Workplace Emotions are Contagious: Tips to Manage Your Energy
Recent research has proven that emotions can be contagious, which rings true especially in an office setting. When it comes to leadership roles in particular, anxious bosses can lead to anxious employees. One bad attitude can rampantly infect an entire team.
Before we dive into valuable tips to manage energy in the workplace, it’s important to gain more insight into how we define it at large…
What is Energy?
Energy is intangible—it is a feeling that propels us from the inside out. We can’t touch energy, yet we can absolutely feel when it is impacted, both positively or negatively. Energy is often confused with being something we have or don’t have, after a long day or week for instance. We may feel drained or say things like, “I don’t have any energy” or “I feel rejuvenated”. Energy is the intangible currency we use to communicate how our emotional being and soul is processing the world, people and experiences around us. Energy is ever flowing and constant.
Why are emotions contagious, especially in the workplace?
Whether we realize it or not, we feed off other people’s energy produced by their emotions. If we are not mindful, we can be easily impacted by someone else carrying around negative feelings. Being in close proximity physically can create our own connections to other people’s energy. The workplace is a breeding ground for exchanges of energy on a second by second basis. For instance, the cubicle mate that arrives every morning with a smile on their face who drives that “feel good” energy can be equally as powerful as the person next to you who is always complaining, gossiping, or bringing dark energy into the office. The power of each energy form is in fact the same, but our own reactions can either fuel the contagion or diminish it.
What can you do when all the negative feels start to hit you at work?
One of the most difficult parts about managing your energy is becoming aware of people and situations that do not serve you. Often times, we have reacted and deplete our energy sources before we even realize what happened. This leads to a string of days, weeks, months, or even years where we live life feeling drained. While our eating, sleep, and wellness habits are active contributors to creating this outcome, one of the critical pieces of the puzzle is our energy state. The first step in managing these feelings is to develop a deeper connection backed by mindfulness and self-awareness that enables you to know when your energy has been impacted so you can pause and slow down before you reach the point of no return. The way to spark this connection is by creating space in your body and your mind with your breath.
How can you protect yourself against absorbing others’ feelings in the office?
Your new deepened sense of self-awareness and connection to your energy will help you recognize the impact of others’ emotions. From there, you can make adjustments around how you interact with others, and who you choose to spend your time with to protect yourself from those you find negative, challenging, draining or toxic.
If you don’t have a choice as to the people you interact with, meaning you are on a team with or report to someone who negatively affects your energy, you should find a guided meditation or breathing exercise you can do that will help you to prepare yourself mentally before you interact with the individual. Envision a clear or white protective bubble that is your new energetic boundary to keep the dark energy from permeating your space and your field. It’s amazing what visualization can do for the body and mind!
Why is it ‘harmful’ to let your emotions run wild at work? What sort of impact can they have?
Letting your emotions run wild at work, home, or in any scenario can be damaging to all aspects of your health. The anxiety, fear, and intensity may add wear and tear on your body, mind, and spirit. Showing up as memory loss, body pain, poor sleep patterns, unhealthy nutritional habits, and more. Once you lose control of your emotions, your energy gets slung around and impacts everyone around you (contagious, remember?). The only thing you have control over is yourself.
The people, circumstances and life experiences around you can and will always change. Your ability to connect to yourself, create a sense of grounding, and stay in a place of peace amidst the chaos is where you can uncover your true power.
What are some quick and easy best practices to manage negative energy in the workplace?
Find a guided meditation you can put on in your earbuds. If meditation isn’t your thing, tune into music. Let it bring you back to a stable and grounded place. One where you can regain control over your mind and energy. Keep a crystal in your pocket or at your desk. Black tourmaline, obsidian, jet, and smokey quartz help protect against negative energies in particular. Hold the crystal in your hand when you feel yourself slipping into a space that isn’t productive. Or, when you are walking into a meeting with someone you know has a negative impact on you. Deep breathing can help to stabilize your mind and the nervous system. Tap into your breath and notice your thoughts. You can then make adjustments to your thinking from a calm, rational space that will help you to move forward in a positive direction.