Negative people have a way of sneaking into our lives and gobbling up way more time we would like them to. Negative Nancies are hard to avoid, especially if it is a co-worker, family member or neighbor. This personality type is difficult to avoid and intolerable to be around – even if we have no choice.
Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, college psychology instructor, and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, highlights that “[Negative People’s] bad attitudes, catastrophic thinking, and fatalistic outlooks can infiltrate the ranks and spread like an epidemic.” So what do we do? Morin created a list of five things that will dramatically change the impact that negative people can have in your life:
- Guard your time – Your time is important and you should learn to prioritize. Simply because you may not be able to avoid negative people doesn’t mean you should give them more energy than necessary. The gist here is to not complain to other people about the negative encounter you had with a negative person; instead start a positive conversation put the negative interaction behind you. Or if you know you are about to see someone negative, don’t spend your time thinking about how uncomfortable it is going to be. Instead, listen to music or distract yourself.
- Choose your attitude – You are in control of what type of attitude you will use to approach any situation, including situations with a negative person. Choose to stay positive regardless of everything else – or anyone else.
- Refocus your thoughts – Don’t let negative people redirect your thoughts. Stay productive and don’t let others bring you down by increasing your doubts or worries. Consciously make the effort to deflect thoughts inflicted by the “Debbie Downers”.
- Choose to behave productively– Ultimately you are in control of your own emotions. Do not let negative people wrest control of your mind and heart and cause you to react in a manner that could bring you trouble (especially in the work place).
- Seek out positive people– Take time to identify positive people in your life. Make sure to spend enough time with positive people in your life to create balance for yourself. Negative people tend to drain us, while positive people help us recapture our motivation and joy.
Don’t let negative people occupy space in your head—before, during, or after your encounter with them. Be proactive in managing your emotions, thoughts, and actions. You are in control and you can make the appropriate changes to be happier and healthier, despite what others around you might do or say.
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