How to Overcome Negativity at Work

Even the most uplifting work environment is susceptible to negativity from time to time. Why? Because work is hard. Overwhelming demands, stress, frustration, conflicting agendas, uncertainty, communication breakdowns – they are all part of work. It’s easy for any of us to succumb to the temptation to complain, get frustrated, or otherwise unintentionally contribute to communication issues. If the company you work for is going through change or downsizing, negativity is amplified just when what you really need is encouragement to keep the ship sailing.

If you’re in a work environment in which negativity is poisoning the culture, I have good news. You can choose to stay positive even when the majority around you are not. By doing so, not only will you improve your outlook and ability to think creatively, you’ll have a positive influence on others.

Here are strategies to help you:

  • Consistently set your mind on positive thoughts. Colossians 3:1-2 tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above. It’s important to make this a daily habit. Don’t let your mind run on autopilot, but pay attention to what you think and say. Find things to be thankful for each day. Spend time in God’s Word to remind yourself of His character, love and constant help in everything you do. “Take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and replace negative thinking with positive, thankful, hopeful thoughts from God’s Word. Then you will be strengthened and prepared to look for solutions rather than giving into hopelessness and complaints when difficulty strikes.
  • Keep your words positive and uplifting. Our words have power. Words of gratitude and faith have the power to change how we feel. When we feel more gratitude, we not only open the door for God to work, we clear the path for ideas that lead to solutions and the opportunity to positively influence others.
  • Give grace. People are going to let us down. Then again, you’re also going to let people down now and then. Providing grace will free you from the stress and may open the door for those people to see a new way of thinking by your example. And you never know when you may need the same grace.
  • Trust God. A friend recently shared that no one can stop God from blessing you unless you let them. Huh! And when the blessings do show up, guess what – that’s all from God, not due to our own efforts. Sure you have to do your part, but God provides the success. Moses had to lift his staff before the Red Sea would part, but it wasn’t Moses doing the parting. If someone is getting in your way, if people are letting you down, if problems are making it difficult to achieve your goal, turn to God. Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)!  

In the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp makes a powerful point that applies in life AND at work – thanksgiving precedes the miracles. Do we need miracles at work? You bet we do. All the time. And if you want a miracle, the most important part you have to play is to stay positive and turn to God. Raise your staff of thanksgiving, trust, grace and love and watch God go to work on your behalf!

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