9 Signs You’re Surrounded By An Unhealthy Amount of Negativity & What To Do About It
If you're someone who is trying to feel more positive, you probably spend most of your time working on yourself. However, part of preserving your wellbeing is making sure you keep good company, which makes it important to notice any telltale signs you're surrounded by too much negativity. Surrounding yourself with bad energy or people who constantly put everything down can really hinder your health, but it's easy to become caught up in your group of friends, coworkers, or even family and not even realize the negativity they bring into your life.
Some amount of negativity is normal within human interactions, but when it becomes too much, it can have some negative consequences.
"When negativity is chronic and unresolved, the negative effects can be challenging and long-lasting," says psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly over email. "On a psychological level, chronic negativity can create a general sense of sadness, depression, anger, or irritation. On a physical level, the body responds to stressful circumstances with a release of cortisol. High levels of cortisol are known to have a negative impact on the body’s immune system, sleep, and the health of muscle, connective tissue, and bone."
To make sure you're surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good — and keep you healthy — watch out for these nine signs you're surrounded by an unhealthy amount of negativity.
1. You Find Yourself Exhausted At The End Of The Day
If you constantly feel like your energy is drained, your company may be to blame. "Anxious, sad, or negative thoughts release stress hormones, which lead to fatigue and low energy levels," says health, happiness, and relationship coach Dr. Lamees Khorshid over email.
2. You Have Sweaty Palms
Your body can provide clues to when you're feeling unhappy or uncomfortable. "Negative and anxious thoughts release a stress response that activate negative body states," says Khorshid. "This can show up as sweat in your palm or cold fingertips, revealing the fight or flight response."
3. You Become Anxious In Certain Environments
"Pay attention to your reaction to certain places and experiences," says Khorshid. "Some environments may make you more anxious or put you in a low mood. When you are mindful and conscious of your body and thoughts, you can choose places [and people] that are uplifting for your spirit."
4. You Don't Spend Much Time Laughing
Not everyone might be as goofy and silly as you, but uplifting conversations usually involve some humor and laughter. Too much negativity, and you might not be as inclined to bust out laughing. "Negative thoughts can make you feel glum, and it is hard to maintain a cheerful attitude or laugh at the incongruities of life," says Khorsid. "Laughter is actually healing, as the act of laughing induces a relaxation response."
5. You Always Need A Drink
If you have a tendency to utilize alcohol or other substances to avoid or cope with feelings, you're probably spending time around negative people, says Manly. Just as people use alcohol to cope with their feelings about themselves, they can also use it to deal with uncomfortable situations.
6. You Feel Cynical
"Emotions are contagious, so being around a lot of negativity has the strong potential of spreading," says psychologist Anita Marchesani, Ph.D over email. "You might find yourself not only being more negative yourself, but specifically becoming cynical."
7. You've Lost Enthusiasm To Do Things
If nothin excites you anymore, you may need a change of environment. "Too much negativity can subtly draw you away from things that are important to you," says Marchesani. "The negativity will dominate your attention over time, replacing your own interests."
8. You're Not Making Progress With Your Goals
Whether it's for your career, your personal growth, or even your relationships, you want to feel like you're making progress, and feeling stagnant or not reaching your goals can be a sign you're drowning in too much negativity. "Because negativity is physically and emotionally draining, you have less energy to devote to your important goals," says Marchesani. "Your attention will be more on negative things and therefore less on your specific goals."
9. You Feel Helpless
"Negativity conveys a general sense of not having control in life," says Marchesani. "If you notice your mind wandering to thoughts of being unable to control aspects of your life, you might want to evaluate how much negativity surrounds you."