Let’s face it, we will never permanently escape negative and toxic environments, especially now that we live in a highly stressful competitive culture. To survive this whilst avoiding stress induced anxiety and depression, you’ve gotta have some tools in your tool box to turn to in order to preserve your sanity.
You can experience stress and toxicity, pretty much anywhere where there are people. The places you may find it most are where you spend most of your time, which is usually at home or in your workplace. For example, you may work with a really anxious boss who is super demanding thus creating stress for you. Perhaps you have a family member or a child who is dealing with their own personal stress and they project their stress onto you.
When you interact with these people you may become frustrated or overwhelmed. This happens because a transference of negative energy is passed from the stressed person or people directly to you. Too much of this energy transference will begin to cause personal stress for you. Think about it, have you ever started to stress eat? Meaning, do you inexplicably start eating a lot of sweet or salty foods to comfort the stress? Think back to the last time you have done this and recall what events occurred directly before you decided to reach for comfort food.
I have found myself surviving negative interactions more often than I care to admit. As I have gotten older, I have started to be more self aware of my moods and when I take on the stress of others. To survive this I’ve implemented the following self-care habits to help mitigate falling into a full on spiral of negativity.
These days I am using an app called Simple Habits. This app has some great meditations that are a short as 5 minutes. Meditating at night, before I go to bed is is life changing for me because I wake up fully refreshed. When I don’t meditate, I have a hard time falling asleep because my mind is fixated on how annoyed I am. This just leads to sleep that is not restful, thus I wake up still fixated on the negative thoughts. Meditating helps me reset my mind for the next day. This practice clears my mind of the events of the current day thus giving me a fresh start the next day.
I wasn’t always a person who exercised consistently, but over the last year and a half I have taken up CrossFit and I now exercise a minimum of 4 days a week. This exercise has helped stabilize my moods because the physical activity takes my mind off of what’s bothering me and places it on getting through the exercises. Also, when you exercise, you usually change your environment which helps change your mood.
Vent don’t complain
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to get your feelings out. It is not healthy to keep it in. As a matter of fact when you never let it out it, continues to pile on and when you finally get triggered you end up taking all of your frustration out on one person or situation. When I was growing up I used to suppress my feelings until the day someone accidentally stepped on my foot and I would give them an undeserved verbal beating, all because I didn’t let out my previous frustrations when they occurred.
Having a person to vent to is very important. However, be careful that you aren’t complaining, there is a difference. When you vent you are letting out how a particular situation or person made you feel. Complaining is victimizing yourself by constantly bringing up the same situation or person that is annoying you, however you’ve made no steps to change it. You may need to have multiple people to vent to so that you don’t wear any one person out with your complaining.
One of my favorite things to do is to do absolutely nothing. I know these days it’s pretty challenging to do nothing when we have smartphones constantly notifying us to check messages or social media. I take doing nothing seriously. Sometimes I will lay on my couch for a couple of hours just thinking. Other times I will watch a few hours of netflix to change my mood. Also, when it gets super hectic, and the weather is decent,I will go out for a 5 minute walk as another means to unplug and change the scenery.
Ignoring negativity takes practice and it is life changing when you’ve mastered it. Ignoring negativity is a choice. This means when you are in the presence of someone who is transferring their stress upon you, you have a choice to be annoyed by it or you can say look, this is not my problem and I refuse to have my mood changed by it. You’ve effectively controlled it, rather than it controlling you.
Having negative experiences is a part of life. Sometimes being in prolonged negativity has lasting effects such as unexplained anger, depression or anxiety. To mitigate this, pay attention to how you are feeling. When your mood is low or you are feeling angry or anxious, check in with yourself and use one of these 5 tools to help pull you out of that mood.
I’ve shared with you my 5 go-to tools, what are yours? Let me know in the comment section below.