“I realized that if my thoughts immediately affect my body, I should be careful about what I think. Now if I get angry, I ask myself why I feel that way. If I can find the source of my anger, I can turn that energy into something positive.” – Yoko Ono
A fact about life that we quickly learn is that energy ebbs and flows. Something else that we learn quickly is that outside influences can affect our energy state. Positive energy is absolutely contagious, but so is negative energy. It’s this understanding that allows us to be proactive in determining our state of mind and energy.
Energy also has a multiplier effect. If we are in good spirits and in a positive state of mind, we’re much more likely to remain in this state. But then again, the same applies for negative energy. This is why it’s so important to vigilantly guard ourselves from being sucked into a “vortex” of negativity.
For those that have been in a negative work environment, for example, they’ve felt the underlying tension and collective unhappiness that permeates a group of people. It’s no coincidence that over 75% of people disdain what they do for work – many workplaces are dreaded by the vast majority that occupies it.
Unfortunately, a cycle of negativity happens to nearly everyone. The great thing is that we can all learn to clear this energy. Ask any advanced practitioner of meditation or mindfulness – these people are masters at not allowing their environment or other circumstances to dictate their frame of mind.
With that said, let’s discuss some signs it may be time to clear away negative energy. We’ll also provide some advice on what one can do to counteract the effects of negativity.
Here are 6 telling signs it’s time to clear negative energy:
1. Constant complaining when in a certain situation
Certain situations can invoke more toxic energy than others. The workplace is probably the most common environment where this happens. It can also be in a relationship or while in the company of certain people. These folks find complaining to be a form of relief and a way of “blowing off steam.”
Solution: Get out of the situation ASAP
Simply put, complaining drains our positive energy and replaces it with negativity. Whatever situation that may be causing us to take on a more pessimistic, gloomy outlook should be expelled from our lives. If the workplace happens to be the source of this negativity, refuse to become absorbed by the complaining of other people. If we find ourselves complaining, we should refuse to engage in such thoughts.
2. Consistent feeling of being angry or on-edge
When anger becomes a persistent emotion, it’s detrimental to our physical and mental health. The stress caused by feeling angry or on-edge surpasses that of any other emotion. Therefore, it’s important to either eliminate or minimize anger through taking some kind of action.
Solution: Become emotionally aware
We all have the ability to identify and label an emotion before it takes hold. We do this by actively monitoring our emotions and taking action if necessary. Taking ownership for our thoughts and feelings is the first step. Then, we need to relax our body and mind in order to ward off the “fight or flight” response. Finally, assess what prompted these feelings and take the appropriate action.
3. Persistent feelings of anxiety and/or depression
Feelings of anxiety and depression are among the most two commonly reported symptoms in the world. Physicians are seen by people suffering from anxiety and depression more than all other illnesses combined. Constantly feeling anxious or depressed is a force of negative energy that needs to be addressed.
Solution: Practice mindfulness meditation
While doctors are all too eager to prescribe some kind of anti-depressant or anxiety drug, it’s often not necessary. In fact, The Journal of the American Medical Association (or JAMA) published a groundbreaking study that found meditation to be as effective, if not more so, than prescription medication in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
4. Interactions with people becoming difficult or exhausting
When we’re in a negative cycle, normal interactions with other people can become mentally, physically and emotionally taxing. This is because we’re too wrapped up and engaged with our own inner monologue to accommodate the added stimulus brought forth through conversation.
Solution: Practice active listening
On the surface, this may appear to be somewhat of a strange recommendation. However, the practice of active listening is beneficial in a couple of different ways. First, the practice diverts our attention outward as opposed to inward, which is where the negative energy lies. Second, it can effectively replace the underlying anxiety encountered by making us more prepared (to respond, ask questions, etc.)
5. Increasingly becoming more critical of self and others
Negativity has a deviously deceptive effect on how we view ourselves and others. The simple explanation is that negative energy requires a release and since we’re often among others, people become easy targets. When we’re alone, this negative energy can often cause us to critique ourselves down to every last perceived flaw.
Solution: Recognize and then stop
As with so many other forms of negative energy, criticism has a multiplying effect. When we’re actively criticizing ourselves or others, we’ll often just function off auto-pilot, effectively ceding control. In recognizing and labeling the presence of criticism, we take back this control. We can then refuse to engage with the fruitless thoughts and emotions that criticism summons.
6. Seeking isolation more frequently
When caught up in a negative energy cycle, many people have the desire to isolate themselves from loved ones. While some alone time is healthy, it’s not healthy to experience a sudden desire for seclusion, especially if this was not the case before.
Solution: Knowing that people care
Perhaps the most unfortunate effects of being in a negative cycle are the feelings of separation from everyone else. This often results in family and friends becoming increasingly worried about the state of their loved one. Understanding and acknowledging the love and concern felt by those close to us is often enough motivation to reciprocate those feelings, as difficult as it may be.