We respond to the atmosphere around us. Just as a smile can be infectious, negativity breeds negativity.
Words to think about.
My favorite quote, and words to live by, is by Charles Swindoll.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
A favorite teacher had it written on her board. In fact, she is probably the reason that I love quotes and seek out tidbits of wisdom from them each day. To a teenage girl struggling through life, these words were profound. This quote became a call to action and a driving force for my direction. I couldn’t control the situation, but I could control my response and my pursuit for something better in life. When in the classroom, I kept this quote posted above my whiteboard in hopes that it would reach some other struggling teen.
You never know what some are going through if they don’t say. It’s important to remember this as it will help with how we react in negative situations. We respond to the atmosphere around us and that response is a choice. You can choose to respond negatively, positively, or make a conscious choice to not respond at all. Making that choice is not always easy. Sometimes our instinct is to be reactive. That’s when it is important to stop, wait, and make a choice. You can continue the negativity, embrace the positive, or change what you are surrounded by.
Every day we are faced with both positive and negative moments. Sometimes work is stressful. It is easy to join in the lamentations of the frustration. Does it help?
Workplace negativity is an increasing problem. Follow social media, read the opinions and editorials you find on LinkedIn or other business related sites. Increasing work demands and an overextended workforce, changing office policy, open work-space policies, and any number of other frustrations are written about on a daily basis. Not all frustrations are actually work related. The demands of life and increasing personal stress increase the negativity brought to work. So that negative comment or perceived slight may actually have nothing to do with you personally. Joining in the negative, feeds the negative.
Again, you can continue the negativity, embrace the positive, or change what you are surrounded by. What if you change the narrative? What if your positive attitude overpowered the negative atmosphere? What if you tried it to see? You don’t have to be super up-beat or over the top. Smile more and avoid participating in negative conversation. Smiling is proven to be beneficial to both self and others- even when you don’t feel like it. It won’t fix everything, but it’s a great step in the right direction and in the chaos it is something we can control when the negative threatens to take everyone down.
Smiling or fake smiling not an option for you? Try to find the positive. Point it out and express hope for improvement. The situation really sucks and there is no positive? You don’t have to participate in negative conversation. You don’t have to listen to the gripe session or participate in it. It’s as simple as polite acknowledgement of frustration and excusing yourself to do something else.
To keep it in social media terms, don’t feed the trolls. (Even better, don’t be one.)
It’s not easy to avoid getting sucked into the negative, but it is a choice.
Live life. Give joy. Be at peace.
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