No matter which field you are in, you likely spend a large majority of your waking hours at work. It is almost like your second home. Some days it even feels like you hardly ever left before you are back at it again. Because of all the time you spend there, it is important to find ways to maintain your mental health in your workspace.
Here are five tips on how to deal with negativity in the workplace:
1. Coping Skills
The first step to maintaining your mental health in the workplace is understanding your triggers. What is it exactly at the office that makes you drag yourself to work? A demanding boss, a co-worker who puts you down too quickly often, feeling left out in social groups formed at the workplace?
Our brain seeks to avoid threats and gain rewards. Hence a coping plan that suits you would be helpful in charged atmospheres. Some people practice deep breathing at their desk, listen to a funny podcast, take a walk- when they detect threats or feel triggered. What has helped you so far whenever you start feeling stressed, humiliated or betrayed at work?
2. Judge by your own experience
You may have that one co-worker who loves complaining about everyone and everything in the company to you. The amount of negativity that constantly feeds the conversation can surpass any positivity you have for your company. What you can do as you continue to hang out with that co-worker is to reflect on your own experience at work, draw your thoughts-boundaries clearly to ensure that you don’t internalize your colleagues’ complaints as your own.
3. Maintain Your Own Self-Care Routine
The best way to maintain your mental health is self-care. Your job can put a lot of pressure on you to perform and stress accumulates quickly. Have your own stress management regime every day or every week. For example, exercise is a great way to relieve stress and manage emotions. Journaling is also proven to be an effective way to channel your energy. Affirmations are extremely useful in practicing positivity and gratitude in your daily life. Whatever it is you enjoy, be sure to schedule it into your life often to avoid burnout and manage your mental health.
4. Be Aware of What You Can Control and What is Out of Your Control
One of the most powerful ways we can tackle negativity in our lives is recognizing what you can and cannot control. All you can do is give your best and focus your energy on what you can control, while letting go of what we cannot control.
For example, we can control the effort we put in our work, who we talk to, how much we smile, and our own thoughts. We cannot control what our boss is going to say, what others will think of us, or what our colleagues’ responses will be. Understanding what we can control helps us evaluate what to put effort in and empowers us to reserve our energy in important actions and thoughts. Meanwhile, we don’t let the negativity of what we cannot control consume us because those factors are out of our hands.
5. Beware of the Leeches
Because you have figured out a way to navigate the landmine of your workspace, you feel much healthier, more productive, and genuinely happier. Your strength is apparent and your face glows. Sometimes, there will be some that can smell your self-validation and happiness and attempt to interfere. They may try to stir new workplace drama or let you in on some controversial gossip. But hold on to your positive patterns and do not cave in to entertaining negative thoughts that may linger on after work.
Whether you work in business, finance, healthcare, education, non-profit organizations, or any other industry, remember that there is no perfect work environment. Working with people comes with the ebb and flow of a successful career path. Figuring out how to manage negativity and stress not only helps with your daily well-being, but it can bring you more positive outcomes in your career as well.
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