Workplace negativity can pump the brakes on a productive day faster than brewing a Keurig coffee pod.
You’re chugging along, meeting deadlines and chatting with customers, when *WHAM* negativity enters the scene.
Maybe someone hit “reply-all” with a rant on the office temperature (I think we can all agree 73 degrees is way too cold for the cute office wear) or…
Perhaps someone put a passive-aggressive sign on the printer about replacing the paper when it runs out (an unspoken rule).
Whatever it is, it’s bringing the whole office down.
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And when you’re rolling in workplace negativity for over 40 hours a week, it can be really difficult to stay positive.
It’s enough to make you want to call in sick, grab your favorite tub of ice cream (no judgment here — I go for mint chocolate chip), and stay in your yoga pants all day!
Of course no workplace is PERFECT, so how can you know if your office just had a collective bad day or is a negativity breading ground?
Your workplace may need a negativity intervention if…
- You leave work feeling drained and frustrated most days.
- You find yourself snapping at people or responding in anger when that’s normally not your style.
- Negative or bad energy is almost palpable in the office.
- Visitors have commented on the vibe in the office (and not in a good way).
- You find yourself dreading going to work because of the STAFF, not the work load or type.
- You’ve started looking for other jobs based on the culture.
If you’re nodding your head right now, never fear! There are ways to nip workplace negativity in the bud and keep rocking your job!
Tips for Dealing with Workplace Negativity (#7 and 8 are a must :)
1. Stay out of it… if possible.
If the negativity isn’t directed at you specifically or doesn’t impact your projects, try to keep a healthy distance. Sometimes people who create negative energy are looking for attention. If they don’t get it, they may drop their attitude and move on.
2. Be professional.
Sometimes you simply can’t stay out of it. In those cases, be professional, and address the issue at hand ONLY. Negativity can’t take root if you refuse to acknowledge it.
So, if the topic shifts and the meeting now resembles an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, excuse yourself from the room and come back when they’re talking about the actual situation.
3. Make new work buddies.
Workplace negativity is more contagious than the winter flu. Because like energies attract like energies, it’s not uncommon to find whole groups of unhappy people scowling at the lunch table.
This next part, I say with love:
If you find yourself in the midst of a negative Nancy convention, consider the company you’re keeping.
Continuing to hang out with them will not only lower your vibe, it can send the message to management that you share their feelings too. Try branching out and meeting new people around the office!
4. Be I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T (just like Webbie).
It’s really easy to let our identities get wrapped up in our work. But when we have lives and passions outside of work, workplace negativity and drama are waaaay less likely to pull us down.
So take a look at what you’re spending your time on OUTSIDE of work. Pick up a hobby or take a class!
Pro Tip: Adult coloring totally counts as a hobby and it’s really fun. (I have this coloring book – LOVE it!)
5. Journal it out.
Sometimes, certain situations can trigger past stressors or events. If you find that workplace negativity is drudging up yucky stuff from the past, try journaling about it.
Realizing the picture is bigger than Susie having a bad day at work will put the situation in perspective.
Super important tip: Once you’ve journaled about it, make the commitment to leave it all on the pages and not carry it around. (Here are some exercises for journaling when you are feeling anxious, stuck or sad.)
6. Meditate during the day.
I like to meditate first thing in the morning, but in a situation like this it may be helpful to mediate throughout the day!
Meditation helps you connect with your Higher self and gain perspective which can be really useful when combating negativity. Try doing a quick session at lunch (you’d be amazed how a 5-minute meditation can help) or periodically through the day.
Pro Tip: I love the app Headspace — it makes it super easy to squeeze a session in whenever and wherever!
7. Carry a crystal with you.
Certain crystals are known to deflect negative energy or turn it into positive, so try making one a permanent fixture in your cubicle. I keep a Black Tourmaline crystal on my desk and carry one in my purse!
8. Try aromatherapy.
If you work in an open office you probably can’t run your diffuser all day, but you can still take advantage of essential oils!
Frankincense, Lavender, White sage, and Lemon are all fantastic oils for clearing energy.
Just dab a little on your wrists mixed with some non-scented lotion or a carrier oil and rub it in where you would normally put perfume. Enjoy the subtle scent all day. (PS – My favorite brand of essential oil is Arome.)
Pro Tip: Have you ever heard of sage cleansing your home to get rid of negativity? Well, friends, did you know that you can get sage SPRAY in a handy-dandy bottle?! OMG this is the BEST thing since sliced bread… seriously! Just spritz a little in your work space and voila!
9. Be willing to move on.
If negativity has taken root in the company culture, it’s possible you may need to move on in order to truly rid yourself of the negative situation. In these situations, it can be helpful to start doing some abundance manifesting exercises while you look for a new job.
10. Go to the source.
If there’s a certain person who all the negativity is stemming from, have a chat with them if it’s appropriate. It’s possible they’re going through a really tough time and just need someone to listen for awhile. Maybe their negativity is a cry for attention or help.
BUT, be careful to not let them pull you into their cycle or bring you down.
11. Protect yourself (and your energy).
If your best attempts fail you and you’re cornered by a negative worker who is making you feel icky, imagine surrounding yourself and your personal space with a white, opaque light.
This simple high-vibration technique will help protect you from energy-drain!
You can do this anywhere, anytime, so you never have to go unprotected. In fact, I got in the habit of doing it every morning with my meditation.
12. Leave it at work.
Whatever you do, don’t let this negative workplace energy hitch a ride home with you. Energies and actions have ripple effects, and no one wins if you bring this negativity home and pass it on to your husband, and he passes it on to his workout buddies, and they pass it on to their families.
See? It is possible to deal with workplace negativity and not let it ruin a job you love! Plus, since negative energies exist everywhere, you can even look at it as practice that will carry over into your personal life. Win-win.
So put your cutest combat boots on and tackle that workplace negativity!