How often do you think negatively at work?
For example, when overloaded with work, do you sometimes think, “This isn’t fair!”
Or when a coworker is unpleasant, perhaps you think to yourself, “He’s a jerk.”
If so, don’t feel bad – we’ve all been guilty of this from time to time.
We can’t always control such negative thoughts, but learning to recognize when we’re doing it is the first step to changing those thought patterns so we don’t end up reacting in a destructive way, alienating our coworkers, and making the workplace unpleasant. But how?
The Ultimate Technique To Be A Better Person At Work
The aim is to first recognize the negative thought, then to replace it with a positive (and true!) statement.
This will help to neutralize the underlying anger, sadness, or fear that triggers the destructive thought–and any destructive behavior that might follow.
Check out some examples of some negative thoughts you might be having at work, and how to transform them to make you a better person at work.
Transform These Thoughts To Be A Better Person At Work
1. “I can’t do it.”
When faced with a challenging task, a big workload, and a tight deadline, you feel overwhelmed and defeated. You start telling yourself it’s impossible, that you can’t do it. Once you say this to yourself, you feel even worse. Your energy wanes, your mood plummets, and your productivity slumps.
Instead, think: “I’ll do the best I can. One thing at a time.”
Notice how this statement has no negative emotions attached to it. This irrefutable statement has the immediate effect of boosting your energy and motivation.
2. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
At a team meeting, when asked to give your opinion of a new initiative, you go off on a mini-rant about how it’s taking too long to learn and distracting you from more important work. Then you start worrying that you shouldn’t have anything at all, and you spend the rest of the day beating yourself up, cringing, and hiding in your cubicle.
Instead, think: “It’s human to make mistakes.”
Saying this truth to yourself automatically gives you permission to forgive yourself, move on, and talk to your teammates about how you’ve undergone an attitude shift and you’re going to be a model of resilience for others.
3. “How could [coworker] do that to me?”
A coworker you collaborated with on a project made a presentation to the department head behind your back–and got all the credit. You’re furious, and your first thought is, how dare he?
Instead, think: “People are the way they are, not the way I want them to be.”
Holding on to all that anger and frustration–and possibly ranting and making accusations–won’t serve you well. From this position, you will be clear-headed enough to talk to him and let him know how his actions affected you.
4. “Do I have to do this?”
Almost every job–especially those that are lower down on the power hierarchy–requires that you sometimes do tedious, boring, or seemingly senseless tasks, and it can be frustrating—but this thought isn’t serving any purpose.
Instead, think: “This is an opportunity to learn something new.”
This statement helps you stop feeling sorry for yourself and will help to make you a better person at work. Once you lose the resistance and the resentment, you may be able to see the task as an essential part of a bigger process. Or perhaps you will be able to figure out a better or quicker way to do it.
5. “I’m special in this office.”
You’re part of a pool of new workers who seem less capable or experienced than you, and you’re eager to differentiate yourself from this pack of newbies and get noticed. You are, indeed, special, but there’s a better way to think.
Instead, think: “I can help others.”
If you don’t want to alienate yourself from your fellow workers and be seen as arrogant, you need to change this destructive thought into a truth that neutralizes the negativity and, when acted upon, will make you the most popular, desirable new hire.
Be a better person! Get in the habit of recognizing a destructive thought before you act on it. Then learn to neutralize it with a simple truth. If you use this simple behavioral technique in the workplace, people will see you as cooperative, thoughtful, respectful, kind, and balanced.
Jude Bijou MA MFT is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and consultant. Her theory of Attitude Reconstruction® evolved over the course of more than 30 years as a licensed marriage and family therapist and is the subject of her multi-award-winning book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life.
Photo by letz (letto)