Many of us are blessed to work in healthy environments, with respectful and pleasant coworkers and supervisors. Unfortunately, many are working in less-than-healthy situations, surrounded by negative emotion. How can we stay removed from the negativity?
One strategy to dealing with pervasive negativity is to focus on the positive. This does not mean to take a “Pollyanna” approach and pretend that everything is just fine.
Focusing on positive aspects means that you are aware of what is not desirable but choose instead to focus on what you like. You may think, “I really like our new receptionist,” or “Joe is a tough boss but I really appreciate his understanding of our industry.” When you feel triggered, you may wish to breathe deeply and feel gratitude for one of these pleasant situations.
Mindfulness is also useful in a negative workplace, as in so many situations. When you focus completely on what you are doing, in this present moment, there is no room for outside influence. You may take a hyper-conscious approach to it: create extra focus on what you feel, see, touch, do, and hear.
You may find it helpful to try to become more objective about the situation, removing all emotion from what you observe. Without emotion, what do you see? This often creates a change of viewpoint – you understand the other’s perspective, you sense a new way of doing and being to resolve the situation.
It is important to be aware when a truly toxic environment is taking a toll on your well-being. Just as in a hostile home environment, if you feel unsafe in the workplace, this is a signal that it would benefit you to make a change. No one deserves to be verbally (or physically) threatened. If you feel you are not safe, report the situation to the appropriate party, and take steps to change your environment.
The more balanced and positive your outlook, the more easily you can deal with unpleasant emotions and behaviors in the workplace, as best as you are able.. If you want some personalized solutions, do not hesitate to contact us.