Negativity and Stress at Work

21.11.2017 |

Episode #7 of the course Overcoming mindless negativity by Sonia Chauhan


I don’t need to quote data to state that most people face issues that have an adverse effect on their mental health, either at work or school. The issues are abundant: entrepreneurial pressures, recession, job insecurity, workload pressure, competition, complaints, negative interactions, less pay, lesser downtime, work-life balance, and so on.

So, why do we suffer mentally because of work?


Ingraining Incorrect Worldviews

The first reason is this: We believe that happiness is at the other side of stress.

We assume that the external world predicts our happiness levels. The truth is, can you really tell how happy I would be in the next ten years if you knew everything about my external world?

Our happiness is mostly dependant on how our brains process the world. So, why are we still creating negativity and stress, knowing that this particular worldview is not helping our level of happiness or satisfaction?

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor suggests that most of us believe this about work and happiness: If I work harder, I’ll be more successful, and If I’m more successful, then I will be happier.

That’s how we motivate ourselves to get to work and see through years of stress-inducing drudgery that just fails to make us feel good. We perceive positive happiness as on the other side of success, and that’s probably why we are never positively happy with work.

It’s actually the other way around. Your brain works significantly better at meeting challenges when it is in a happier and positive state of mind. When you’re happier, your brain releases dopamine, which activates all the learning centers in your brain. This makes you more receptive and thus, better able to handle workplace pressures.

Achor also suggests ways to create happiness to combat negativity at work. Here are a few really useful ones:

1. Express gratitude for three things, 21 days in a row.

2. Ask yourself what psychologist Alison Ledgerwood’s husband asks her everyday, “What’s the one good thing that happened today?”

3. Once a week, write one thankful email to anybody in your social support system.


Participating in Unhealthy Work Cultures

The second reason is, toxic coworkers and negative work environment.

Psychotherapist Glen Rolfsen provides a Socrates-invented principle to deflect negative comments and office gossip. The next time someone shares with you juicy gossip, ask yourself:

1. Is it true?

2. Is it good?

3. Is it useful?

If the answer to all these questions is a NO, discard this piece immediately from your thoughts. Don’t dwell or act on it any further.


Key Takeaways That You Can Pin Up

Conjure happiness inside your brain by practicing gratitude. Happiness is success in itself.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the abundance of the internet in our daily lives and how it affects our subconscious minds and self-esteem.


Recommended video

The happy secret to better work: TEDx talk by Shawn Achor

How to start changing an unhealthy work environment: TEDx talk by Glenn D. Rolfsen


Recommended book

Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor


Share with friends