If you’re finding yourself feeling negative about work, asking yourself these questions will focus you in the positives and help you understand what motivates you. That in turn will help you appreciate what you have, or maybe set you on the path to change something…

In Samantha Rodman’s blog in the Huffington Post she looked at how the principles of positive psychology could help children be happy. The advice can equally be applied to our working lives.

For this blog I took the same questions Samantha suggested, but looked at them from a work perspective. So here they are. Eleven questions to ask yourself to spring clean your attitude.

  1. What was my favourite part of today?

A habit of focusing in on the best thing that happened in any given day (rather than the worst) is a known way of improving our positivity. Don’t ignore the negative, this is about accentuating the positive.

  1. What am I grateful for?

There is a strong correlation between happiness and gratitude, so this is a powerful question to ask yourself. So even if you can’t think of a good part of the day, perhaps you’re grateful that you have such great colleagues/a great boss who support you through the tough work times?

  1. What am I going to do about that?

When you have a problem do you try and sort it out, or do you immediately turn to someone else to give you a solution? Happy people are people who think of problems as surmountable, and think of themselves as effective problem solvers. So try and think about options to overcome your problem, and then perhaps sound out other people.

  1. How did that make me feel?

The concept of Emotional Intelligence is now well understood.  An essential part of this, which contributes to happiness, is being able to notice and express your own emotions. If you can identify what you’re feeling, you can make sense of it, you can process it, and you can obtain support from others. So if something good (or bad happened) as work, ask yourself this question. It’s all about using information from your feelings effectively.

  1. What do I think he/she feels?

Empathy is another key component of Emotional Intelligence. In any situation, you can cultivate empathy by asking yourself what someone else feels. Empathy will allow you to have stronger interpersonal relationships.

  1. How can I look on the bright side?

So you’re down in the dumps and facing a real work-based challenge. In any situation, you can teach yourself that there are positives. Keep asking yourself the question. There is always a bright side. An example from my mum: Dad’s hair was coming out due to chemo, and she said ’at least it’s spring so the birds can use it for their nests’. Perfect.

  1. What part of that can I learn more about?

Even if you’re an old pro at your work, look for something new to learn. Happy people are people who are curious and always learning.

  1. What do I want to do on the weekend?

Research shows that anticipation of positive experiences brings more happiness than the experiences themselves. So encourage your work life balance by planning things. And if you’re having a tough week, don’t wait till the weekend. Plan a treat (walking round the park, a nice meal) once you’ve completed the tough task on your list.

  1. What can I do to help/to make someone happy?

Research shows that giving and being kind releases oxytocin and endorphins, so it’s like a natural high. Being at work doesn’t mean you need to switch off this thought. Little things mean a lot.

  1. What do you want to do outside today?

We all know that exercise, fresh air and sunlight release endorphins, boost mood and regulate circadian rhythms. But at work we can spend too long at our desks. So how can you get outside today? Even for 10 minutes…

  1. When do you feel happiest?

If you direct your attention to the experiences at work that you most enjoy, you will discover/remind yourself why you’re there, and help you identify if there are ways to get more of what makes you happy at work.

I hope you found this useful? As always, let me know what you think.