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How to Focus on Yourself When You’re Surrounded by Negativity

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How to Focus on Yourself When You’re Surrounded by Negativity

These days, negativity snowballs at the drop of a hat. Whether it’s in our work environment, personal relationships, or in society on a global scale, negativity is hard to shake off and even harder to avoid. It’s an unfortunate but necessary part of our life, even when you choose to focus on yourself.

After all, if we never faced negativity, we wouldn’t know to look toward positivity with so much gusto. Even when we keep a sunny outlook on life, external factors affect us greatly. In order to understand how to focus on ourselves more, we also need to understand how negativity impacts our entire being.

Focusing on Mental and Emotional Health

Think back on a stressful situation you’ve had at work recently. How did it affect your thinking? Perhaps it derailed you from staying focused on completing projects or meeting deadlines. It may have also left you frazzled and unable to stay grounded on one train of thinking.

Now think about your emotions. Were you sad? Angry? Overwhelmed? Perhaps all of the above. You can’t always control negativity, even when you choose to focus on yourself and your mental health. We may be in work or family situations where a person we’re dealing with is difficult to be around or work with. Their demeanor brings us down, and their energy acts like a vacuum, sucking us into their negative spirals.

It can be difficult to pull ourselves out of this interaction, but it’s important to notice if it happens. Why? Because when we know better, we can do better. Negativity impacts our mental and emotional health in the blink of an eye. Practicing self-awareness can give us the power back to reclaim our good energy.

Focusing on Physical Health

Our entire being works on an intricately connected level. When our mental and emotional health are compromised due to negativity, our physical health is just as affected. This includes our metabolism, sleep cycle, energy levels, and how well (or poorly) we deal with stress.

According to Marque Medical, “Doctors have found that people with high levels of negativity are more likely to suffer from degenerative brain diseases, cardiovascular problems, digestive issues, and recover from sickness much slower”[1]. This is certainly the case when we have our own negative thoughts, or when we’re exposed to negativity.

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Tools to Help You Focus on Yourself

First and foremost, self-awareness is key. Self-awareness is our ability to tap into our inner world and identify emotions and thoughts[2] This idea begs the question of how to monitor this world. Luckily for us, a renowned, popular, and simple practice has been around for centuries to address this very question.

1. Meditation

This ancient and sacred practice has been teaching people self-awareness and self-actualization for centuries. Meditation is a practice of stillness, silence, and often solitude. Its main goal is to turn down the volume of the chitta vritti nirodha, which is loosely translated as the “fluctuations of the mind”[3].

In another analogy, this is often referred to as the “monkey mind.” When our thoughts are in overdrive, they can be visualized as restless little monkeys jumping from branch to branch. Meditation resolves to address this, and not by stopping the monkeys, but by acknowledging their behavior in the first place.

This is where self-awareness truly shines. Instead of stopping your train of thought (which is impossible), can you become aware of how frazzled you may be? Can you notice the quality of your thoughts? More importantly, when negativity is lurking nearby, can you notice that you are being affected by it? If so, over time, you can begin to pull away from energy that brings you down.

If you’re not sure how to start meditation, try this simple morning meditation.

2. Boundaries

Setting boundaries is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It allows you to take back your power where you may have willingly distributed it before. We do this all the time because we love our family and friends. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, come off as a burden, or create division in our relationships[4].

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10 Steps to Setting Boundaries to Focus on Yourself

    However, when we’re lax in our boundary setting, the biggest division we create is within ourselves. Drawing firm lines in the sand is one way to focus on yourself when faced with negativity.

    This may look like honoring your values and leaving a conversation when you don’t feel comfortable or supported anymore. It may look like speaking your truth and expressing your feelings when you otherwise wouldn’t. Think back on that power. We can’t avoid negativity, but we can control how we react in the moment.

    3. Communication

    Negativity doesn’t simply vanish when we’re not paying attention anymore. It grows and festers over time. One powerful tool that we often undervalue is honest and assertive communication. When we’re overwhelmed, it’s good medicine to speak up about it.

