Have you had times at work when everything is going reasonably well, you’re in a good mood, and that one co-worker comes in spreading their negativity darkening your day?

Most of us have been there.  The natural tendency is to try to avoid that person, but it’s not easy, especially if they are seated close to you in the workplace.

So what do you do?

You can try to resist them, or confront them.  However, this only creates more friction.  If a person is negative, you’re not going to change them.  However, you can change your reaction to them.

Think about this:

The next time they are near or interact with you, notice how you feel inside.

Most likely, you are tensed.  This intensifies when you are following the basic animalistic nature.  Flight or fight.

Take a tip from superstar athletes when they are under pressure to make that crucial shot to win a game.

Have you ever seen a basketball game, where a player is about to take a free throw in the basket, especially when the game is tied?  The fans from the opposing team are hooting and screaming at him and waving their souvenir big foam fingers at them, trying to make the player miss the shot.

The athlete knows he can make the basket if he masters himself by relaxing into that moment, despite fans calling him out of his name.   He is focused on letting go of the tension in his body.

In other words, he embraces the present moment instead of on his thoughts or emotions reacting to the opposing fan’s insults.

You can do the same.  When that negative person comes around, put your attention inside.  Wherever you feel tense, in your chest, stomach, or head, welcome that feeling up and let it go.

Anger, and frustrations are simply trapped energy, and you can let it pass like bad weather.

You’ll notice suddenly you feel more relaxed, in control, and more powerful.  The other person is no longer under your skin, or they don’t bother you like before.

Why?  Because when you are relaxed instead of being tensed, there is nothing for them to resist.

They will see and feel that their efforts are fruitless and move on, or the problem between you will resolve itself.

This takes practice, but it’s better than being controlled by someone.  Right?

Remember, you are the master of your world.


Walter H. Jackson, Msc.D. is the author of “Sporting the Right Attitude: Lessons Learned in a Trouble Family,” a finalist in the USA Book News Awards.