If you’ve ever been around someone who’s irritable, miserable and generally down on life, then you know it doesn’t take long before the clouds of doom and gloom begin to surround you as well. So how do you combat a Negative Nancy?
Here are 6 ways to keep calm and hold on to your positive space:
- Track Your Triggers
The first step is to track your triggers, those things that make your emotional pendulum swing instantly. This can be someone’s behavior, a certain topic or opinion, or even a tone of voice. Pay attention to whatever it is that disconnects you from your feeling of well-being. Make a list of these triggers and notice any patterns or themes. For example, you might notice that you’re bothered by people who constantly gossip about other people or start dumping their problems on you without asking about yours. Just becoming aware of and acknowledging your triggers can go a long way toward helping you maintain your positive mood around negative people.
- Focus on your gratitude list
When you find yourself exposed to negativity around you, reframe your thoughts to focus on everything going for you in your life – your family, career, the roof over your head, friends in your life, your hobbies, your health, etc. Then express gratitude to the unhappy person to help them get into a more positive space. For example, thanking them for sharing a new perspective or for listening to your ideas. Provide positive reinforcement without adding to their negativity.
- Empathize with others’ journey
It’s often easy to judge other people, but know that people have their own journeys. You may not know someone’s life story, so try to empathize without focusing on the negativity. Unhappy people are likely going through a difficult time and may need long periods to recover or process the emotions they feel. They’ll perhaps be ready to move on someday, but in the meantime, your empathy and support may help them get to a more positive space sooner.
- Don’t take things personally
Unhappy people generally aren’t unhappy because of something you’ve said or done. They’re miserable because of the mindset they’re in or due to the beliefs they might hold. Know that you can’t control other people’s thoughts or emotions. Often, these unhappy people may lash out at you or say something mean or rude to you. While it may hurt in the moment, remember this is about them NOT you. Take a deep breath and learn to let go.
- Regulate how much time you spend with unhappy people
Try to limit how much time and space you give to perpetually unhappy people. If you notice that you’re beginning to get affected by the things these people say or do, respectfully excuse yourself. It’s OK to set healthy boundaries with those who are bringing you down. Misery loves company.
- Practice self-care
Despite managing how you handle or manage time with unhappy people, there will be times when it’s easy to get stressed out and let other people’s “stuff” get to us. During times like these, you need to give yourself time to recharge and re-center. Take time to do the things you enjoy. Find ways to take care of yourself by indulging in a nice bubble bath, getting a relaxing massage, taking a walk, or reading a good book along with a glass of wine – whatever gets your mojo back!
Disclaimer: The insights in this article are, in part, the opinion of the writer.