary, while remembering the positive parts of the scenario and what you do have control over.

With that in mind, we asked YourTango Experts for their best advice on how to think positively in all aspects of your life, even when it feels close to impossible.

After all, you deserve happiness, and knowing how to get through the hard times will help you appreciate the good ones that much more.

Here's the best advice on how to be (and stay) more positive and happy in life, relationships and work, according to YourTango Experts.

1. Reframe your thoughts to find motivation.

"Think of the worst day you ever had, and then remember this isn’t it. You’ve gotten through some impossibly hard things, and you are so much stronger than you know! Perspective!"


Laura Scott, author, psychic, and spiritual healer

2. Begin with happiness in order to stay positive.

"Starting each day in an uplifting way is a simple step that can help you be more positive in work and relationships. Take time before the whirlwind of the day begins to read an inspiring article, have a positive or empowering conversation, or listen to a motivating podcast. Taking moments like these before each day begins can create a positive mindset and shift emotions toward work and relationships in your life."

Babita Spinelli, licensed psychotherapist and psychoanalyst

3. Find out what you're focused on.

"Problems at work and in relationships start with how you direct your attention. Dwelling on difficulties sends you spinning in circles. Focusing on preferred outcomes puts what you want first."


Robert McFadden, life coach and writer

4. Positive thinking can change your emotional state.

"You don’t have to feel positive to be positive. Put the action first and the feeling will often follow."

Karen Kruzan, LISW-S, CPO-CD, psychotherapist and professional organizer

RELATED: 9 'Positive Thinking' Mantras To Keep You Mentally Strong For Life

5. There's always a way to find happiness, no matter the situation.

"When you 'microdose' what brings you pleasure in your daily life, you begin to build a sense of wellbeing and positivity that exudes naturally and provides fortitude through challenging situations."

Sacha Fossa, holistic sex, intimacy, and relationship coach


6. Practicing gratitude can help!

"Finding something to be grateful for at work or in your relationship will shift your energy and allow you to feel more positive. Actually giving someone an appreciation will add even more positive energy, available for you and those around you."

Lynn Turner Ph.D., individual and couples therapist

7. Appreciate what's good in your life.

"A powerful positive psychology tool that can be used even when you don’t feel positive is appreciative inquiry. Often when you're feeling negative, you narrow your focus onto your problems. Appreciative inquiry helps you focus on what is right in the situation. The goal is to identify what is working and how you can do more of it. This approach can turn your attitude around, give you access to greater creativity, and increase the chance of a better, more positive, outcome."

Lisa Newman, eating psychology coach


8. Be mindful that positive thinking isn't about "faking it 'til you make it."

"Being positive is not pretending or agreeing things are right. It's the attitude and intention you contribute to the resolution of the situation. Do you want to act from pain and live with bitterness, or be the one that acts from the heart and goes to bed knowing you poured more love into the world?"

Zsuzsi Gero, life, wellness, and relationship coach

RELATED: 6 Ways To Shut Down Your Awful, Lying Inner Critic (To Focus On Positive Thoughts)

9. Pursue the thoughts that bring you peace.

"Focus on gratitude. Being genuinely grateful for having a relationship or having a job can help put a positive reality-check spin on a not-so-positive moment."


Debra Roberts LCSW-R, marriage and couples counselor

10. Surround yourself with reminders of what makes you happy.

"An easy way to return back to a positive mindset is keeping a photo or quote as a screensaver or on your phone. Make sure it reminds you of what your love in your life or what you are working toward. Pause and take a look when you need to reconnect to the positive."

Polly Wirum, psychic medium, life coach, and writer

11. Consider your options.

"Considering alternatives to your present situation can sometimes help direct your mood from a less desirable state to one of gratitude or neutrality. Connecting your vision of an ideal experience, like with some component of the present reality you're upset about serves to help you convince yourself that the present moment is a part of the way things could presently be, given the tools, or circumstance, or knowledge presently available, and there is possibility for change. Additionally, literally trying on a phrase of, 'This is the situation: What choices do I have to make the most of things in the present moment?' may empower you and create impetus."


Katie Bender, holistic healer

12. Reframe your thinking about other people's negative perceptions.

"If you feel someone has said or done something that angers you, just reframe and think how unfortunate and foolish that person is. If he or she has a pattern of doing this, then it is self-limiting for relationships, opportunities, and collaboration. You cannot control what others do or say, but you can step back and consider your reaction, so stay clear and resist the urge for vindication. Concentrate your energy on those who value you and add to your positive energy."

Jeff Saperstein, career and life transitions coach

13. Be aware of your negative feelings and thoughts and show yourself compassion.

"When pessimistic thoughts dominate the optimistic parts of you, it’s tempting to try to force an attitude shift. Since negative feelings are a cry for the attention required to make essential positive changes, buried emotions will never die. Discover what your pessimistic parts need and nurture them with compassion so you can regain harmony and balance at work and in relationships."


Dr. Doris Helge, certified leadership and executive coach

RELATED: How To Let Go Of Negativity & Change Your Mindset (In 4 Simple Steps)

Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and author living in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their cat. You can follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.