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Practicing positivity and optimism has been linked to several health benefits, increased productivity, and less stress. Employees who practice positivity are also happier and more involved in their work, so it is a win-win all around. Before you can foster positivity in others, you must be capable of practicing positivity yourself. Take time to increase your own positivity so you can coach others into being a more positive presence in your organization.

Defining Positivity

Many people believe positivity is the same as being happy. While one can certainly lead to the other, they are not necessarily the same thing. Positivity is a state of mind that takes practice to achieve. Happiness is an outcome of having your needs met. According to the Oxford English Dictionary definition, positivity is: “The practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude. Just like playing an instrument or learning how to speak a foreign language, positivity is a skill you get better at the more you do it. That means being intentional about increasing positive experiences. If you want more positivity in your life, you must actively pursue it.

Benefits of Positivity

Negative thinking is something we all practice from time to time. It is natural to worry or feel uncertain in times of change, but too much negative thinking can cause depression and drain your resilience. Practicing positivity can help your brain overcome negative thinking patterns that prevent you from feeling positive emotions. It takes time and effort to train your brain to embrace a more positive frame of mind, but the benefits are worth it. Below are just a few:

  • Increased frequency in your ability to feel emotions like joy, love, belonging, hope, etc.
  • Improved physical health
  • Stronger mental well-being
  • Better heart health
  • Less stress

Achieving Positivity

The concept of positivity does not reflect a “don’t worry be happy” philosophy. Negative emotions are something we all feel. Bad things do happen. What matters most is that you focus on searching out more positive experiences to counterbalance the negative ones. In fact, research tells us that you must experience a minimum of three positive experiences for every negative experience to achieve positivity.


When negative emotions are causing distress, use the 3 to 1 ratio to write down three positive things (or say them out loud) to create a new perspective.


  • Positive #1: I love my children
  • Positive #2: My children love me
  • Positive #3: I’m grateful to have love in my life


  • Positive #1: I am a good person
  • Positive #2: I have enough food and shelter
  • Positive #3: I enjoy helping others


SMILE. Even if you feel you do not have something to smile about, smiling can boost positivity. It reassures you and those around you that things will be okay. It inspires hopefulness and strengthens resilience.


Use Positivity in Messaging. Focus on the words and how you communicate with your co-workers. Make it personal, encouraging, passionate and empowering.


Keep Mission Front and Center. Connect the dots often between the good work you and your team are doing and how it contributes to achieving the mission of your organization. In difficult times, focusing on the mission and your team’s purpose can provide a needed morale boost.


Celebrate the Small Stuff. Every goal has milestones that must be achieved to reach the final target. Celebrate progress to keep a positive momentum moving through the team.

Fostering positivity within yourself and your co-workers increases your team’s ability to be resilient in the face of change. There may be moments when leading with positivity does not feel doable. You may have days when approaching your work with a positive attitude seems impossible. Take a deep breath. Believe you can do it because you have the power to choose your attitude. Your ability to bring positivity to tough times will not only strengthen your own mindset, but it will strengthen your team’s ability to show positivity, as well.

Additional Resources:

Five for 10 Increasing Positivity Tool

Go Try It

Source: Huron Consulting Group Inc. and affiliates.

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