While looking at the social media comments as 2017 came to a close, I was struck by how many people were glad to see the end of the year. They lamented the negativity, the divisiveness and the general unhappiness that seemed to infect the country.
That negativity also has shown up in the workplace. Many people feel like they need to slap on headphones and stay huddled around their computer all day to avoid unpleasant discussions over world issues.
But I think when that happens you just become sadder and even more isolated. That's why I think it's important to be more proactive and have a strategy in place to deal with negativity at work.
- Look for positive people. Just as some people seem to wallow in their misery, there are others who seem to always have a positive, upbeat attitude. When you ask them how they are, they respond with "Great!" Make sure you interact in some way with these people as often as you can, especially if you've had a negative experience with the office Debbie Downer.
- Listen to yourself. If you find yourself constantly complaining about politics or even the traffic, break free of that cycle by finding more positive things to talk about. Think about the positive interaction you had with a customer, or the funny joke your bus driver shared.
- Handle social networking carefully. While chatting with friends online can be fun and make you feel better, the same cannot be said when you get into snarky interactions with strangers, Don't spend your time getting angry at people you don't even know, or feeling sad when people make hateful comments. Move on.
- Help others. So many companies these days contribute to their communities by helping at food banks or organizing blood drives. Get involved or ask to organize an event to support a cause to help others. Putting positive energy into worthwhile activities can help reduce the impact of workplace negativity.