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How to Cut Ties With Negativity

If you’ve experienced negativity at work or in a relationship, you know firsthand the toll it can take on your emotional well-being. As Dr. Steve Ornelas writes in “Energy Vampires: Managing Stress and Negative Thoughts in Your Personal and Professional Life,” these negative forces will drain us of our energy and spirit if we let them.

By understanding how to identify and minimize the effects of negative forces in your life, you can learn how to cut ties with negativity, reduce stress and improve the quality of your life.


4 Steps to Cut Ties With Negativity

Ties With Negativity

1. Identify the source of the negativity.

Think about which areas of your life might be causing the negative emotion. Sometimes the source is an obvious one, such as a boss who is overly critical or demeaning of your work.

Often, the source is more subtle, such as a friend whose negative outlook is eroding your own happiness. Because negativity has many sources, consider all aspects of your life to pinpoint the source, including family, friends and work.


2. Take action to minimize how affected you are by negativity.

If you feel comfortable doing so, ask the source of the negativity to change his negative behavior. Sometimes sources aren’t aware of their negativity, and simply calling attention to it will improve the situation.

For example, if you have an overly critical boss, ask your boss to re-phrase her feedback in more productive terms. If your friend’s negative outlook on life is getting you down, ask him to stop making negative remarks around you.


3. Look for ways to reduce or eliminate contact with the source of the negativity.

If your boss continues to be critical and demeaning toward you, explore whether it’s possible to be reassigned to a different manager or begin looking for a new job. If your friend refuses to stop making negative remarks in your presence, spend less time with her so you are less affected. In some serious circumstances, you may need to eliminate contact completely.


4. Cultivate positivity from within.

In an article published in the March 2007 edition of “Prevention & Treatment,” Barbara L. Fredrickson, a researcher at the University of Michigan, reported that positive emotions may loosen the hold of negative emotions.

Replace negative emotions with positive ones by adding more positivity to your life. Think positive thoughts, surround yourself with positive people and spend time doing things that elicit positive feelings for you.


Tips and Warnings

  • If you feel persistent negative feelings for a prolonged period, you may be suffering from depression. In this case, seek the guidance of a doctor.
  • If the source of negativity is a person who is physically or emotionally abusive, or may become so when confronted, don’t try to address the negative behavior with that person directly. Doing so may provoke an outburst.


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