How to combat negative thoughts at work
When experiencing failure or a professional setback, it’s possible that everything will seem bleak. When negative thoughts begin cropping up, they may cloud your view of the situation, preventing you from making objective decisions. Getting drawn into a downward spiral at work not only affects your performance and productivity, but can have a strong – and sometimes devastating – impact on your emotional and physical well-being.
A recent study by the Malaysian Ministry of Health found that one in 15 Malaysians suffer from various stages of depression. If you, too, struggle to see anything positive at work and are looking to turn things around, take a look at the following suggestions:
Recognise negative thought patterns
Are you constantly barraged by negative and unproductive thoughts? Whether it’s anxiety and constant worry or bitterness and regret, just recognising and acknowledging the negativity can be a first step to self-awareness. If you can sense your energy getting low, don’t let the situation drain you completely. One quick-and-easy way of dealing with it is to change your scenery. If possible, take a break and go for a quick walk to get some vitalising fresh air, or just get up and away from your desk for a bit. Even just a few minutes away can help you to re-energise and re-focus on your tasks for the day.
Don’t blame others
When things go south or simply don't go your way, it’s easy to point the finger at someone else. However, this will eventually create an additional wave of negative sentiment. Instead, take a step back and look at what you could have done differently, from reacting to the situation to avoiding the problem in the first place. In most cases, you’ll find there was something you can learn from so that you perform better next time. Learn to accept missteps, take responsibility and adapt to the situation.
Stop complaining and take ownership
Is your client giving you a hard time? Are you not getting the recognition you deserve at work? We all experience the occasional frustration and challenge at work, but there are ways to channel the negative energy into a positive outcome. One that isn’t productive? Complaining to your colleagues. There’s a big difference between complaining and addressing a problem, so instead of grumbling about it, speak up and take the issue to the right party. This will help you to start a productive conversation, and if you handle yourself maturely, people will respect you for your forthrightness.
Bring positivity to others
One of the easiest ways to get out of your own head is to focus the people around you. If you’re finding it hard to be positive about yourself, try to spread positivity and kindness to others. Make it a daily habit to practice random acts of kindness, such as giving a genuine compliment or offering help to a colleague. All of these little things can add up to you feeling really good about what you did. So don’t underestimate the power of positive energy: it can help you battle through the darkest of times.