Leave them at the door

Q: I tend to let personal problems affect my work. What’s a good way for me to keep my spirits up at the office while getting my private life together?
–N. Higgins, Atlanta

A: If you try to leave your problems at home without also consciously adjusting your frame of mind, beware. “Attitude shows up in your behavior,” says Sara Freeman Smith, president of UR Gems Group, a motivational career development firm based in Houston. On those days when your problems are particularly troublesome, “it’s important that you get a good dose of positive affirmations to overcome those negative influences,” she says. “Attitudes are like the flu; they can be extremely contagious. Be sure your attitude is worth catching if others come in contact with you.”

Inevitably, everyone will experience the burden of keeping face at work while sorting out unpleasant personal issues. Yes, it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude in the office when you’re confronted with negative situations at home with family and friends. Keep in mind, however, that the resulting bad mood can spill over into your work and the way you treat your office mates.

To help block out those negative feelings, try this simple exercise. Write down several inspiring statements-from an inspirational affirmations book, for example-that will elevate your mood. Make at least five copies of them and put them in areas where you will see them constantly. Repeat them several times to yourself when you feel those other feelings creeping back in.

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