Everyone knows it's not constructive or useful to work in such an atmosphere, but you can change it (without annoying anyone).
* Add a positive element to the environment that will capture people's attention: a simple bulletin board on which people can put some of their holiday snaps, or a "good news" board on which to post articles about positive developments in the world of education.
* Add scents that influence mood: peppermint for alertness, lavender to calm, rosemary to aid depression, and lemon to ease nervousness.
* Use constructive language that presupposes a solution to problems. Refer to "when" the problem is solved, not "if". This can influence people to start thinking more constructively.
If all else fails, you can still maintain your inner calm and positive outlook. Carry a symbol to stay positive and focused (for example, a photo or an inspirational quote).
Jurgen Wolff is a hypnotherapist, teacher and writer. His free monthly creativity email bulletin is available from BstormUK@aol.com