Learning & Development Asia 2024
Some positivity a day can keep the burnout away

Some positivity a day can keep the burnout away


Every little bit counts towards a more engaged, creative, and motivated you.

Have you ever sat through a tough meeting, and felt yourself instantly deflate? And for the rest of the day, you found yourself in an irritable mood, unable to shake off the contents of the meeting?

Or, how about your tasks – whether you love your job or are indifferent about it, you're bound to have some tasks that you simply dread getting to work on, and sometimes find yourself pushing as far down your task list as possible until you can't avoid it further. 

Well, no matter the situation, the stress is real; and if you let it get to you every time you face a difficult situation, you may not only find yourself becoming disengaged from your colleagues and your work, but you may also eventually start to feel burnt out. As cheesy as it may sound, some positivity in your thoughts or actions can go a long way each day – especially before or after a demanding situation.

In fact, as recent research published in the journal titled Work & Stress has shown, short "positive interventions" are a great way to start: for instance, watching a funny YouTube video during lunchtime, sharing a few laughs with your co-workers, looking at something that makes you smile (in our team, it's pictures of cute cats and dogs!).

Such stints of positivity allow you to be more engaged, creative, and helpful toward your co-workers, it was affirmed.

Vera Schweitzer, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, who led the research, said: "Our study shows that experiencing feelings of positivity throughout your workday can help you to remain effective ­particularly when daily work demands require you to invest a lot of self-control, that is, regulatory resources to control your temper.

"Trying to stay calm after reading an annoying email, for example, is typically quite depleting for employees. Consequently, they might struggle to demonstrate self-control throughout the rest of their workday, which, in turn, would hamper their engagement, creativity, and behaviour toward their colleagues.

"This is where positivity comes into play: Watching a funny video increases feelings of positivity. Such positive emotions allow employees to protect their regulatory resources even after dealing with resource-consuming self-control demands. In turn, this positively affects their effectiveness at work."

Dr. Wladislaw Rivkin, Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour, Trinity Business School, added: "Today’s work environments are increasingly demanding, but we have limited understanding of what organisations and employees can do to prevent the stressful effects of self-control demands such as negative emails or unloved tasks.

"Our research shows that short positivity interventions can help employees make the best of their day and that employers and employees should consider incorporating more positivity into the workday! For example, organisations could provide employees with recommendations about short funny videos via a daily newsletter or by posting a ‘joke of the day’ on the intranet. By doing so, employers can help mitigate the negative effects of self-control demands."

The researchers gathered their results by examining 85 employees over 12 workdays, who received a daily text- or video-based positivity micro-intervention.

With the above in mind, HRO has curated a list of some other simple acts of positivity you might like to consider adding to your life – whether at work, on the personal front, or for both. We hope you feel inspired!

1. Take a 10-minute timeout for a breather

The importance and even usefulness of this can't be stressed enough. When stuck in a rut, or when you feel overwhelmed by a situation at work, don't be afraid to step away to get some fresh air and clear your thoughts. If 10 minutes may seem a stretch, try for five – every minute spent on yourself a minute closer to a calm-down. :)

2. Plan your response to known problems ahead of time

As shared in an article by When I Workwhether it involves clients, co-workers, or regular projects, there are some aspects of work that will always seem dreadful to you. 

The author writes: "You know they upset you. Decide beforehand that they will not. If a client always has to make changes, expect it. Choose to be calm about it, to not let it bother you."

As much as possible, try to look at the person or project in a different light – maybe they are just having a bad day, or are equally stressed about something? 

3. Keep the positive colleagues close, and create a kind bubble

This applies to the workplace and life as a whole, and not as a response/pre-empt to any situation: surround yourself with people who truly lift your spirits, and keep anyone who instils negative thoughts in you at arm's length.

At the same time, it helps to make a conscious effort to keep up the acts of positivity and, importantly, a positive attitude. It's not always rainbows and sunshine, and it's definitely not easy to be in your best spirits 100% of the time; but if you try just a little more each day, you will eventually make a habit out of it.

Lead image: Shutterstock

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Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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