Negative Work Environment:

How to Stay Positive in a Negative Work Environment

by Debbie Mandel

The work ethic is part of the American lifestyle. We like to contribute, take pride in our effort and get compensated financially and emotionally. Work is about integrating our personal rhythm with daily routines and other people. As we get busy, life gets rushed; our personal equilibrium gets harder to maintain and as a result we are giving others partial attention. We make mistakes and misunderstandings occur. That’s when negative “situations” begin to occur at the workplace.

Mark and Tom who work for a software company were assigned a prominent market research project to evaluate the competition for the company’s new software product. During the first week of the project Mark kept seeing Tom working on other assignments and finally lashed out at him for not pulling his weight. Fortunately, Tom calmly explained that he was tying up loose ends, clearing his desk, so that he could devote his complete attention to their project. Mark’s mind reading almost sabotaged the team spirit.

To stay positive requires restoring your natural rhythm to be in sync with others. Instead of expending useless energy plotting an angry response, or carrying around a weight of resentment by constantly tallying up every additional remark or action, try allowing people to be who they are and not forcing them to be who you are!

Here are some suggestions for turning a negative work environment into a positive:

  • When you start to feel negative, fool around, do nothing and relax. You will reap the amazing benefit of the creative process by releasing wasted energy and opening up a conduit for creative ideas to come to you.
  • Manage your personal stress levels which helps you to be resilient and not jump to conclusions. If you are hungry, take a break and eat. If you are sleepy, take a ten minute power nap. If you are irritable, take a walk.
  • Respond to the negative situation; don’t react. Look for positive qualities in the people who push your button and go out of your way to be helpful.
  • Positive moods occur when you make the most of yourself – not turning your attention to others.
  • Adapt to the “situation” or the person, rather than impose yourself.
  • Exchange places with your adversary at work. How does he or she see you? How can you help them? Be affirmative, not negative.
  • Don’t worry about failing. Worry more about failing to be kind, open and understanding. Everybody fails and gets rejected. Failure helps you to grow and succeed. However, if you are unkind and act without integrity even if you achieve success, you are suppressed inside as a person.

To be relaxed and happy at work you must have a sense of yourself and your specific talent. Also, you need to be self-aware, to gauge your own behavior, motivation and personal rhythm, always on the alert when you cross the line into negativity. Know your triggers and try to understand them. Make a commitment to internal peace and don’t wait for external circumstances to create peace for you because peace and serenity begin inside and emanate outward. You possess the power to change your work environment.

About the Author
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit her site.

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