Mondays induce negativity like no other day. After all, weekends are straight-up awesome. If we’re lucky, we get to sleep in, enjoy a breakfast that’s not rushed, and maybe savor a cup of coffee while laughing at YouTube videos of dogs failing at being dogs. Sometimes, we have exciting activities planned. Sometimes we get to enjoy leisure time. And sure, sometimes we work. But let’s not talk about that here, deal?
After a couple of days away from your responsibilities, Monday can come crashing in like a wrecking ball. Cue Miley Cyrus. Or this hedgehog.
Yeah. Let’s go with the hedgehog.
When negativity threatens to wreck your Monday and make you less productive, try a few subtle things to help you make a major change in your attitude.
3 Quick Ways to Avoid Negativity at Work
1 Practice gratitude.
When we take time out to recognize all the good things happening in our day-to-day lives, we can’t help but become more positive, which makes us happier overall. It’s impossible to be both grateful and negative at the same time. And being grateful has surprising physical and mental health benefits.
Try keeping a gratitude journal. Take some time out of each week to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, and consider what your life might be like without them. If you’re struggling to get started, take a look at these tips from Robert Emmons, a leading expert and author of several studies on the science of gratitude.
2 Distract or combat.
The science of cognitive behavioral therapy brings us some cool ways to turn negativity around. When a negative thought enters your head, your first line of defense is to distract yourself from it. Listen to a song that makes you happy, hug a friend or family member, anything that will give your mood a boost.
If your negative emotion is still trying to get the best of you, put up a fight. Talk back to it and don’t be afraid to give it some serious attitude. Let’s say you trip getting off the elevator and drop your coffee, spilling it everywhere. Your mind may be inclined to think, I’m such an idiot! Why am I always so clumsy? Now, pretend your brain is a bully that just said the same thing about your friend (who happens to be exactly like you.) Hey, people trip sometimes. That doesn’t make them clumsy, let alone always clumsy.
3 Try a little mindfulness.
Have you ever noticed something about negative thinking? It always seems to involve either ruminating about things in the past (I really messed up by forgetting about that important meeting last week.) or catastrophizing about the future (Now everyone’s going to think I’m a total slacker.) Draw your mind away from all that by practicing a little mindfulness.
Start by noticing what’s happening around you. Notice the in and out of your breathing. Feel the air moving around you. Take in the smells. If you’re walking, pay attention to your gait and how your feet strike the pavement. If you’re typing, feel your fingers on the keyboard and listen to the sounds you make pressing the keys. It may seem simple, but mindfulness is powerful. It gets our heads out of the past and future and into the present moment.
It’s not as difficult as it may seem to start the week on a positive note. Just a small shift in your behaviors and habits will make a world of difference.