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Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears every two weeks.

Faith WoodQuestion: I’m really struggling at work. There’s so much negativity.

I try to keep my enthusiasm and optimism high, but I feel my efforts are being choked out by my pessimistic colleagues. Suggestions and ideas are shot down outright and no one seems to want to attempt a new way to solve some of the problems.

It’s not fun working on this team anymore, but with all that’s going on in the world today, I feel I should just be happy that I have a job. However, this one is draining the life out of me.

Answer: They say a great movie will make you laugh, cry and feel in love all at once. Psychologists call that blended emotional events. It occurs when you feel a plethora of emotions within a short period.

While those emotions make for a cinematic masterpiece, dealing with fleeting emotions on a regular basis can be overwhelming. That’s especially true when you don’t have positive ways to manage them.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Six ways to deal with critical people by Faith Wood

Although you can’t necessarily influence the others on your team directly, your efforts to develop mastery over your emotions will help you. And that can lead to finding moments of positivity in even the most negative of environments.

If leaving this team is not in the cards, perhaps some of these tips will help inoculate you to all that pessimism.

Talk to a trusted friend

Sometimes the best therapy is releasing your emotions through communication. A good friend, with your best interests at heart, can be the rock you need during harsh times.

Confide in someone you trust to alleviate stress and receive suggestions. Sometimes others have experienced the same trials and can offer reliable information that can help you.

Begin a new hobby

There’s nothing more satisfying than creating something new in the face of challenges. If you’re experiencing problems, it’s wise to spend your time doing something productive. This gives you a sense of purpose without dwelling on your issues.

Such hobbies include art, sports or cooking. Sometimes engaging in an activity is therapy in itself.

Seek professional help

Certain problems can be so overwhelming that they need the guidance of a trained professional. Never be afraid to seek help for your toughest challenges.

A trained coach or counsellor will never judge or reveal what you share with them. They’ll be able to offer constructive advice that you can implement into your daily life.


Although it may seem counterproductive to do nothing in the face of distress, often this gives you the clarity you need. Meditation encourages you to allow thoughts and emotions to come without judgment.

This gives you a clear mindset to effectively deal with challenges. After your mind is clear, you’re able to take control of your problem and develop a positive solution.

Some people also find journaling after meditation to be a great way to develop positive coping strategies and solutions.


Engaging in regular exercise is scientifically proven to release problem-solving endorphins. You’re releasing energy that would ordinarily be used worrying and converting it into something productive.

If you’re dealing with minor to major issues, consider increasing your exercise routine to provide your mind with some much-needed clarity.

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.  For interview requests, click here.

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