With terrifying stories in the news every day, and our brain’s built-in tendency to focus on the negative, the world can seem like a really sad place to live. It’s easy to get caught in the web of negativity – especially since misery loves company. As anyone with a downer friend, coworker, or family member knows, negativity spreads like a virus. It can be draining and toxic, especially when we haven’t created boundaries for what we’ll allow, and what we won’t.
Because so much of what happens is outside of our control, it’s important to learn how to 1. set boundaries, and 2. make yourself happy. I believe that, in life, in general, you get what you give. So to find out how to become a part of the Good Vibe Tribe – and stay there – read on…
“Energy flows where attention goes”
Distancing yourself from negativity doesn’t mean denying difficult experiences and emotions. It’s okay to feel down, and striving to be positive all the time can actually be counterproductive. The idea here is to learn how to tune out the noise and stay centered. You get to choose what to feed your energy into. Rather than chasing down every white rabbit that comes your way, find and keep your inner peace by going back to what really matters to you. Revolutionary as it may seem, not everything deserves your acknowledgement or attention.
Tips for shielding yourself from negativity
Here are a few steps you can take to stop any negativity that surrounds you from dragging you down:
Put yourself first
For a lot of us, it’s really tough to put ourselves first. But to honor your very existence as a human being, it’s important to change your perspective about that. One of the most important ways to be the best version of yourself and develop a more positive mindset is by taking care of yourself first. Being a people pleaser doesn’t do anyone any favors – I promise. Being more selfish doesn’t mean becoming a cruel and ungiving person. Putting yourself first ultimately boils down to knowing what works for you, what doesn’t, and being clear about that to yourself and to others. By getting clear on who you are and what you want, you’ll be doing everyone a favor.
Edit your life
Don’t be afraid to be selective about the things you allow into your life. We all make conscious decisions about certain things, like our wardrobes or our food choices. The same should go for the things we choose to engage with.
Are there people in your life that bring you down? Whether you think the negativity comes about intentionally or not, be honest about your relationships. This comes back to putting yourself first: What can you do to make sure you’re protecting yourself from emotionally draining relationships? Pay attention to who and what it is that makes you feel good, and the things and people that drag you down. Taking charge of your relationships can be scary at first, but you don’t owe your happiness and wellbeing to anyone else but yourself.
Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all. – Nathan W. Morris
Being choosy also goes beyond relationships. While it’s not practical or necessary to cut out all forms of media, be aware of what you enjoy, and what just gives you a headache. You don’t need to read every magazine or watch every Snapchat story. It’s okay to ignore the fear of missing out in favor of some peace of mind. And while it’s important to keep up with the news, find the positivity where you can.
In How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams describes how he favors reading news stories on advances in science and technology over those on political turmoil, and all that jazz. While we can’t – and shouldn’t – ignore everything that’s happening in the world, good news is a thing, too. And it’s worth paying attention to.
Now, we can’t always be selective about who we surround ourselves with. For example, we don’t choose our coworkers or our family members. If there is someone in your life that consistently puts you down in one way or another, it might be time to have an honest conversation. It can be scary to confront someone, but the only way out is through. To avoid a blow-out argument, focus the conversation on how you feel, and what your needs are, rather than using accusatory statements to make a point. Not every situation needs to be addressed in such a way, but you know yourself best. It’s up to you to decide how and when to set boundaries. Remember that there is no shame in asking for what you need. It takes some practice, but the sooner you start, the better.
Do you! Embrace who you are and do what makes you happy. Everyone’s different – and that’s okay. Some people love big groups and parties, while others are into quiet coffee-shop dates. Some people love guacamole, and you might not (but really… who are you? haha). The point is, know what works for you in all aspects of life, and don’t be ashamed of it. Expressing yourself and just loving what you love is key to living a more positive life.
While being you and truly sharing what you do will bring happiness to others, you won’t find contentment merely trying to keep others happy. – Rasheed Ogunlaru
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any tips for distancing yourself from negativity? Is there anything I may have missed in this post? Let me know!