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Workplace Negativity

How to deal with negativity in the workplace

We’ve all experienced negativity at some point in our careers. Even the best working environments can fall prey to negativity. We can love our job and still sometimes find ourselves consumed in the negative attitudes.

Sometime it’s a general negativity is caused by changes in the workplace. Maybe the company is experiencing restructuring which causes fear among the workforce resulting in negativity.

Maybe it’s a simple as a new manager, or that one negative person who can bring the whole team down with constant complaining.

Whatever the reason for the negativity, it can be a drain on you mentally, physically and especially emotionally.

If you find yourself dreading the trip to work in the morning. Or you feel exhausted at the end of a work day. Take a moment to assess whether you’re dealing with a negative person or work environment and then take these simple steps to change your mindset.

First - when you notice the negativity around you, before you join in or wall yourself off to protect yourself, take notice of how it feels in your body. Does your heart race? Do you feel anger rising in you? Do you feel constricted?

Then breathe. Slow, long, full inhales and slow, long full exhales. Controlling your breathing will help to control your physical response.

Then ask yourself, what stories am I creating around this situation? Our mind is a powerful tool designed to protect us from harm. I worked at a job where during a time when there was a lot of unrest and restructuring in the company, every time the management team had closed door meetings, we were all convinced that we were getting let go. I had a boss that was a particularly hard and emotional leader. Every time I would get an instant message from this person asking if I had a minute to meet, I felt like I was being called to the principals office. My heart would race and my mind would try to think of every reason I was about to get in trouble. In both situations, our mind tries to figure out what the potential danger is and creates a story. Then we react to the story - without really knowing the truth of the situation. Often times that instant message was just to ask me if I wanted to go to lunch. Often times closed door meetings just means that the person needs to focus without interruption.

When a negative situation arises, count to 10. It seems cliche but it works. The space between the situation and your reaction give you time to respond - rather than react emotionally. Remaining calm in the situation is the most important goal.

You may feel like your powerless in the situation, but in reality you have more power than you realize.

Next, stay present and open. Now that you have a clear mind, stay in the moment. Listening is the most important thing at this point. You need to determine what the issue really is before you make any further decisions.

Yoga instructor, Baron Baptiste has a tool. He says meet life where it is with no reaction. This is a very hard task to accomplish if you’re emotional. Calmly staying present and assessing what is really happening allows you to determine what action is necessary to either change or accept a situation.

Finally, once you’re calm and have assessed the situation, speak up. Don’t wish later that you would’ve said something. If you have the capacity to change or fix a situation, speak up. Your calm demeanor and thought out response could be just what your manager, or team needs to redirect the energy.

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