Jackie Kellso

Why are You so Negative? I’ll Tell You Why, and it’s Not Your Fault.

In brain, brain-based, brain-based coach, brain-based coaching, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, cortisol, dealing with a difficult coworker, disagreements, emotional baggage, emotional brain, executive brain, fight, fight or flight, limbic system, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity, negativity at work, neural pathways, neuroscience, Norman Vincent Peale, office politics, passive-aggressive, pre-frontal cortex, problem-solve, profesional boundaries, professional behavior, Professional Reputation, self-defensiveness, self-improvement, stress and worry, stress hormones, work-related problems, work-related stress on June 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Do you find yourself focusing on how disorganized your manager is, or how your colleague can’t run a meeting, or how your team can’t come up with the right idea, or how disgusted you are by your CEO’s poor communication skills?

Well, if you are criticizing just about everyone and everything, guess what?  You have lost perspective, objectivity and healthy, personal boundaries.  In fact, you are unwittingly creating your own hell and it’s keeping your brain from its executive powers to think, problem-solve and be most effective.

In this state, some of us will bully, become passive-aggressive, withdraw, gossip, cry, or beat the hell out of ourselves and eat five chocolate bars to get a kick of serotonin. You get the idea.  When we are unable to cope, we start moving into old-fashioned self-defense. There’s no resolution in this state, only more frustration and pain.

Being in a constant hypercritical mode doesn’t take that much these days, with so much pressure on us to deliver.  But, there’s usually another factor — unclaimed emotional baggage that we’ve carried into the present day.  Here’s why:  our brains will respond with whatever we give them.  As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Dwelling on negative thoughts is like fertilizing weeds.”  The chronic re-injury to the brain from negative thinking literally changes our brains.

These weeds are neural pathways that have been constructed around negative thinking.  Think of highways and how they connect to one another to move traffic along. In the brain, these are called synapses. When fired-up they will stimulate the release of stress hormones, which set the stage for unwanted reactions of the mind and body. In fact, over time we can see how the stress takes a toll on our health: migraines, depression, chronic fatigue, etc. This is why being negative is not your fault; your brain has been bred for it. The good news is, we can get help from our executive (or thinking) brains.

The key is to recognize the symptoms. Are you waking up and going to sleep (if you’re sleeping, that is) with anger, rage, vitriol, depression, etc? If this is the case, even if you’re not openly complaining, your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and attitude are most certainly giving you away.  You’re not hiding from anyone.  So, you’re also negatively impacting your reputation.

Look, this isn’t the moment now to start berating yourself.  It’s the time to take charge of your brain.  The pre-frontal cortex is the thinking brain and can be used to manage the limbic or emotional brain that is controlling your moods. So to get on top of this, it’s important to feed your brain thoughts like, I can’t control other people or outside things so I’m going to accept what is. In other words, I’m going to let it go, surrender, and move on. We have the power to clear out our thoughts about what went wrong during the day and leave room to start with a fresh outlook the next day.  This is the beginning of re-wiring the brain and creating new neural pathways.  The brain has enormous plasticity!

So, take the current work situation and use it wisely.  How is it reinforcing your negative thinking?  Who is triggering you into a self-defensive posture? By examining our current relationships and challenges, we have the opportunity to use our executive brains to keep our histories where they belong — in the past. (This is why I decided to become certified in brain-based coaching; the brain is fascinating, our current experiences are usable, and with focus, we can emerge enlightened.)

Lastly, sleep matters.  The brain cleanses what it has taken in during the day, while we sleep. So, to manage the hamster wheel of obsessive thinking and  make room for a new day, with a fresh start, we need ample sleep.  If not possible nightly, a daily 20 minute nap can do wonders too!

In the end, please don’t blame yourself (or others) for how you feel but do take responsibility for what you do. Go home tonight, leave the challenges of the day behind you, and enjoy your well-deserved rest.  Your brain will love you for it!

Happy thinking,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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