Posted on Sep 27, 2019, 2 p.m.
You wake up in the morning, and you’re feeling pretty good. You get in your morning exercise, take a wonderful hot shower, and follow that with a delicious breakfast smoothie. You get dressed for work feeling and looking fantastic, by the time you get there you are feeling really positive and great your colleagues with happy smiles, waves, and hellos. Responses to your polite and friendly greetings range from eye rolls to monotonous nods, and you sense that your positivity is not being reciprocated but you ignore it, after all not everyone is a morning person.
You are focussing on your tasks at hand when mid-morning a colleague pops by, you hope its is for a quick chat, but instead get an ear full of various complaints. Not wanting to get sucked into the complaints you simply shrug and get back to work. Lunchtime comes around and you join one of the newer colleagues going to a cafe hoping to connect a bit more, which backfires because they have something negative to say about everything on the menu, who then moves onto complain about work and other colleagues. This makes you sigh heavily as it is becoming more difficult to hold onto your positivity as the day progresses, and you feel good attitude is starting to dull.
That negative person can make you feel bored, irritated, exhausted, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, depressed and even threatened after just a few moments. You may even feel guilty for starting to have negative thoughts about the person which makes you feel even worse. After the conversation you may have a headache, feel stressed, and you feel out of sorts.
If this sounds all too familiar don’t worry you are not alone. While it is true that not everyone is a morning person, most come around by mid day, then there are those that seem to just suck the energy out of you all day everyday. Some people are just negative all the time, never have a good thing to say, and most often have a scowl imprinted on their face. This negativity seems to drain any positivity, and most often others walk away from a conversation being influenced by them and the negativity. But it doesn’t have to be that way, they are things you can do to stop letting other people’s moods influence yours.
Take a moment to breathe the next time someone comes to you with negativity; taking a deep breath will lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels almost immediately. This will also relax the muscles in your body and help to refocus your mind allowing you to refocus on those feel good vibes and energy from being positive you want to protect.
Mentally hand back any negativity that comes your way, that’s not meaning to lash out at them, rather mentally take note of what they have said and the feelings being transmitted before mentally handing it back to them. It may sound weird but mental visualization exercises such as this can be incredibly powerful and empowering.
Visualize yourself being in a protective bubble that deflects all negativity while allowing in the positive. Don’t let anyone burst that bubble, if someone is being negative simply imagine mentally bouncing it back to them. You can even imagine the negativity being rain or waves and that bubble is waterproof so the negativity simply washed away without getting to you.
Try to keep a poker face and not join in with complaining and negativity. It is fine to show sympathy and compassion but don’t join in and reinforce their behavior as this will create an even stronger downwards negative spiral and it will be harder for you both to shake it off.
Positivity, emotions, and moods can be just as contagious as negative, this means that you can try to shift the energy to being more positive with your words and behavior. You can do this by offering sympathetic smiles, positive compliments, or positive comments where relevant. Even mentioning the sun shining or a beautiful rainbow can be enough to add some positivity. If it is a familiar person you can even try a gentle supportive touch on the arm or a hug if it is appropriate and not breaking boundaries.
Assess your own emotional capacity and just how negative that person is, the extent of your own capacity will determine how much of that person you can tolerate. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is to ask if the negative person is ok, this may even dissipate the negativity that was there. By allowing a person to voice concerns it will help to make them feel like they are heard and cared for which can bring positivity. However, sometimes people may not respond positively, in these cases just let them vent while you take those deep breaths and visualize the bubble staying strong. After the person is done venting be sure to give yourself a few moments to recenter back into a more positive place.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, following a healthy diet, and are physically active this it will help you to find it easier to stick to your moods. If you are hungry, mentally tired, and physically lethargic you are more prone to being sucked into negativity from others. If you take care of yourself physically it has the added benefit of also taking care of your mind, and your mind will also take care of you.
When it comes down to it the only mood you can manage is your own. You can try your best to help shed some positive light onto others, but there is no guarantee it will work or even be accepted, which is why it is important to have a good handle on yours.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.