How to protect yourself from absorbing other people’s negative energy

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Woman learning how to protect yourself from negative energy

If you’ve ever spent some time with a negative person, you know how quickly you can start to take on that negative mentality. Have you ever felt that you wish you had known how to protect yourself from negative energy?

Sometimes, it happens that people don’t even realize they have become negative as a result of being around negative people. And negative people are the worst.

If you are feeling overwhelmed from taking on the negative energy of others, there is a way to stop it from happening.

Here is how to protect yourself from absorbing other people’s negative energy so you can get on with living a more positive and productive life.

1) Identify Whose Emotion is Present

When negative emotion takes over, it’s important to identify the source. Is it your own negative emotion or did you pick it up from someone else?

If it is yours, then you can deal with it and work through those emotions, but if it is someone else’s, you need to recognize that it’s not your burden to carry and let it go.

2) Put Some Distance Between You and the Negativity

Go outside, take a walk, eat lunch in your car: whatever you have to do to give yourself some space away from the negativity and the negative people, do it.

Sometimes, all you need is a few minutes to regroup your thoughts and remind yourself that their negativity is not your negativity.

3) Know Your Limits

When it comes to dealing with negativity and negative energy, it’s important to know what triggers that feeling in you.

When you can identify a feeling associated with negativity, you can identify it sooner and deal with it faster.

If that negativity is associated with a person, you can see it coming from a mile away and start walking in the other direction.

4) Take responsibility for It

If you have people in your life wearing you down, will you take responsibility for getting their negative energy out of your life?

I think taking responsibility is the most powerful attribute we can possess in life.

Because the reality is that YOU are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in your life, including for your happiness and unhappiness, successes and failures, and for turning negative relationships around.

I want to briefly share with you how taking responsibility has transformed my own life, including the relationships I have with the people I care about.

Did you know that 6 years ago I was anxious, miserable and working every day in a warehouse?

I was stuck in a hopeless cycle and had no idea how to get out of it.

My solution was to stamp out my victim mentality and take personal responsibility for everything in my life. I wrote about my journey here.

Fast forward to today and my website Hack Spirit is helping millions of people make radical shifts in their own lives. We’ve become one of the world’s biggest websites on mindfulness and practical psychology.

This isn’t about bragging, but to show how powerful taking responsibility can be…

… Because you too can transform your own life by taking complete ownership of it.

To help you do this, I’ve collaborated with my brother Justin Brown to create an online personal responsibility workshop. We give you a unique framework for finding your best self and achieving powerful things.

It’s quickly become Ideapod’s most popular workshop. Check it out here.

I know that life isn’t always kind or fair. After all, no one chooses to have people in their lives with negative energy.

But courage, perseverance, honesty — and above all else taking responsibility — are the only ways to overcome the challenges that life throws at us.

If you want to seize control of your life, like I did 6 years ago, then this is the online resource you need.

Here’s a link to our best-selling workshop again.

5) Just breathe

If you feel like you are becoming overwhelmed by negative emotion, energy or someone else’s negative emotion or energy, then take a few minutes to regulate your breathing and reset your thoughts.

This video explains how tuning into your breathing allows you to rewire your brain to be in the present moment:

6) Meditate

If negative emotion and energy are flowing over you, take a few minutes to sit quietly in your own head and meditate.

Block the negative thoughts and make room for the positive emotions and energy in your life.

(To learn how to meditate, check out our guide to meditation here).

7) Get clear with people

When it comes to managing negative energy and negative people, sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say “no.”

The word no has a lot of power that we often take for granted. It can stop someone in their tracks when it is used correctly.

If someone is trying to steal your sunshine, setting limits and boundaries with that person can go a long way to changing the tune of their song when they are around you.

Because you do have a choice in the matter. You are allowed to tell them to stop.

One resource I highly recommend to help you do this is Ideapod’s extremely powerful free masterclass on love and intimacy.

In this 60-minute masterclass, world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê will help you to identify negative people in your life so that you can be empowered to make a change. Most importantly, he’ll also teach you a powerful framework which you can start applying today to truly free yourself from their negative energy.

Full disclosure: I have watched this 60-minute masterclass myself and found it a valuable way to mend relationships in my own life.

The thing is, Rudá Iandê isn’t your typical shaman.

While he does spend time with indigenous tribes in the Amazon, sing shamanic songs and bang his drums, he’s different in an important way. Rudá has made shamanism relevant for modern day society.

