Branford Hall’s 8 Tips for Staying Positive at School

Looking on the bright side can improve your education

Are you the type of person who dreads going to school? Do you wake up and wish it were the weekend? Do you complain about your homework? Having a poor attitude about school can affect your grades, your friendships, and the way that teachers treat you. Why not take a few minutes and try out these tips to improve your attitude? Using these tips to develop a positive attitude could really turn your life in a new direction!

Step 1. The power of positive thinking
Do you know what a “defeatist” attitude is? It means that you say “I can’t” before even giving something a try. It’s allowing yourself to be defeated without even giving yourself a chance. It’s time to turn that defeatist attitude around and start thinking positively. Sure, school can be hard. You will be expected to pay attention in class, complete your homework, and pass exams. But rather than complaining or saying “it’s too hard,” try positive language instead. Focus on phrases like:

  • Look how much I’ve learned so far
  • This used to be hard, but now I can do it
  • This may be hard right now, but if I talk with my teacher after class, I bet I can learn it
  • The more I study, the better I will be
  • The more I practice, the easier it will become
  • I have the ability to learn this
  • I won’t give up

Step 2. Show your friends your new attitude
Do your friends have negative attitudes about school or life? Do you spend too much time with people who are complaining? If so, try to be a leader. Talk with your friends about how a negative attitude just makes school that much harder. When your friends complain, try to help them look on the bright side. Give them compliments, help them with their problems, and try to find at least one positive thing to discuss each day.

Step 3. Be grateful
While nobody’s life is perfect, you probably have many things to be thankful for. Thinking about the things in your life that are going well is much healthier than dwelling on the bad parts. Make a list of the things that you are grateful for. It may be your family members, your friends, your health, or your pet. Or it may be the little fun things in life, like your cell phone, your new shoes, or a television show you really enjoy. Taking the time to feel grateful can improve your overall attitude, and it’s worth a little time each day to reflect on the good things.

Step 4. Pause before you speak
Sometimes we talk so fast that we don’t really think about what we are saying. Spend one day where you focus on the words you are saying. Are most of your words negative? Are you complaining too much? Do you sound angry? If so, you might be dragging yourself down. The next day, try taking a short pause before you speak. Use this pause to re-focus your words in a positive way. The more you practice saying positive words, the more effortless it will become. This is especially helpful if you have a temper. It helps you to cool down before you say something angry.

Step 5. Congratulate yourself along the way
Self-esteem is important to keeping a healthy attitude in life. Sometimes life gets so hectic that you forget to appreciate your own accomplishments. But it’s important to celebrate your achievements. For instance, look back to the start of your school year. Think about everything you know now that you didn’t know then. Write down a list of your successes, whether it’s a good test score, learning a new career skill, or working on a group project. Don’t be afraid to be proud of yourself!

Step 6. Look for the good in other people
Life is too short to have enemies. Remember that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Make it a point to actively look for other people’s strengths, and forgive them for their weaknesses. Compliment people on their positive traits, and learn to enjoy your classmates for their unique qualities. If you are open, friendly, and nonjudgmental, you will be amazed at how easy it is to get along with others!

Step 7. Pay it forward
Many people feel good about themselves when they are helping others. While you may not have time to commit to a long-term volunteer position, you can still find time for the small things. Small acts of kindness can help make both the giver and the receiver feel good. Some examples of small favors:

  • share your class notes with a friend if he or she was absent
  • buy a treat for a friend at the lunchroom vending machines
  • text a compliment to a different person every day
  • let someone into your lane while driving
  • tell your teacher that you are enjoying the class

Step 8. Look up from your phone!
There’s so much going on in our digital lives. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to look up from your phone and see what’s happening in your real life. But try it some day. Look up and give someone a smile. Make eye contact. Start a conversation. Smiling and laughing can improve your mood and wipe away the negative thoughts.

With these eight steps, you could be well on your way to developing a more positive attitude toward school and toward your life.


This article is part of the Branford Hall Career Institute’s weekly blog. Our career training programs are aimed at preparing students with on-the-job skills as well as a positive attitude toward their careers, lives, and communities. For more information about Branford Hall, contact us online.