What’s the Best Way to Deal With Outside Negative Influences in Your Life?

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We all encounter negativity in our lives; no sun without the rain and all that. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an admirable and normal pursuit to try and remove as much of it as possible—after all, good feelings and happiness is what makes life worth living. Not only that, but being constantly burdened by negativity can have a serious impact on your health, your productivity, and your relationships. Basically, less negativity = good.

Even if you’re really good at regulating your own emotions and staying positive internally, you still have to deal with “outside” negative influences. That is to say, other people. You know what it’s like: you’re having a nice (or at least normal) day, and you have a run in with a person in a bad mood at work or school. Their bad feelings seem to ooze right on over to you, and you’re left wondering what in the heck just happened… and why you’re in a bad mood now. If you’re an especially empathetic person, this can wreck your whole day—if you let it.

And it’s not just people we encounter briefly or by chance either. It’s the people in our daily lives, maybe even family or friends. So, as people who want to try and have more positivity and less negativity, how do we deal with these outside influences? This is an important question to ask, even if you consider yourself a battle-hardened warrior who can just “brush it off.” That might work some of the time, but constant exposure to negative feelings, actions, and conversations with other people can slowly chip away at your resolve.

neg3Don’t Get Sucked In

The instant you feel someone else’s negativity, your first reaction should be to avoid getting sucked in. Don’t engage with their negativity—that doesn’t mean to ignore them, but it does mean to avoid getting sucked in. This is particularly hard to do if you agree with them. Say for instance the person is complaining about a problem in the workplace. You might agree that they’re right and it is a problem, but whining isn’t doing anyone any good. It’s just going to suck you in—so change the subject, or offer a solution, or (if possible), just leave.

Don’t Step In It

You’ve heard the phrase “walking on eggshells” before, right? It means that when you’re around a certain person, you “tip-toe” to avoid walking on an emotional landmine. Most people have touchy subjects, and if you know what it is for the person in question, don’t bring that topic up. Politics is a prime example—if you have differing views from the person and you’re not in a debate club or something, avoid that topic.

Help if You Can

If the negative person is experiencing a foul mood because of something that you could potentially help them with, then by all means help them—it’ll make them feel better, and it’ll make you feel better for not having to deflect their negativity. The keyword here is if. Don’t let someone take advantage of you, but it’s always better to help when you can.

The Last Resort

I understand that this isn’t possible in all situations, but for the situations that it can work in, it might end up being your best bet. The last resort is to simply disconnect that person from you life. Cut ‘em out. Stop seeing them. It sounds harsh, but the fact of the matter is, their negativity isn’t bringing anything worthwhile to your life, and it certainly isn’t something you can change. This is a tough decision to make, but often enough it’s the right one.