“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” – Joel Osteen
Our thoughts can be affected by the people we surround ourselves with. This means that when we are surrounded by positive people, our thoughts are mostly positive. Likewise, if there are negative people in our lives, this means that our thoughts can sometimes become negative as well.
“These negative people are markedly pessimistic and will exhaust anyone. Destructive energy and drama follow them everywhere. If you’re not careful, they can pull you into their chaos — disrupting your focus and sidelining your goals,” says author and business etiquette expert, Jacqueline Whitmore.
Thankfully, there are ways to make sure our thoughts don’t get taken over by the negative people in our lives. Here are some of the best ways to keep your thoughts positive, even when there are negative people affecting your life.
Here Are 5 Ways To Prevent Negative People From Taking Over Your Thoughts
1. Practice self-care
Self-care is an important part of keeping your thoughts positive, even when you’re surrounded by negative people. Sometimes, self-care can be as simple as enjoying some time by yourself. Other times, it can mean taking a long hot shower, going for a jog, or practicing some meditation.
Professional coach and author Angel Chernoff says, “…And since you can’t control what they do, it’s important to take care of yourself so you can remain centered, feeling healthy and ready to live positively in the face of their negativity when you must.”
Self-care is generally anything that you can do to take care of yourself when things in life get too stressful. It can also work to help clear out your thoughts when you start to feel as if negative people are taking over your life. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
2. Remove yourself from negative people
Negative people in your life can be one of the biggest sources of negative thoughts. The best way to make sure your thoughts don’t get overwhelmed is to limit the time that you spend with negative people. Some people in your life can’t be avoided, like family or co-workers. You don’t have to cut them out of your life, but taking time away from them will do wonders for your thoughts.
“It’s difficult to look on the bright side when you’re surrounded by negativity. Seek out positive people to keep you balanced. Just like negative people can rub off on you, a positive person can brighten your spirit,” says clinical social worker, expert on mental strength and author Amy Morin.
Spending more time surrounded by positive people will improve your thoughts and keep the negative thoughts away.
3. Focus your energy on positive things
It can be tempting to focus all of your energy on the negative people in your life. This will cause your thoughts to be taken over. The best way to combat this is to focus all of your energy on positive things. Help someone, call someone you love, do something you enjoy, or spend a day with your family. These are things that you can do to keep your thoughts positive and free from the negative influences in your life.
Top-selling author Susan Reynolds beautifully pointed out that, “Being focused on negative thoughts effectively saps the brain of its positive forcefulness, slows it down, and can go as far as dimming your brain’s ability to function, even creating depression. On the flip side, thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decreases cortisol and produces serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at peak capacity.”
Sometimes, focusing your energy on positive things can even mean focusing positive energy on the negative people in your life. You never know what a little positivity can do for someone.
4. Maintain your boundaries
You don’t have to let negative people into your life just because they’re family members or people that you were once close to. Setting boundaries with the people in your life is something that everyone should learn to do, whether these people are positive or negative. To make sure that negative people don’t take over your thoughts, it’s important to set and maintain your boundaries.
“Don’t feel pressured to sit and listen to a negative person. Their negative energy will seep into your own life and affect your attitude… You can’t control the negative behavior, but you can control whether or not you engage,” says author and business etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore.
Your thoughts will benefit from being able to remove yourself from negative influences and making sure they don’t force their way into your life.
5. Validate your own self-esteem
One of the reasons that people tend to affect our thoughts, whether they’re positive or negative, is because we tend to seek our validation from other people. “It all comes down to how you value yourself, and thus believe in yourself… When your sense of satisfaction and self-worth are derived from the opinions of others, you are no longer in control of your own happiness,” adds Chernoff.
When we find validation in positive people, our thoughts tend to be more positive. However, when we seek out validation from negative people, we don’t always receive it. When that happens, our thoughts can be taken over by the negative people we sought to validate us. Instead, find a way to validate your own self-esteem. This will keep you free from negative influences and improve your own sense of self.
Negativity can be a hassle to deal with. The people in our lives can affect us in all kinds of ways – and in turn, we affect other people as well. When negative people take over our thoughts, it can be hard to figure out how to turn it around. These tips should help anyone bring a more positive outlook into their lives, and stop negative people from taking over their thoughts. When we become more positive, we also influence other people’s lives in a positive and constructive way.