Erasing negative thoughts and influences can be challenging, especially when you are surrounded by negative individuals or if you have established a base of negative habits. However, through awareness and perseverance you can turn the tide and begin to focus on living positively. By adjusting who you spend time with and how you spend that time you can open the portals of joy so that deep content and satisfaction spills into your life.
Focus on spending less time and energy with negative people. To remove a negative person from your life, you should first put some distance between you and this person, whether they are at school, at work, or at home. This could mean not spending every weekend with a negative friend or not answering a negative friend’s calls right away. Try to allow yourself time and space to release yourself from this person, especially if she is a close friend or relative.
- This could also mean shifting the amount of time you spend with negative individuals so it can be more positive and productive. Invite a negative person out with your more positive friends so she can see what being around positive conversation and attitudes can feel like.
- You could also limit the amount of airtime the negative person receives by going out together in a big group rather than one on one so you both have a chance to talk to others, rather than talk to each other about negative things.
Establish boundaries with negative people. Though you may be tempted to cut out negative people from your life completely, you may be forced to work with a negative person on a project or live with a negative person as a roommate. Rather than let the person’s negativity drive you crazy, you can try to create boundaries so you feel in control and safe around the negative person. Try to talk to others more than the negative person when you are working together on the group project or maintaining a different schedule than your negative roommate so you are both never home at the same time.
- Try to maintain these boundaries even if the negative individual attempts to encroach on them. Remind yourself that setting these boundaries will help both of you avoid a potential conflict and allow you to still work or live around this person out of necessity.
Adopt a positive attitude around negative individuals. Take back the positivity in your life by adopting a more positive and open attitude when you are around negative individuals. If the negative person makes a negative comment about the weather, for example, remind her that tomorrow will be sunny and better than today. Or, if the negative person comments on a person in a negative or hurtful way, point out that the person is actually very nice and generous.
- Countering negativity with a positive attitude can also help you defuse the negative perspective of your friends or relatives and address the negativity in a way that feels proactive and open.
Identify your unhealthy habits. Everyone has their own personal unhealthy habits, from binge drinking, smoking, and partying to eating unhealthy foods or having unhealthy emotional habits like self-hate and low self-esteem. Take a moment to write down any unhealthy habits you are currently practicing in your life. Think about any habits that make you feel unhappy or sucks away all your energy.
- Though more obvious unhealthy habits like partying and drinking may be an issue, other habits like unhealthy eating or unhealthy relationships with others can also bring you down and contribute to the negativity in your life.
Avoid negative self-talk. Negative self-talk can sometimes be just as damaging as negative habits. You may practice negative self-talk by only focusing on the negative aspects of a situation or an event, rather than the positive aspects. For example, maybe you had a great, productive day at work and rather than come home to celebrate it, you can only focus on all the tasks you will need to get done the following work day.
- You might also consciously or unconsciously blame yourself when something bad happens, making every bad moment personal for you. For example, a friend may cancel a night out with you and a group of friends, and rather than let it go, you may convince yourself that plans were changed because no one wanted to hang out with you. You may think, "It's all my fault" or "No one likes me".
- When you have negative self-talk, you may convince yourself the worst is going to happen and that disaster is imminent at every turn. You may also have a very either/or view of the world, where situations are either good or bad and there is no grey zone or possibility for the positive. You may think, "Everything sucks" or "Nothing good is happening to me".
Use positive affirmations. Turn your negative self-talk into a positive force by focusing on healthy self-talk that makes you feel good. This means
never saying anything to yourself that you would not say to anyone else. Evaluate any negative thoughts that enter your mind, consider it, and then respond with a positive thought instead.
- Say positive affirmations out loud to yourself every day, focusing on the phrase “you are what you think”. Vocalize positive thoughts in the morning to start your day on a good note and focus your energy on positivity for the rest of the day. This means phrases that start with “I can” and “I will”. For example: “Today, I will acknowledge and celebrate my accomplishments”, “I am a powerhouse; I am strong”, “I can overcome negative thoughts”.