Check about the study on Mindful Exercise in the New York Times, which talked about a Harvard study that basically concluded that hotel maids who believed that their work was exercise became physically healthier -- might it be that they take more pride in their work once informed and therefore they perform the same actions more vigorously and with a more cheerful, healthier attitude?
Positivity rocks... and pessimism wouldn't work anyway. But:
Uncovering Fear As Optimism:
"There is no difference between a pessimist who says 'Oh it's hopeless so don't bother doing anything ' and an optimist who says 'don't bother doing anything it will all work out anyway.' Either way nothing Happens." ~Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia

How to Enjoy Whatever You Do
Like most modern urbanites, I often encounter cars sporting the wannabe
inspirational bumper sticker that reads, “Do what you love, love what you do.” Yes, I’d
love to be doing what I love (“I’d rather be speedcubing”), but I’m busy driving “my
other car” to school right now. So, is the counsel of this maxim fundamentally
unrealizable? Perhaps, but the underlying sentiment is sound. Though we can't always do
what we love most, and it is often difficult to love what we must do, it is possible to make
nearly any situation infinitely more pleasant by simply changing our perspective. We
merely have to rewire our mental connections to perceive our current endeavors as fun,
interesting, or beneficial.
A good way to begin is by learning to reframe the unpleasantness we already
encounter in day-to-day life. Even the luckiest of us meet apparent misfortune on a
weekly, if not daily basis: appliances break, critical details are forgotten, disasters
materialize before us. This is no accident; if the universe had its way, all matter would
decompose to Iron-56 and bumble aimlessly about in the space-time continuum
at 4 degrees Kelvin. Entropy is not our friend. And nature always has its way,
eventually. “Eventually” isn’t for a while though, so until then, let’s make the best of the
misfortunes that befall us.
To do this, it is useful to create hypothetical situations in which our seemingly
unpleasant circumstances could be desirable. For example, when ordered to do pushups
in P.E. class for failing to properly dispose of chewing gum, consider this: overweight
adults pay personal trainers no small amount of money to motivate them to do that
same “punitive” exercise. When viewed in a positive light, this “punishment” is actually
beneficial to its “sufferer.”
Likewise, when something goes “wrong” or “breaks,” do not immediately judge
the occurrence a stroke of bad luck. Think about it: for every major plane crash, there’s
probably someone who missed the flight. Similarly, there’s an excellent chance that
right now, somewhere, somebody is getting very, very rich (in an ethical way) from our
current economic crisis. The key to dispelling disappointment in the face of disaster is to
remind ourselves that, in the moment, all we know is that something has happened, not
whether it will ultimately lead to good or bad. Don’t wallow in wistfulness; instead, seek
out and seize opportunities budding from the calamity itself.
Even in the absence of a crisis, there’s mental prestidigitation to be practiced.
We forfeit countless opportunities by approaching potentially positive situations with a
needlessly negative mindset. For example, ebullient friends, convinced that we too will
be enraptured by their life’s new all-consuming passion (be it Nintendo Wii, haiku, or
trout racing), might beseech us to give their new favorite activity a try.
We silently groan.
But maybe we shouldn’t. There is some reason they find this activity so
enjoyable; if we can’t see why, perhaps we’re simply not looking in the right place. Say
they’re trying to convince us that meditation is the greatest thing in the entire world.
Maybe a friend simply isn’t the best spokesperson. For that reason, it’s immensely
helpful to find an explanatory book written by an eloquent master of the art. Especially
focus on passages revealing how meditation first captured the author’s interest. Similarly,
when actually beginning to practice, it is extremely advantageous to find the best teacher
A pro can also help indirectly; it’s amazing how inspiring a virtuoso performance
can be. If trying to convince yourself to play the Indian tabla drums for example, hop
onto YouTube and search “Indian tabla drums virtuoso.” “OMG soooooooooo good i
wanna learn!!!” is an actual comment from the site.
Furthermore, realize that a new discipline might not be gratifying at all for quite
a while – a practitioner must surpass a certain skill threshold before the activity yields
significant enjoyment. Expect this. However, still optimize the initial interest-to-difficulty
ratio. Select the best possible starting conditions; with the tabla example, choose a piece
that’s maximally engaging but still within a beginner’s reach.
In general, simply be unashamedly cognizant of whatever good may be present in
your current situation. I’m not saying “only look on the bright side of things,” I’m just
encouraging you not to create imagined darkness where it doesn’t exist and has no need
to be. Just recognize that there’s plenty to enjoy right here, right now! So instead of
cursing the “wasted” minutes of my daily drive to school, maybe I’ll spend that
irreplaceable sliver of unoccupied time meditating to an MP3 of the melodic rhythms of
an expert tabla player.