Last week I was struggling to get started on a difficult piece of work, and my negative internal voice was very strong. I was criticising myself continuously – I knew I wasn’t making the progress I needed to make, but I couldn’t find a starting point. I told myself I was an idiot, I was being lazy, I was stupid for not having worked out a plan etc.
Battling negative self-talk
Then I realised – my negative internal voice is so much harsher than I would be to a colleague. I wouldn’t accuse a colleague of laziness or stupidity. I would get them to talk through the issue and find a way forward together.
The power of company
This led me to the most obvious and simplest technique for making myself feel more positive – I arranged to go and spend some real-life, face-to-face time with a colleague. I had meetings scheduled with Marlene that afternoon, so I suggested we do the calls together instead of via Teams.
Just driving to her house made me feel positive because I knew we could get a lot done together but also because I would get the benefit of some much-needed company. My brain was creating oxytocin, the bonding/friendship chemical which was making me feel positive.
Our colleagues, friends and family members provide encouragement, reassurance and company when our difficulties make us feel alone and lonely.
Think about when you last met up with someone you work with face to face – and if it feels too long since you last saw each other, find a way to get together. Sometimes, moving ourselves back to positivity can be as easy as spending time with people who are interested in us, are prepared to listen to us and that give us a friendly smile.
Mutual benefits: enhancing positivity for yourself and others
And the nicest thing is that I went to visit my colleague to get the support I needed, but she said afterwards that it worked wonders for her too. Social engagement is a two-way street, so don’t hesitate to suggest it, you are helping yourself and your colleagues.
Have a look at previous articles in this series for more inspiration.