As HR professionals, my peers and I are constantly bombarded by negative things at work. A typical day in HR can include employees complaining about each other, their pay or problems with their benefits.

Few people go to HR because they are happy about how things are going at work. Worse, if you are sent to HR, it is like being sent to the principal's office in high school.

Despite that, the best HR people are able to handle the constant stream of issues, enjoy their work and come back motivated the next day. What I have found, and what you have likely read before, is that it is all about attitude. But how do you change your attitude when you are in the midst of a bad day?

Here are four simple things I have learned from my peers and my practice that you can do right now to put your day on a better track. Best of all, they cost nothing and you can do them immediately.

1. Smile

It is physically easier to smile than frown. Even if you are not happy, your mood will improve just by smiling.

But before you head over to YouTube or the latest Dilbert, stop. Research shows you don't need to do anything but form the smile on your face and your mood will improve. Try smiling; eventually your mood will catch up with your face.

2. Note your accomplishments

Stop and answer this question: "If I just had five extra minutes, what one thing could I do today that would make me feel like I accomplished something?" In other words, when you are headed home tonight, how would you finish this sentence: "Well, it was a rough day but at least I got (that one thing) done."

Whether it is make a dentist appointment, leave five minutes early or move a project forward one step: do it. And then, at the end of your day, remind yourself you accomplished it. The act of deciding on something, doing it and then reflecting on the success reinforces a sense of accomplishment that can help turn days that feel wasted into a thing of the past.

3. Make a list

But not a list of all the things you have to do (unless that was your item in No. 2). For example, make a list of the people you work with regularly and write one thing you like about them next to their name.

Forcing your brain to think positively and to look at the people around you in (what is likely) a different way can help change your perspective on your office and the people in it that may be the source of some of your bad days.

4. Give someone a compliment

Similar to No. 3, vocalizing a genuine compliment to someone, particularly when you are not feeling that great yourself can actually improve your mood. The act of thinking about the person in a positive way and then saying it aloud may also help improve their mood as well. If moods are contagious, this can have a great impact.

So stop making things complicated, pick just one of the above, do it now and you will be on your way to a better day at work.