This sounds like the sort of thing one might find on the wall of a first grade classroom, but it totally applies. You are contagious—be careful what you put out.

If you don’t understand my meaning, think back to the last time you were in close proximity to someone truly negative—the kind of person who can respond to perfect weather with the complaint that it won’t stay that way. How did you feel? Then think about the last time you were with someone deliriously positive—someone you thought might not be 100% in this reality, because no one is that happy. Made you smile, didn’t it? And if it bugged you instead, it’s because you were fighting the smile, and the cognitive dissonance between the super-happy person and your dark outlook on life caused you to lash out rather than accept that you’re wrong. You can be mad at that if you want to, but keep in mind that you were the person everyone in your office pictured when I told them to think of someone negative.

Without getting into auras and vibes and all of that, the energy in a room is effected by the people in it, plain and simple. If you’re in a bad mood, your bad mood doesn’t just impact you. Everyone you talk to is going to get some of it on them. You may be patient zero for a whole outbreak of bad days. The good news is that it works in reverse just as well.

If you have life drama because you are human, you can’t carve that out of you, but you can carve out the appropriate time and place to deal with it. Get coffee with your favorite coworker and talk it out. But then, try to put your best foot forward. You’ll feel better, and everyone else will, too. They have their own drama to worry about, and if you can make your work a peaceful place, that’s one less thing.

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