If you think negative thoughts or tend to wonder when you’ll be “let go” at work, it’s time to recognize you are ruminating. Rumination is a kind of obsessive negative thinking. It’s like you aren’t confident at work, so you wonder when bad things will happen. That kind of self-talk can actually be destructive to your work production and work life.
That’s the view of Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert. They found we are happiest when thinking in the moment…the present. That happens about half the time. When the mind wanders, that’s when the negative comes in. You can keep the bad thoughts out and be happy at work. All you need are the three P’s.
According to Killingworth and Gilbert, they are:
- Personalization: Instead of immediately thinking I’m the reason we lost the client, try to look at what happened more objectively. On any project, issues will come up that are beyond your control. Own up to your mistakes, but don’t needlessly blame everything on yourself.
- Pervasiveness: If you realize after a meeting you accidentally called a colleague by the wrong name, try not to become consumed with anxiety. A tiny mistake is unlikely to start a chain reaction that ends in complete disaster.
- Permanence: The words “always” and “never” are usually indications your self-reflection has turned self-destructive. Say your boss isn’t happy with a one-pager you created. Instead of thinking I’ll never be a good designer, focus on the single event and your ability to do better next time: This wasn’t my best work but I can learn more skills and improve.
One thing to remember. Your thoughts are just that. Thoughts. They aren’t truth….