Chances are, when around a negative or critical person, you’ll find yourself responding in kind. It’s not that you’re some sort of sponge, easily influenced by another’s mood. Rather, the mirror neurons in your brain are just doing their job.
Like any neuron in the body, mirror neurons process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals. But the difference is that these neurons fire both when you do something and when you observe something. They essentially “mirror” the observed behavior, making you feel as if you’re experiencing first-hand whatever you’re seeing.
Think of the last time you saw some guy stub his toe. You probably felt it yourself. That’s mirror neurons at play.
So, if you spend the afternoon listening to negative talk, you start feeling negative yourself. If that negative talk is happening in the workplace, it doesn’t just impact your mood or demeanor but your motivation and productivity as well.
After all, negativity is a lot like water. It can find even the smallest of cracks to seep in, wreaking havoc on almost anything in its path.
Are You Impervious?
While you can’t necessarily stop negativity at work, you can put in place certain strategies to counteract its effect on you, and the following will often help:
1. Be mindful with your mornings. Putting a little positive, uplifting information into that computer chip you call your brain will provide some reinforcements when the negativity begins. It’s all about taking on the right mindset before starting your day.
Ask yourself, “What am I feeding my brain? What am I listening to? What am I choosing to consume?” Fill in your list, and determine whether it’s stacked with a bunch of empty calories or nutritious, life-affirming meals.
2. Prepare for the inevitable hurdles. You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your own. Understand where the negativity is found in the workplace, and remind yourself that there’s likely a deeper reason behind the cynical or fatalistic actions and talk. You don’t want to minimize any individual or group perpetuating its existence — than you’re becoming part of the problem yourself.
3. Seek out positive influences throughout the day. It could be reading a positive quote, watching a motivational clip, or looking at personal pictures that bring joy and happiness. Find triggers that can help shift your mind from the negative to the positive.
4. Don’t talk in-depth on the negativity. As James Redfield so eloquently said, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” If you focus intentionally on the negativity, you’re drawing your energy towards it. Choose to actively shift your attention onto the positive, and find the silver lining in every situation.
5. Kill ‘em with kindness. Though that may sound a bit clichéd, you can choose to be positive and upbeat when negativity comes calling. Be intentional about it. When negativity is thrown to you, counter it with your words and actions.
6. Lead by example. Another cliché, but one that rings true in this particular situation. Be the outlier and allow others to see your positive, joyful nature. They will begin to think something is wrong and perhaps come to you for advice on how you stay so positive.
And remember those mirror neurons? They work the other way, too. By exemplifying positivity, those synapses will start firing, making others feel as if they’re experiencing your joy first-hand.
If you’d like a motivational video of something you can utilize to put positive vibrations into the workday, click here for some Motivational Quotes. We can also set up a time to talk personally about being the positive change in your own life. All you need to do is let me know, and we can set up a time to talk.
“Negativity may knock at your door, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it in.” You always have a choice in the matter, so choose wisely. Your career could depend on it.