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Keep things in perspective
When something bad happens, try to keep things in perspective and avoid the urge to make the situation larger than what it really is. Sometimes, a person can trick themselves into blowing the situation out of proportion by mulling over the situation time and time again. This is unnecessary and it results in much unwanted stress. Instead, try to think of solutions to the problem and apply some of the next few pieces of advice found on this list.
Learn how to be reasonable
This goes hand in hand with item #25. When bad situations happen, the temptation is to act unreasonable fueled by emotions instead of the mind. You have to learn to keep your emotions in check and not let them impair your reason. If something bad happens, accept the fact that bad things really do happen and move on.
Think of ways to relax
This is a simple solution but an important one. If negativity is overwhelming, it could be a tall sign of “burnout”. Remove yourself from the negative environment and relax. If you are at work, this may not be as easy. It could involve moving to another section or making sure that you leave the work premise when you take your lunch break.
Try to understand the situation and learn from it
The truth is we live in a world that is full of negativity. But this does not mean that you are doomed to succumb to it’s influence. Learn to recognize negative situations and learn to overcome them by being positive. There is usually a positive side to most situations. Learn to find it and focus on it.
Get some exercise
Not so many people know that aside from keeping them fit, exercise also helps lower the level of stress chemicals in their body. Doing aerobic activities allows the body to cope better with negative emotions as it helps produce feel good endorphins.
Let go of the past
It is true, we learn from our past mistakes (well, at least we’re supposed to). But one thing is to learn from our past and move on and is another thing to dwell on the past and waddle in the quagmire of negativity. Learn to see the fact that the past is the past. Plain and simple. There is nothing you can do to change it, dress it, keep it, erase it, or any other form of alteration. So if there is nothing you can do about the past, why waste valuable energy trying to do so? Instead, focus on your present and strive for your future. You will find yourself more fulfilled and productive when you allocate all the wasted energy of dwelling on the past into doing something about the now.
Learn how to listen
Listening is one of the best ways to cope with negativity in the workplace. Just like you, your colleagues are also in constant need of a sounding board. During group discussions, learn to hear other people out as much as you speak out your ideas. This will improve your relationship with them and help prevent situations that may draw negativity.
Recognize your fallibility and humanity
It takes a dose of humility to accept the fact that you too are capable of contributing to the negativity around you. If you learn to accept your humanness, you will become more tolerant of other’s negativity and one of the best weapons against negativity is tolerance. Tolerance however, does not mean acceptance. Always strive to create a positive environment by being a positive person.
Spend some time thinking about the positive things in your life
Spend some time alone every day and think about the positive aspects of your life. It’s easy to get bogged down by the obvious negatives, but when you stop and think about your life, it will be obvious that you indeed have a lot to be thankful for.
Take a time out or walk away by yourself
When you are confronted with a very stressful situation and you feel that you are about to lose control and give in to negative emotions, take a “time-out” and go for a walk. Aside from the fact that walking reduces the amount of stress chemicals in your body, it also prevents you from boiling over and saying things out of anger.
Embrace yourself and everything about you, including your faults
Part of coping with negativity is learning how to treat yourself with care. If you failed to achieve a certain goal, never blame yourself or beat yourself up over a wrong decision or mistake. Know that you are human and are capable of committing wrongs, too.
Avoid becoming too defensive
This is especially true in the workplace where confrontations among colleagues in times of tough situations are normal. If somebody says something negative, avoid becoming too defensive. Listen to what is said, and if there is merit to the statement, act accordingly. Nevertheless, if the statement has no merit, don’t let it affect you.
Instead of dwelling on the negative situation, focus on creating solutions
The ultimate goal is to get things done. When you dwell on a negative situation or thought, you waste time because you’re not getting things done. Instead, acknowledge the situation but start thinking of solutions and improvements.
Ask open-ended questions
By asking open ended questions like “What do you think would happen if ________________?”, “What would you like to know about _____________________________?”,”What do you already know about _______ ?” you allow for more natural responses which expound upon the subject in question. This is great because it allows for individuality and expression among your peers and co-workers (a positive situation). Closed ended questions such as “Are you feeling better today?” “Do you think you are right?” “Which is better, green or red?” on the other hand, limit responses to either “yes” or “no” answers and depending on the context can be perceived as confrontational. If you are trying to determine the cause of a negative situation or create a more positive situation, asking open ended questions is the beset tactic to do so.
Choose to stay calm
We have more power over our actions than we give ourselves credit for. The decision to become irate or rationally calm is just that, a decision. Make a conscious, purposeful decision to remain calm when negative situations arise. Not only will this help you remain positive, but it will also help to turn the negative situation into a more positive situation.
Deal with one topic at a time
Talk things over and just deal with one topic at a time. This will allow you to focus on resolving situations that triggers negativity in the workplace more effectively.
Let other people express their opinions
Sometimes, all it takes to reduce negativity is hearing somebody out. We are all human and we all want to be heard and valued.
Never dismiss a complaint as being too trivial
This can apply in a work and personal environment. Do not get into the habit of dismissing complaints because they seem trivial. If someone thought that a complaint was important enough to voice it, than to that person the complaint is not trivial. Listen to what the person is saying and remember not to take things personally. The complaint can be a valid observation which needs to be addressed. By listening, you will validate the person and create a more supportive and positive environment.
Refrain from excessive rule making
This is another example of an advice that you can apply at work and at home. If you are the authority at your job, refrain from making excessive rules. You want to give people freedom to be individuals while still maintaining a proper work image. However, too many rules creates stress for your staff and can propagate a negative work and or home environment.
Implement a suggestion box program
Most of the time, problems in the workplace arise because the employees lack proper communication with the management. By implementing a suggestion box program, employees can express themselves freely thus management can ascertain what issues need to be addressed.
Sponsor company events that promote camaraderie among employees
This is more for the work environment. It is good to have a team building activity for your employees at least once every year. These activities will not only give them some sense of fun, it will also promote work-life balance and make them feel valued.
Investigate issues where several employees are involved
There are issues in the workplace that do not only concern an employee or two but a whole bunch of them. Such a problem promotes negativity and has to be addressed as soon as possible. To resolve this, try to investigate these issues and address them the best way you can.
Always respond swiftly
Addressing issues swiftly helps get rid of negativity fast. The longer you prolong acting on an issue, the more negativity can fester and influence you, the people around you, and even the people you work with.
Always have a negativity plan in place
It’s always good to have a negativity plan, meaning try to think of situations that are negative and agree in advance on how to respond to them. Granted, you can’t see the future, but by planning out different scenarios you will be more prepared to deal with similar situations when they arise. For example, let’s say you are at work and you hear your co-workers gossiping about your boss. How will you handle this negative situation? Think about it now so that when it happens, you already know what you will do.
Stop office gossip
If you are in a place of authority, educate your subordinates about the dangers of initiating and spreading gossip. Gossip is among the most common cause of negativity in the workplace as it triggers negative thoughts about other people and helps to adversely affect work and even personal relationships.