Have you stood in a queue and all you can hear is that one person complaining about how slow the queue is moving or that the employees of the store are not doing their job? What about a friend or someone in your family who just seems to find anything and everything to complain about? That is the essence of a negative environment – the continuous influx of others’ opinions which are nothing but “doom and gloom”.
The effect of a negative environment
Our mind is constantly bombarded by opinions. There is no way around that. The television, the radio, the magazines and the books you read, all provide an opinion. Even this post is, really, my opinion put on a virtual magazine.
The challenge we face is when that information is negative. We are fed ideas which affect our own way of thinking. It is inevitable that a seed of negativity will be planted in our mind, if we allow it to take hold.
Those same opinions and ideas will then affect our own environment. We can either be like a sheep and follow the flock or choose to break away to a better field.
Take COVID19 as an example. When the virus first came out there was an almost immediate response that it was a virus as part of a conspiracy. No one new how it came to infect a human, no one knew anything about the virus, infact no one knew what to call it because it hadn’t been identified yet. And still the rumours grew.
The next step is that it became a widespread idea and people begun to accept it. Why? Because it’s easier to agree than disagree. It’s easier to accept something rather than do our own research. Because we take it for granted that what we read must be true.
The consequence is that we accept these ideas, which affects our own mental and physical well being. A negative idea will affect your body – the stress, the worry, the fear, affect our bodies more than we realise. Stress alone decreases our body’s ability to fight-off disease.
And dis-ease is just another way of saying that our mind is not at ease.
Who’s the negative one then
You are sitting in a group with your friends and you begin to discuss recent events. There is laughter and seriousness. And then it begins – all the bad things that have happened and all the bad things that are going to happen. Isn’t it amazing how someone in your group always seems to have that magic crystal ball that predicts the future? Of course, no-one can predict the future of the world or what will happen to someone else – that beyond their control.
What they don’t realise is that they could be predicting their own future. The words they use, what they say, regardless of how “real” it is, it is still a picture to their own beliefs and ideals.
What happens next is that you end up joining in, adding your own spin to this ideology. You bring up figures, local and international findings and what should be getting done. You twist your own yarn of stories driving the tail of negativity further down the path of doom and gloom. Which means that you have allowed your environment to control you rather than you controlling your own mind.
“I’m just joining in the conversation”, you say, knowing that it’s an excuse, because you can feel that odd sinking feeling. You are lying to yourself and you know it. Suddenly you have become the naysayer, the “plague spreader” – you are the negative talker. Which means that you are now feeding your mind with negative ideas.
Your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Although PPE refers to physical measures, like gloves, suits and face protection, it’s not a far throw to consider your mind as your own mental PPE.
We will all have our own opinions based on our experiences and knowledge. It is our responsibility to look at our beliefs and question them to see whether they hold up or not, whether they are right or wrong. We are not always as right as we think we are.
We do know, however, that negative talk, putting other people down, talking down about our jobs, careers or employers, doesn’t help the situation. Infact, it makes things appear worse than before and that is not a place we mentally want to be in.
Your best friend in any negative situation is yourself. The easiest option is to excuse yourself, walk away and have nothing to do with the conversation. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s because you don’t want to be criticised – you fear that people will talk about you behind your back. Fear causes us to do a lot of things and not do what we should.
Protecting your own mind is your responsibility and no-one else will do it for you. So you have to act for your own sake. It is your mind and your life.
That goes for your work environment as well. If you are the person that everyone comes to dumb their concerns on, put a stop to it. Tell them to speak to the person who is causing them the problem and excuse yourself – walk away. If that person is you, however, listen to their concerns – their may learn something you didn’t know or weren’t aware of.
Your best defence is distancing yourself from the toxic negativity. Even when that is friends or family. It’s not always easy.
On the positive side…
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction – Newtons’s third Law of Motion. This goes for distancing yourself from negative people.
You’ll find that as you begin to draw that proverbial line in the sand, separating yourself from the talk you no longer wish to hear, you will benefit mentally and physically. Your mental state will improve and so will your physical state.
You will begin to attract people towards you who talk more positively, are happier and more joyous about life. Even when hardship hits, you’ll see them and yourself lifting each other up. Negative people drag themselves and others down, surrounded by people who will reenforce that negative belief. Positive people lift by seeing a better outlook.
Your part in all this is going back to protecting your mind. You can’t always avoid the talk you hear around you, but you can decide to not allow what other people say to affect you. We are emotional people and we do emotionally react to things we hear. It’s our choice whether we allow that feeling to continue or let it go and reach for a better feeling.
The world will always be faced with challenges. This is the way nature works. We, as humans, have the ability to choose whether we will allow that change to affect us or not. We choose what goes on in our own mind.
Make a forceful promise to yourself. Refuse to let others prejudice your thinking. Stay tuned to Channel P.