Have you ever arrived at your job in a great mood and ready to work when, minutes later, you are ready to scream into a pillow and run away never to return? If you ask yourself “what happened?” I am willing to bet that while it could have been a multitude of things, it was someone’s negativity that got to you that quickly.

Attitude is described as the way you mentally or emotionally respond to something. There are many benefits to having a positive attitude. With a positive attitude you will be able to cut through the clutter of negativity and better focus on what is important. Having a positive attitude has also been known to lower blood pressure and increase hormones, which allows you to better handle stress.

The Downside to Negativity

Negativity seems to slow people down and clog up thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, it can even get you to the point where you just want to give up. In my opinion, a positive attitude is important for many reasons. For example, a negative attitude can adversely affect your ability to believe you can succeed. I know that when I feel negative, it’s harder for me to put in the effort it takes to succeed.

Now, I truly believe it is important to have a positive attitude in all aspects of life, and having positivity at work is no exception. Working in healthcare, our attitudes may have a greater impact on other people than in other parts of our day-to-day lives.

Positivity Is Good for Patients and Residents

Some of our patients and residents come to us and depend on us in their most vulnerable states, and our bedside manor should reflect that of a calming, healing, and nurturing environment for them.

That being said, a bad attitude can not only affect your patients and residents in a negative way, but also impact your coworkers, which, in turn, can affect their patients and residents in negative ways. In a sort snowball effect, a single person with a bad attitude can bring down the mood of an entire team or facility.

It Takes Work

I recognize that on some days, a positive attitude is no sweat, while on others, maintaining a positive attitude is hard work. And trying to maintain a positive attitude while someone is pouring negativity into a situation is practically a superpower. Most of the time, this is easier said than done.

I have found there are some little things you can do to help become a regular “Van Helsing,” and slay negative-energy vampires. Personally, I like to have the lock screen and home screen wallpaper on my phone as something that makes me smile. I find it helps to keep me from falling victim to negativity. On my lock screen, for example, is a photo of my adorable one-year old daughter.

Another superpower you can use to zap negativity is empathy. It can also play a big role in how we interact with others. Empathy is known as one of the components of emotional intelligence and has been defined as the ability to be aware of, understand, and appreciate the thoughts and feelings of others.

Respond with Empathy

Often, when people approach you with a negative attitude, they are going through something difficult or painful. Expressing empathy alone may not be enough to change another person’s negative attitude, but it will help you understand why they are in such a mood and how you can respond to their negativity. Sometimes your reaction can be enough to change someone’s approach.

Just as I stated how a negative attitude can snowball, a positive attitude can do the same. How would you gauge your ability to empathize with others around you? Will you have the emotional intelligence to keep a calm demeanor and respond accordingly when someone approaches you with a negative attitude?

Most challenging of all, will you be able to acknowledge when you are in a negative mindset and use the positivity of the environment and people around you to adjust accordingly before you can bring down the people around you?

I hope you will try it and let me know how it goes.