    When we’re uncomfortable, it’s liberating to confess that we are. Not only does this keep you honest, but it also brings you back and helps you focus on yourself again.

    How you feel is never wrong. We’re in alignment with ourselves when we’re expressing our truthful emotions and thoughts. In the face of negativity, this is a wise weapon.

    4. Detachment

    When we’re surrounded by negative people, it is important to remember that we’re not a part of their story. It is kind and compassionate to hold space for a dear friend who is going through a tough time, but it’s not so kind to ourselves to invest into their struggle until it becomes our own.

    Often, when we’re in negative situations, we absorb the energy subconsciously. If you know you’re going to be in such situations or around such people, imagine you’re cloaking yourself in a white light or a transparent bubble of protection.

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    Whether you subscribe to the idea of auras or not, we all have energy fields[5]. This is most apparent when you meet someone for the first time, and you get a good vibe or poor impression of them. You’re actually picking up on their aura. Likewise, it is important to care for your own so that you’re not attracting or taking on someone’s negativity.

    5. Observation

    When a problem occurs, are you the first person to step in and help? Are you often the martyr or savior when people need something done? How often does this deplete you or take you away from your own self-care?

    For many of us, stepping in to help in a negative situation is almost a reflex. Our good nature and kindness shine through! This comes at a cost, however. Investing our energy into fixing negativity often leaves us spent, frustrated, and resentful.

    The hard truth is that we’re not meant to save the world. Every negative situation does not need our quick fix or invested effort. Likewise, every negative person does not need us to save them.

    If you get the urge to do this, pause and observe. Negativity does have its benefit. It forces people and situations to change, shift, and evolve.

    6. Release

    Imagine a row of matchsticks. The first one is lit and carries the flame down the line until one matchstick moves out of the formation, saving the rest. The same is true when we’re around negativity and take it on; our chances of passing it along to others are high.

    All it takes is for one person to stop the negativity in its tracks before it “infects” more people. We can always be that person. Through the practice of self-awareness and detachment, we can remove ourselves from the story and re-focus and realign.

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    7. Create Space

    We don’t always know the backstory of a negative situation or person. We don’t know what that person may be dealing with, or the details of the circumstances that are now affecting us. Creating space and patiently listening to someone or learning more about what is happening may give us the pause we need to de-escalate our own negative spiral.

    The practice of empathy is astoundingly effective in bringing us back to ourselves; oddly enough, it does this because we deeply connect to our world and to others[6]. There is always space for understanding.

    Final Thoughts

    Negativity is a natural part of life, albeit uncomfortable. It teaches us the importance and the preciousness of positivity! As such, it is vital that we understand how we react to negativity in our life.

    Through emotional, mental, and physical interaction, we pick up negativity quickly and subconsciously. It becomes a part of our self-care regimen, then, to practice self-awareness and notice where negativity has hidden in our being. Working to extricate this energy is both a gift to yourself and to those around you, as you become a part of the solution by choosing to focus on yourself with love and care.

    More on Self-Care

    Featured photo credit: Roberto Nickson via unsplash.com

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    Aleksandra Slijepcevic

    Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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    Last Updated on December 6, 2021

    Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

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    Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

    Sometimes, we carry with us ancient wisdom that has been whispered through generations where we find strength for what we need. Other times, we sense our happiness and sanity have been swept away, and we float rudderless in our space. We wonder if we’re heading in the right direction and feel doom rather than the transformation. In these moments, we may need some feeling lost quotes to help us find inspiration again.

    During the times when we feel lost, it’s too easy to forget the comfort of good times and wade through the fluff that separates us from the pack.

    I often work in leadership and have to test my limits and inspire those I’m leading. One of the quotes I keep in mind by T.S. Elliot is:

    “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

    Knowing how you will perform in a crisis, personally or professionally, can help you get through tough times. The people who tend to work best in a crisis or stay calm in stressful times are those who are honest and forthright.

    We often try to find sense in our lives with logic, reducing perceived risks by increasing control. The problem with control is you can hold on too tight, narrowing your options and missing the big picture.

