Some days you dread going to the office.
But it’s not the job you dread, it’s the people. More specifically, those negative co-workers whose sole purpose in life seems to be to bring you down.
Staying positive in such a negative environment is a pain in the rear you can do without.
But it’s their negativity and cynicism that’s going nowhere. Studies show that the main determinate to your career success is attitude. And a positive mood breeds a positive attitude.
Sure there’s every chance they don’t recognize the negative atmosphere they’re creating. However, empathy aside, your mental well-being, happiness and chances of advancement are being adversely affected.
What you need are a few simple strategies to build a force field around your own positivity.
23 Ways to Protect Your Positive Mood
Before You Get to the office
1. Wake up positive
Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to a lowered positive mood, irritability, hostility and even depression. Get a good night’s sleep and get a head start on preserving that upbeat mood.
2. Exercise positive
Create a mood boosting morning routine. Even if it means getting up a little earlier, take a short walk or jog outdoors.
3. Breakfast positive
Feast on a diet of positive news and other motivating sources before leaving the house.
4. Dress positive
It’s been known for a long time that color has an impact on our psychological mood. Add a splash of uplifting color – yellow or if you want to go a shade further, orange. For men, dress smarter for more confidence.
5. Smell positive
Researchers have found that smells trigger early memories, even though you may not be consciously aware of the connection. Just go with it and wear a scent or aftershave that uplifts you.
6. Think Positive
Positive thinking can help improve many aspects of your life, including coping with negative people. A positive outlook will allow you to see and grasp opportunities to boost your mood.
7. Affirm positive
Repeating a morning mantra such as “I’m a positive force strong enough to withstand any negativity” can boost your well-being and help you perform better at work.
8. See the positive
Being optimistic and seeing the bright side has long been linked to better mental and physical well-being, which in turn allows you to better deal with difficult people.
At The Office
9. Take the lead
Be prepared with upbeat topics to start a conversation. By going first you’ll have more control to ensure the tone stays positive.
10. Put a positive spin on it
If you can’t get in there first, turn the conversation around by seizing on a theme for which you have a related positive experience or story.
11. Use open body language
Another quick and simple way to boost your mood is using ‘power poses’. Also be alert to unconsciously mirroring the body language of your negative co-workers.
12. Sit up
Don’t be a slouch. Sitting up straight makes you more upbeat and along with open body language sends out positive vibes.
13. Avoid eye contact
During negative conversations focus away from their eyes. You will make less connection with them and their words will carry less weight as a result.
14. Learn to say ‘no’
Minimize your contact with negative co-workers by learning to say no to involvement with them whenever you can.
15. Change the tone.
If a co-worker is complaining or moaning say “hey, that clearly hasn’t made you feel good. How about we see how we could turn that around – are you up for that?”
16. Understand what they are really saying
Listen beyond the actual words others use, as negative chatter and miserable stories can often mask feelings of low self-esteem and inferiority. The empathy you feel will dilute their words and will also make you feel more positive towards yourself, further boosting your mood.
17. Leave gossiping to the gossipers
Talking about people behind their back has been shown to lower your self-esteem, even when you are not being overly critical. Stay positive and away from gossiping.
18. Laugh in the face of negativity
Well, smile at least and diffuse that negativity. Refuse to take them and their gloomy view of life or your workplace to heart.
Ramp up your defenses…
19. Offer some positive input
Send negative co-workers a link to a resource of positive daily inspiration they could subscribe to. Personalize the message below:
I noticed when we were chatting that you seemed a bit low. Here’s a great site [LINK] that helped me when I was feeling down – thought it might give you a lift.
20. Set the tone for your workspace
Protect your positivity with a permanent sign that’s clearly visible before anyone reaches you:
‘Nothing good to say? Then please say it somewhere else.’
21. Ditch that negativity
For a less subtle hint, place a wastebasket in front of your workstation with a sign: ‘Please dump your negativity here’.
22. Declare your stance
Let your co-workers know that you’re on a positivity drive or challenge. Ask supportive colleagues to call you out if you lapse.
If nothing else works…
23. Read them the riot act
Explain to negative co-workers that you have a serious allergic reaction to negativity. Tell them how your head swells and your eyes roll – they may have to call 911.
Protect Your Positive Mood
Fortify your immunity to other’s bad moods and pessimism with the simple steps above.
Refuse any longer to surrender your day, your positive mood and your future to the negativity of a co-worker.
After all it’s your life, your happiness and your career on the line here.
Make the decision – and make it a positive one.
About the Author
Laura Tong is on a mission to help you gain control of your life and happiness at work and at home. Follow Laura Tong on twitter.