How Does Positive Thinking Affect Your Performance?


It’s a known fact that when we do well in our work performance, we feel better about ourselves, right? I mean, a bad day at the office hardly leads to a positive attitude at home.

But your happiness shouldn’t depend on whether you had a successful day at work or not. And what even is a day of success at work if not the way we think about it?

Maybe that’s getting a little too psychological. All we mean to say is that your work performance boils down to one thing: positive psychology.

How does positive thinking affect your performance

Okay, maybe you learned optimism is for chumps as a kid. But did you know that happiness leads to improved cognitive functioning?

Plenty of sport psychologists have found a bad attitude to be a one-way ticket to a sports performance failure. That’s because a positive mind set can help athletes develop self-efficacy, not to mention help them stay focused.

So when they say sport psychology, they’re not just talking about a bunch of hooey. Sure, you might not be a major athlete when you’re clocking into the office.

But you are putting out a performance nonetheless. And that requires a positive mindset to boot.

What is positive thinking?

Let’s start by clearing some things up. Positive thinking doesn’t mean you see the world through rose-colored glasses.

Or that everything is unicorns and rainbows. Instead, positive thinking is a choice.

It’s a way of processing information through a positive frame. So, no, it’s not butterflies and daisies – unless, of course, that’s what you want to see (no judgement).

It’s making a mistake and not seeing yourself as a total failure. It’s taking those opportunities to produce positive information and work towards the next step in a positive way.

Maybe this doesn’t align with your personality traits. After all, you’ve got to uphold that gruff and stern office personality for looks, right?

Wrong. You’ll find that positive emotions can actually have a consistent positive effect on your work performance.

And you might not be so deterred by the negative aspects and negative emotions that life will inevitably throw at you. So give it a shot.

Take a look at the positive people in your life. Heck, even take a look at a clean comedian who can look on the bright side of things! 

Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two from them. And you might even reap the benefits that positive thoughts can provide.

See Related: What Are The Benefits Of Humor In The Workplace?

Benefits of positive thinking

You could just take our word for it that positive thinking enhances your performance. But we get it.

You want to see the research. Well, here’s the research plain and simple that positive thinking can change your life.

#1. Reduces stress levels

Stress in the workplace is no joke. And when negative thinking gets in the way, stress can seem like a burden that’s personally attacking you.

Then what’s left? A less-than-optimal performance and a string of negative self-talk. Sounds great…

But the right attitude can actually help you gain more control over potentially negative experiences. And in turn, your stress levels will start to lower.

Positive thinking has several health benefits including the ability to lower stress levels

That’s because a positive attitude doesn’t let you dwell on what went wrong. A positive mindset doesn’t linger in the past, it jumps forward for solutions.

Negative thoughts tend to cause anxiety and typically make a person feel bad. But positive thinking gives you the ability to put those negative thoughts down and still get the job done.

This isn’t to say that positive thinking will eliminate stress altogether. Besides, a little bit of stress is good, right?

But positive thinking acts as a shield to stress when it feels like you’re being consumed by it. So pick up the superpower of positive thinking and feel like a superhero in your own workplace!

#2. Boosts productivity

Everyone struggles to be productive in the office sometimes. But with a little bit of optimism, productivity can feel like a breeze.

That’s because a positive attitude ensures that your brain is working to the best of its ability. Not only does positive thinking improve your focus.

It also helps you better your decision-making. Positive psychology can also give you enhanced confidence which only furthers your commitment to getting the job done.

And when you’re thinking positively, you’re less likely to be distracted. So instead of grabbing that extra cup of coffee for a boost, try positive thinking.

That way, you’ll be able to put in a solid work performance. And the smile on your face won’t leave your system as soon as the caffeine does.

#3. Improves problem-solving skills

It’s not uncommon to get bogged down at work. Hey, it happens to the best of us!

But you know the worst part about it? Feeling like there’s no way out of a problem, obstacle, or issue.

Luckily, positive thinking methods aim to help you out of those ruts. When you think positively, your mind will start to notice positive things that you might have otherwise ignored.

Positive thinking at work can help you problem solve when issues arise

Then, you can put together different pieces and start to hatch a plan. Sometimes, it can feel like this otherworldly ability to be able to problem-solve and come up with solutions.

But just like taking a step away from a project, a positive mindset can help you see the issue in a different light. Your focus may be too fixated on your anxiety and doubt in the moment.

But say you bring in a virtual emcee to host an otherwise mundane meeting. Not a bad way of changing things up while also getting folks to look at the positive things in their work!

And who knows? You might even have fun tackling whatever challenge you were dreading later after having had a refreshingly humorous meeting. 

