10 Simple Steps to Reducing Negativity At Work

Modern workplaces can be stressful – lots of work, pressing deadlines, people issues and working extra hours to name a few – and stress can easily lead to negativity.

If you’re experiencing negativity at work – whether it’s coming from somebody else or from within yourself – you can take steps to change it. It often takes patience and practice because negativity can be a habit but, as you’d know, habits can be changed!

It’s entirely possible to reduce negativity and help make your workplace a happier place for everybody.

Here are 10 simple steps to help you get started today…

1. Take an honest look at yourself. Are you spreading negativity? It’s normal to sometimes to feel discouraged, overwhelmed, jealous or angry at work. The trick is to become aware of when you’re sharing how you feel to try to make yourself feel better. By telling everyone how bad you feel, you can easily become a happiness sapper and source of tension for the people you work with. Try to be a positive companion where possible.

2. Step up your self-care. Stress can lead to negativity and if you’re under stress, you’ll have lots of stress hormones in your body. That means physical self care is crucial. Eating well, physical activity and adequate sleep all help to reduce the toll of stress hormones and are proven to improve your mood.

3. Engage your curiosity. When something or someone doesn’t do what was expected, don’t get angry or upset. Approach it like a puzzle. What parts of it went right? Where was the pitfall? How could you use this knowledge for future planning?

4. Refocus your energy onto what’s strong and less on what’s wrong. That could be particular people, a process, a relationship; anything that is strong and working well. A strengths-based focus is proven to boost wellbeing.

5. Find and give support. Research shows that having a trusted friend at work is crucial to being happy and resilient to stress. Invest time and energy into positive relationships at work.

6. Challenge negative thoughts. Sometimes negative thoughts are justified but more often they come from our internal fears or lack of confidence. Ask yourself “what would I tell a friend who was feeling this way?”. Coach yourself – or others- into taking a balanced and realistic view.

7. Reassure when change seems threatening. When uncertainty comes up, be friendly and kind – whether it’s to yourself or others. We all need encouragement from time to time.

8. Create a sense of meaning. Finding a way to connect your work to what is meaningful to you can help you to take a bigger view and remain positive in challenging times.

9. Let go of how things were “supposed to be” and accept “how things are.” Management or others might not act in the way you believe they should. Systems and processes might suck. That’s normal. To keep these things from stressing you and making you negative, find some appreciation in ‘what is’.

10. Keep things in perspective. Or try on a new perspective. Getting get stuck in negative thinking patterns will only create a downward spiral of emotions for yourself and those around you. Stay realistic, avoid comparisons, and take a longer view.

Action Steps

Which will you use TODAY to help reduce negativity in yourself and/or others?

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Adele Sinclair is a wellness coach and trainer who focuses on mental wellbeing at work. She has a background in management and experienced job burnout twice as a result of ongoing work stress. If you liked this article, you'll love Adele's coaching programs to help you with strategies for a great worklife.