You probably already know that when happy people surround you, you also get happier. And when you’re around negative people, they tend to bring you down. But did you know there’s a term for this phenomenon? It’s called emotional contagion, and just like the flu bug, you can catch it from others.
Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, did a study in 2008 in which researchers discovered that hanging around happy people resulted in the individuals they studied being 25% more likely to be satisfied, too. Unfortunately, it works both ways: negative people also tend to demoralize their companions.
You spend a great deal of time at work, and moody coworkers can be a real challenge. You want to be successful in your career, and keeping a positive attitude is one of the elements in achieving success. But it’s difficult to remain upbeat when you must work near someone moody or cynical most of the time.
You might feel you have no control over dealing with a negative coworker, but there are some things you can try that could help you deal with it. Here are four of them:
Acknowledge that you can’t control their behavior.
Once you realize you have little or no control over a coworker’s conduct, you can focus on your response to it. Take your emotions out of the equation and concentrate on how you can react without bringing you down or leaving you dwelling on the situation.
Stay out of office (or shop) politics.
Many negative coworkers are prone to gossip whenever they can. If you can resist getting involved in workplace politics, you have a good chance of avoiding the gossipers. If one of them approaches you, let them know that you have no interest in the topic.
Hang around the positive people.
There are positive people in almost every workplace. Find them and hang out with them. Turning your attention to the upbeat crowd is one of the best ways to counter the effect of negative coworkers. They will also tend to make you feel happier and more productive.
Trade stories with a close friend.
This friend should probably be someone from outside of work. Otherwise, you could get caught up in the gossip maelstrom that you’re trying to avoid. Trading stories with a companion is an excellent way to find both humor and comfort in these negative goings-on at work.
Is it time for a fresh start?
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