I remember being a kid when my mom would come home after a long day of work and I could tell without seeing her, and only by only the sound of her heels on the tile floor if she had a bad day. I didn’t know it then, but what I felt was her “energy”. Energy is like a yawn, it is contagious. If we don’t realize our energy is negative, everyone around us is susceptible to being infected!
Energy drains are all around us, professionally and personally, but what happens at work when you can’t always just walk away?
The great news is you don’t have to be a business owner or part of the Executive Team to boost morale around the office. Here are 5 simple things you can do as an individual to make a difference:
Encourage Free Expression: Creating a group or team atmosphere where people feel they can freely express themselves, whether positively or negatively, is a group attribute to strive for! Having freedom of expression has been linked with individuals naturally demonstrating their affective tendencies (study). Next time someone is having a rough day or putting out questionable energy, remember you can let them have their feelings without necessarily putting the group in jeopardy!
Smile: As easy as this may sound, smiling has been shown to decrease stress and help you cope with frustrating circumstances (study). Whether you force your smile, or genuinely embrace it, the next time you experience any kind of negative energy, take deep breath and just smile.
Do something fun: Whether your company culture embraces an out-of-the-box approach to having fun at work or not, you can still find ways to “have fun”. When things around the office seem gloomy or overbearing, find a reason to celebrate! Maybe it is someone’s birthday, hiring anniversary, or just a random holiday – either way, organize a simple and creative way to break the monotony (and make sure there is good food, people looove good food!).
Take a break: Finding distance from a stressful situation can help you refocus and balance your own energy. In essence, take a break and do more of what makes you happy! Maybe that means packing your favorite lunches and savoring them in a happy place, or maybe it means intentionally talking to uplifting and happy people throughout the day. There is no wrong way to take a happy break! ☺
Be positive: If negative energy is contagious, so is positive (Psychology Today)! When you find yourself knee-deep in negativity, try to infuse conversations with positive and affirming words, try to use a soft tone, and most importantly, stay in good spirits.
What do you do when you’re faced with negativity at work? What struggles are you facing? Leave your comments below.