6. Let it Go. Don’t Fester.
Scream into a pillow, write in your journal or write a horrible letter to the person that you’ll never share (write this at home! You don’t want it found at the office). Do what you need to get that crappy energy out of your system. One study found that people who journaled for three days, twenty minutes a day, reported significantly less depression scores.
There are a few meditations and energy healing techniques to let go of other people’s negative energies at work.
One quick and effective way to let go is to use deep belly breathing. Whenever you find yourself in a negative situation, take a few deep breaths all the way into your belly to calm yourself down. Inhale deeply to the count of five, and exhale to the count of eight. Having a longer exhale will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and help calm you down.
7. The Power of Ritual.
Another helpful trick is to have a small ritual or daily habit to let go of other people’s negative energy. One client of mine who worked at a fast growth tech start-up liked visualizing letting go of the day’s stress every time he got in the elevator to leave work. As the elevator went down, he’d imagine that he was releasing all the stress from his day. Then he’d listen to upbeat music as he left the elevator to get in a really happy mood.
Washing your hands or lighting a candle first thing when you get home from work is another simple, effective ritual. It sounds silly, but give it a shot and see for yourself. As you feel the warm water and bubbles of soap on your hands, visualize or imagine that you’re washing off other people’s negative energy and the stress from your day. Do this before entering your private space with those you love. This will help you avoid bringing that negative energy into your home.
8. Practice Self-Compassion and Forgiveness.
When you’re frustrated by the behavior of others, instead of judging them or beating yourself up for judging them, practice self-compassion. Start by saying to yourself; “This is hard. Other people have struggled with this too. Let me be kind to myself in this moment.”
Then, imagine what you’d say to a friend who was dealing with a similar situation. Say those same words to yourself.
You can also practice forgiveness towards the person whose behavior impacted you negatively. Try imagining them as a young child, innocent and happy. See if you can have compassion for that version of them.
Remember, inside every bully, jerk or a**hole is a wounded little girl or boy who didn’t get what they needed. When someone feels whole and complete, they don’t feel the need to harm others. People lash out or are negative to others only because they’re in pain themselves. Think back on a time when you did or said something you’re not proud of; were you hurting inside when you did it?
Put yourself in their shoes by thinking; “This person, just like me, wants to be successful. This person, just like me, is trying to prove their worthiness. This person, just like me, wants to feel loved and cared for. This person, just like me, wants to be respected. This person, just like me, has experienced pain in their life and sometimes takes it out on others in an unproductive way. This person, just like me, deserves to feel love and belonging….”
9. Surround Yourself with Happy People.
Here’s a brutal, loving truth; if you constantly find yourself surrounded by miserable people, maybe you’re the common denominator! This is not a fun truth to acknowledge, but naming it is the first step to shifting it.
If this feels true to you, don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. You can make a new choice at any moment and begin surrounding yourself with happy people. Pay attention to the culture of an organization and look for red flags. Are the people genuinely happy to be there?