Bonus: How To Successfully Host A Virtual Event: The Ultimate Guide

#4. Increases your energy

Remember how we said that positive self talk will have you smiling through your work? Well, it turns out that smiling can give you the boost of energy you’ve been looking for.

Positivity and self-affirmations release endorphins, just like smiles. And that endorphin boost is what gives you the self-confidence and energy to muscle through a particularly arduous task.

There are a number of proposed reasons for why your energy levels lower at work. Maybe you didn’t get the favorable appraisal you’d been hoping for.

Or, maybe you simply just didn’t get enough sleep the night before. But even still, optimism can help you focus on your life goals in a positive way.

And if you’re having trouble with optimism, hire some corporate entertainers to pop into the office! With an extra bit of energy, you could shake yourself loose from feelings of despair and maybe even shift your perspective a bit.

Think of it this way. Replace “Ugh, I’m so tired” with “Wow, I’m so lucky to have had a bed to sleep in last night.”

It’s these small adjustments that can help you turn into a more positive person. And when we think positively, we feel lighter.

Literally. The person who coined the phrase walking on clouds really knew what they were talking about.

And when frequently employed, positive thinking can help you combat low self-esteem and anxiety at the same time. If nothing else, allow positive self-talk to let you have fun at work.

And maybe even ditch the coffee. Go for some happy endorphins instead!

#5. Helps you take advantage of opportunities

Success often requires that we put ourselves out there. But putting ourselves out there can be quite a scary thing.

Your brain might go through a spiral of thinking the worst. But with practice, a positive attitude can not only push you to do your best.

Taking on new opportunities at work is easy when you think positively and proactively

It will also give you the confidence you need to put yourself out there in the world. Positive thinking has many great effects.

But the most important effect involves self-confidence. You may look back on your life and notice that there were so many opportunities you passed up just because you didn’t think you could do them.

Let the practice of positive thinking reframe that for you. The time is now! And success is waiting for you to come knocking.

Dwelling on the past won’t make up for those previous mistakes. But right now, you have the opportunity to make this moment count!

#6. Improves your team building skills

What’s the thing we find we miss the most about past experiences? The people.

That’s because relationships are deeply meaningful to us as social creatures. Well, research has shown that positive thinking can actually help a person build those relationships.

And when working with a team, your positive attitude can actually contribute to the team’s overall success. We all know that one person who tends to bring others down.

Whether they mean to or not, they just aren’t team-oriented. But positive thinkers know how to engage with others.

Because they themselves are engaged. And what better way to get into the team spirit than with a little pep in your step?

Not saying you have to create a whole cheer just to get everyone on board. (But we’re not saying you shouldn’t either…)

#7. Helps you manage feedback and conflict

Conflict in the office will inevitably arise. And sometimes, things can get a little heated if they get out of control.

But conflict doesn’t necessarily mean the end of all things. Instead, it brings an issue to light that needs to be addressed.

At least, that’s what a positive person would say about it. That’s because positive thinking assists skill execution and looks for solutions, not problems.

So when a problem arises, there’s no need to huff and puff about it. Instead, there’s opportunity and room for improvement.

Even receiving feedback can sometimes feel personal and attacking. That is, if you have a negative mindset about it.

But a more optimistic perspective sees feedback as a sign of trust. After all, your boss wouldn’t tell you to improve your work performance if they didn’t think you could, right?

#8. Increases your resilience

Positive thinking sometimes gets a bad rap. But that’s only because the practice of positive thinking gets misconstrued.

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that bad things will stop happening. Heck, challenges will crop up anywhere and everywhere you go!

Positive self talk teaches you how to face adversity head on

But having a positive mindset to address those challenges is crucial. You could either wilt in the face of an obstacle.

Or, you could persevere and come out a stronger and better version of yourself. Guess which option has positive thinking on its side.

Making the most out of everything

Odds are, if you’ve read this, you likely care about your job and thus work performance. After all, our work performance is very much a reflection of not only who we are but how we relate to the job at hand.

So if you find yourself struggling, assess how you’re thinking about your job. Do you find yourself weary getting up?

Or dreading the commute into work? Does that dread go away as soon as you enter the office?

Or does it just settle in until you punch out the clock? If you spend the whole day with negative thoughts, you won’t be able to gain much out of, well, everything that comes your way.

But especially at work. Workplace opportunities can be abundant if you only know how to look for them.

And that’s where positive thinking can really change your personal and professional life. So take a moment to assess whether your work performance could benefit from more positive thoughts.

And take up those self-affirmations to get yourself going in the morning. It’s likely others around you will notice a difference.

But let’s be honest. It only really matters if you notice the difference yourself.

Keep Reading: What Is Employee Engagement?

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of Clean Comedians®. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.