He communicates and interprets its teachings for people living regular lives. People like me and you.

Check out the masterclass here.

A word of warning. The teachings Rudá shares in this masterclass aren’t for everyone. He doesn’t help you to avoid your fears or sugarcoat what’s happening in your life.

This masterclass is for you if you appreciate honest and direct advice and want to be honest with yourself about what’s needed to change your life.

Here’s a link to it again.

8) Visualize yourself immune to the negativity

Visualization has become a well known and powerful tool that people can use to improve their lives in many ways, including physically blocking out negative energy.

If you take a minute to imagine yourself impenetrable to negative energy, your body will be able to block it out of your life.

This can take some time to practice, but it is worth it to save yourself the trouble of dealing with outside negativity, and it’s really neat how it works overtime to protect you.

9) Put it out of your body

When negative energy does make its way into your life, you can put it right back out of your life by using visualization to push it from your physical self.

Imagine seeing the negative energy leave your body and visualize filling the space with positive energy.

10) Wash it off

If you feel physically and mentally drained from a negative encounter or have been carrying around negative energy all day, take a shower or a bath.

They will help you feel like you are physically washing away the negative energy, not to mention a hot shower or bath will help you feel refreshed and relaxed.

If you take a bath just before bed, your muscles will be warm and relaxed, and you’ll have a restful night’s sleep instead of tossing and turning worrying over the negative energy in your body.

The most effective way to deal with negative energy and to stop other people’s negative energy from making its way into your body is to be aware of it and understand how it affects you.

When you recognize those feelings, you can change your environment, take a bath, or start working on some breathing exercises to regroup and refocus your thoughts.

Keeping yourself protected from negative energy is important because it can drain you and make you much less productive than you could be in life. Stay away from it altogether if you can manage it. Negative energy is no good for anyone.

11) Get clear on what you are willing to embrace in your life

Once you decide that you’re not putting a negative person out of your life for good, you need to learn to manage them and their negativity in your life.

This means that you need to get clear on what you are willing to put up with and what you aren’t going to tolerate.

You don’t even have to tell people what these boundaries are, but you need to know them and abide by them yourself.

You might decide that you will not talk about certain topics, such as money, around negative people because it always leaves you feeling guilty about how much money you make or have.

12) Don’t react to other people’s negativity, respond in a way that serves you

Rather than try to correct someone who is being negative, remind yourself that you get to decide how to respond to that person and you don’t need to feed into their negativity.

A lot of times, simply disarming them with a positive response is enough to get them to sit up and pay attention to their own negativity, but it’s not your job to try to change them.

Focus on how you want to show up for the conversation and stick to that.

Related: What J.K Rowling can teach us about mental toughness

13) Trying talking about something else that doesn’t weigh everyone down

If you find that the conversation is turning into a negativity-fest, then try changing the subject and talking about something that everyone can enjoy.

Bring up your favorite song or activity or even better, ask the negative person to tell you about something they enjoy.

It’ll help shift their focus away from whatever it is that they are complaining about and will help you be able to better manage the experience.

14) Take on a solutions-based approach

It’s a generally agreed-upon notion that negative people tend to have a problem for every solution.

So if you find yourself in the presence of someone who just keeps putting up roadblocks, then you might have to hit them hard with tons of solutions for their problems.

Although it’s not always enough to get them to change their mind, it will at least allow you to walk away from the encounter feeling like you don’t hate everything and everyone.

15) Remember that other people’s opinions of you aren’t important

Someone who is quite negative all the time is going to have a thing or two to say about you and your life.

You’ll need to get a thick skin if you are going to continue to have this negative person in your life and let the comments roll off your back.

Remember that the things this person says are not about you at all, but that they are finding things in you that they don’t like about themselves so they are projecting that onto you. It’s not you, it’s them.]

(For a spiritual master’s advice on how to stop caring what people think of you, click here)

16) Stop trying to change how negative other people are in life

One of the most frustrating things about negative people is that they complain about everything and while it is plain as day to you that all they need to do is change a few things about their life and they wouldn’t be so negative all the time, the negative person can’t see the benefit of that approach.

So, it’s vitally important that you keep in mind that it is not your responsibility to fix this person. They have to decide they want to be different.

17) Be the best version of yourself you can be

Remember that you can’t change someone’s negative perspective. You can only be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday; perhaps, that might inspire the negative people in your life to get a grip and stop acting like a big baby.

