A large percentage of people have to deal with colleagues who frequently complain, according to a study by Cloud Nine Media. Such negativity isn’t just annoying; research shows it can also take a toll on your brain’s ability to function properly. Persistent negativity can cause “declines in cognitive function, including the ability to retain information and adapt to new situations,” according to Trevor Blake, author of Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life.
He provides the following tips:
• Accentuate the positive. Add a positive spin to your internal dialogue when negative thoughts start getting you down. “It’s human to vent now and then. But the less frequently you complain, the more time will pass between lapses into negativity,” he writes.
• Get away. Look for ways to extricate yourself from unpleasant conversations. If that’s not possible, take a mental vacation. As your colleagues complain, think about something positive in your own life. Don’t try to stop them, because doing so could cause them to treat you with hostility.
• Change the focus. If someone is determined to make you listen to their complaints, ask how they plan to handle the situation. “In most cases, complainers don’t really want a solution, nor are they looking for sympathy. They just want to vent, and this tactic will stop them in their tracks,” he writes.
You can’t control your co-workers, but you can stop their whining from getting you down.
— Adapted from “Colleagues complaining? Why you need to tune it out,” Anne Fisher, CNNMoney.