Feel like People Are Bringing You Down? 10 Ways to Cope
Here’s a question for you: If you’re serious about living your best life, why are you hanging around with people who are unsupportive, drama-seeking, or negative?
The people around you can affect your life in a lot of ways. You may not have time to focus on your goals because of the time you spend with them. They may make fun of you for trying to better yourself. They may just generally be Danny Downers who can’t see a bright side to anything.
Here’s the thing. You are the one in control of your life. If there are people in it who are making it difficult for you to reach your goals, it’s up to you to do something about it. Remember that you can’t control other people, but you can control how you react to them.
If you’re feeling affected by the negative energy of other people, here are ten ways you can relax, refocus on your goals, and start living your best life.
1. Stay Away from Energy Vampires
No, I’m not talking about Dracula. Energy vampires are people who just seem to drain the fun out of just about everything. They seem to specialize in making you feel bad. If you’ve got a problem, they’ve got a bigger one. If you’re feeling happy, they find a way to steal your joy.
I recently wrote about how to recognize the signs of negative energy in a person and what to do when you see them. You’ll find a lot of information and advice there. Most of it comes down to one simple thing: spend less time with people who make you feel bad.
What do you do when the EV is your boss or someone else you can’t avoid? This article has more tips for dealing with negative people in your life.
2. Spend Time with People That Make You Feel Good
If you want to be happier and healthier, spend your time doing things that make you healthy and happy. How do you get away from people who are bringing you down? Simple. You spend time with people who bring you up.
If you spend time with people who go for a hike instead of going out for some brewskis, you’re going to do more hiking than drinking. If your friends enjoy cooking and eating healthy foods, your tailgate parties are going to involve healthier foods. If you hang with people who spend time doing things for the community, you’ll be more involved in the community.
- Author Marta Zaraska talks about how friendships and your social groups make your life better in this interview.
- Here are some tips to help you make friends with uplifting people.
3. Hold Onto Your Joy
How do you stay happy when everyone around you is angry and sad? You remind yourself of the things that make you happy. There are real, concrete ways that your habits and beliefs can make you a happier person. I’ve written about how to be happy and how to get happy again before.
Don’t just take it from me, though. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California — Berkeley has dozens of activities to help you hold onto your joy.
4. Take A Few Deep Breaths
Dealing with negative people is stressful. That’s one of the reasons you often feel tired after spending time with someone who makes you feel bad. One way to help get rid of that stress is by taking a few deep breaths. Deep breathing exercises help relax your mind and your body. Learn more about the benefits and some easy beginner exercises in this article.
5. Do Something Creative
I know you’ve heard that great art comes from tragedy, but science doesn’t agree. In fact, lots of research shows that happy people are more creative. Now, research shows that the reverse is also true. Doing something creative makes people happier. When you’re feeling low, creating something new can give you a big boost in a few ways.
- Creating something gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Doing something you enjoy releases the reward chemicals in your brain.
- If you share your work, you’ll get compliments from other people. (Make sure you share with people who lift you up, though!)
- When you do creative things with other people, you all get a kind of “contact high” from each other.
6. Make a Difference
Want to hang out with more positive people and feel better about yourself at the same time? Sign up to do something positive for other people. Science shows that people who volunteer to help others also help themselves. These are some of the benefits of volunteering:
- a sense of accomplishment.
- better mental health.
- improved physical health.
- a longer life.
And, as long as you’re not spreading yourself too thin, volunteering can also help you connect with other people who share your values.
7. Make Positive Changes in Yourself
The last few years have made it hard for many people to practice real, positive self-care. Getting stuck in unhealthy habits — or just not sticking with healthy ones — can create a negative feedback loop.
When you don’t feel well, it’s harder to do the things that make you feel well. The paradox is that doing those things gives you immediate rewards, which motivate you to do more of them. So be good to yourself.
Pick a bad habit and replace it with a good one. Start a new workout routine. Learn a new skill. Check out my article on setting daily goals for some tips and advice on how to change your life for the better.
8. Stop Feeding Your Stress
Social media can trap you into another negative feedback loop. We even have a name for it — doom scrolling. It’s one of the reasons for that “I don’t like people” feeling. It can be hard to stay positive when you see all the bad things happening in the world. While I believe it’s important to stay informed, I also believe you have to find a balance between knowing what’s happening in the world and maintaining your mental health. If watching the news or scrolling through Twitter is affecting your mental health, you need to take a break.
Can’t completely leave social media or avoid the news? Try these tips to curate your feeds and make them a more positive experience. I also recommend checking out my article exploring some of the biggest worries we have today — and how likely they are to happen to you.
9. Adopt Mindfulness
Mindfulness is more than a buzzword. It’s a path to being happier, healthier, and more connected to the world around you. People often practice mindfulness as part of meditation, but you don’t have to meditate to be mindful. Mindfulness encourages you to notice what you see, smell, hear, taste, feel, and think when you do everyday things. When you train your mind to be more present, you’ll see improvements in your relationships with other people, and with yourself.
10. Celebrate Your Wins
Toxic people can steal your joy by making you feel bad about yourself. You can fight that by reminding yourself about all the good things you do. Celebrate your wins, big or small. Sure, reward yourself for getting that promotion, but hey, you made that phone call you were dreading. You deserve a pat on the back for that one, too.
These are a few simple ways to stay in a positive mindset about yourself.
- You know to-do lists help you stay organized. Remember to turn them into DONE lists to remind yourself that you’re pretty darn awesome.
- Hang your artwork on the walls. Wear the jewelry you made. Enjoy and use the things you create. You’ll have a constant reminder of your skills.
- Reward yourself with tangible rewards — things you can feel and see. New running shoes are a great way to celebrate reaching a workout goal. You get new equipment that helps you keep working out — and you’ll remember why you bought them every time you wear them.
- Call a friend and tell them about your success. Heck, post about it on Facebook or Instagram. People love to cheer others on.
It’s hard to stay positive and focused when you’re surrounded by negative people. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to get away from them. Even when you can’t avoid them completely, though, there are ways to stay on track with your goals. The most important thing to remember is that you get to control how you feel about others. You can do it.
If you want more tips on how to transform your life for the better, check out my book Life Hacks: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life. If you liked this article, please consider giving it a clap and following @wellnessmadeeasy on Medium for more simple ways to improve your life.