But if not, you can only worry about yourself, so put your focus there instead of worrying about how you can help the negative people in the world.

(If you’re looking for specific actions you can take to live a happier life, check out our best-selling eBook on essential Buddhist teachings here).

Are you a negative person? Here are 12 ways to tell

Negativity can take a perfectly good life and ruin it. Drag it through the mud. Turn your own upside down.

If you find that more people are walking away from you than toward you, it might be time to consider that you are a negative person.

At least when you know that you are the problem here, you can start to work on the things that are keeping you from living your best life.

And reducing the amount of negative energy in your life will certainly help you live a happier life.

Here are 12 ways you might be bringing negative energy into the room and your life on a regular basis.

1) You don’t make friends easily.

While you might think that you just have high standards, a lack of close friends could be a sign that you are a negative person.

Or, at the very least, spreading around a lot of negative energy.

Think about what you talk about with friends or what you do together and examine how you react to things to see if the bad karma in the group is with you.

2) Everyone around you is negative.

A major signal of negativity is when you declare everyone else around is negative. Not recognizing that you are also a negative person, you may find that you tend to run into a lot of negativity.

That is the universe’s way of trying to get you to see the negativity in your own life. Pay attention.

3) You fight with people a lot.

Perhaps you pick fights even when you don’t mean to start trouble. Maybe you always have a chip on your shoulder or have something to say to people when they haven’t asked for your opinion.

Pay attention to how you bring up issues with people and see if you are starting conversations on a negative note.

4) People don’t look you in the eye.

People who don’t respect you won’t look you in the eye. If you give off negative vibes, people might try to shield themselves in a subconscious way by avoiding eye contact with you.

If you find that people don’t look you in the eye, it’s because they don’t like your negativity and they are trying to avoid catching whatever it is you have going on.

5) Friends cancel plans.

If your friends are always canceling plans with you, something is probably wrong. This is a good time to ask yourself if it’s them or if it’s you.

Newsflash: it’s almost always you. What’s more, your friends might have already tried to tell you how negative you are but you are too caught up in your own drama to realize that they’ve been telling you to hit the road for a while.

6) People physically turn away from you.

Similarly to avoiding eye contact, people will turn their bodies away from your body when they are talking to you because they are trying to protect themselves from your negativity.

They might also cross their arms to mimic blocking negativity and they will certainly be moving away from you as the conversation continues.

7) Someone is always asking you, “what’s wrong?”

If you just look like something is wrong all the time, that’s not good. Happy people don’t walk around with a negative expression on their face.

Sometimes, people subconsciously want others to ask about their feelings or inquire about a sad look so they play it up and then snap down someone’s throat when they get the very thing they wanted. It’s all so negative.

8) Nobody asks you for help.

If you feel like you are more of a dumping ground for negative information than someone who can lift the spirits of friends, it might be because your friends and family already see you as being so negative that a little more won’t hurt.

The difference here though is that they don’t ask for you to help fix things: they just dump all their mental garbage on you.

9) Family avoids you.

If your family is off to shop without you, or if everyone suddenly gets quiet when you walk in the room, it can get really uncomfortable.

But consider that they weren’t talking about you when you walked in the room; perhaps they just don’t want you to engage in the conversation because, you know, you’re negative.

10) You feel tired all the time.

Negativity can weigh on us in a physical way, not just in our minds.

If you feel like you are tired all the time and don’t seem to ever feel relief, it might be that your negativity has manifested itself in a way that is holding you back in life. It’s because a physical burden to carry.

11) You are really unorganized.

Interestingly enough, people who tend to be very negative have a hard time getting and staying organized.

This is for a number of reasons including negative thoughts such as, “why bother?”, “it’ll just get messed up again anyway”, and “nobody cares.”

12) You don’t start any new projects.

If you haven’t started anything new in a while, it’s a good idea to ask yourself why not? Negative people don’t see the point of trying to make things better and therefore, don’t engage in activities that could help move things forward.

Or, even worse, they don’t believe things can get better so they never try.

New ebook: Buddhism can teach us a lot about becoming emotionally resilient. My new eBook, The No-Nonsense Guide to Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy, is now Hack Spirit’s #1 selling book and an extremely practical, down-to-earth introduction to essential Buddhist teachings. If you want to become more emotionally resilient, check out my eBook here.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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