    Trying to squeeze action out of undefined goals only increases the pressure. Being happy comes from a sense of self and freedom, not a narrow list you’ve locked yourself into.

    Sometimes, we need to observe our life in new ways and examine it with wisdom we doubt we have. Those big successes are done with small incremental actions done every day. Who will you choose to be in times of doubt?

    Whether you bookmark this page for future inspiration or show off powerful, inspiring quotes on your T-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, and screen saver, these 40 feelings lost quotes will help remind you of your true essence.

    We can reconnect with our priorities and take inspiration from both the ancients and modern visionaries with some of my favorite words below that inspire simplicity and truth.

    Feeling Lost Quotes

    1. “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you” –Steve Jobs

    2. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” –Gordon Eadie

    3. “One of the truest tests of integrity is a blunt refusal to be compromised.” –Chinua Achebe

    4. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” –Amy Elizabeth

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    5. “Be who you needed when you were younger.” –Anonymous

    6. “We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.” –Dr. Henry Link

    7. “The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” –Bruce Lee

    8. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” –Dolly Parton

    9. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

    10. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

    11. “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.” –Rumi

    12. “A tree that is unbending is usually broken.” –Loa Tzu

    13. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” –Plutarch

    14. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

    15. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” –Chinese proverb

    16. “To get lost is to learn the way.” –African Proverb

    17. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

    18. “Do you know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” –Thomas Jefferson

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    19. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what part of you will be gone tomorrow.” –William Shakespeare

    20. “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    21. “One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.” –Kahlil Gibran

    22. “You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” –Anonymous

    23. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

    24. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

    25. “I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance and affection to be art.” –Kahlil Gibran

    26. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” –Japenese Proverb

    27. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

    28. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” — Katherine Dunham

    29. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day. Similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” — Aristotle

    30. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

    31. “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” — Bob Parson

    32. “Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others. It only changes yours.” — Shannon L. Alder

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    33. “To be lost is as legitimate a part of your process as being found.” — Alex Ebert

    34. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” — Henry Rollins

    35. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

    36. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

    37. “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” — Demi Lovato

    38. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

    39. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” — Robert H. Schuller

    40. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis

    Sometimes It’s Ok to Feel Lost

    After looking at these feeling lost quotes, it is easy for someone to be confused. But these inspirational quotes will guide you to hear a voice every time when the risk is high, and you have nowhere to run. It is always easy to choose the shortcut and ignore the voice of the subconscious to do the right thing!

    No matter how dire the circumstances might be, you need to make efforts and find ways to uplift your morale. Not making an effort is more painful than the risk of immersing your thoughts in negativity.

    When you are feeling lost, it is natural to be confused about the next step. However, you have to determine when the risk of staying in a sad state for a longer period is causing more harm than good.

    And don’t you worry, it’s okay sometimes to feel lost and not know where you are heading in your life. We go through various phases in life, and none of them stay permanent. Remember that “Life is a work-in-progress” and this too shall pass. Keeping hope is very important if you want to sail through the tides of life.

    Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

    Everyone is fighting their fight in their ways, but none can say – “I know it all.” Life is a constant struggle, and everyone has to push through personally to overcome obstacles.

    Whether it is your professional life that’s making you feel lost or your personal life brought about this state of mind, remember that you alone can find the solution. Happiness is a state of mind, and you alone can control the emotions that can bring a change in your attitude when you are feeling lost.

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    No one can tell you what your purpose is in the world, and only you have to decide that on your own. The universe has given us life and one that teaches us various things through unique experiences. Some might be good, and some might be bad.

    So, don’t beat yourself up or be hard on yourself even if you have not yet figured it out. It’s okay! You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why it is taking so long or why haven’t you been able to figure it out yet. Go at your own pace, and you shall reach where you intend to. Nothing is permanent, and you will find your way out. It’s just a matter of time.

    Rather than complaining and belittling yourself, you can try brainstorming ideas to help you move on. Procrastinating and beating yourself up will only drown the motivation and bring nothing of value but just self-pity.

    Don’t forget if you set your heart to something, you can achieve it. Feeling lost is not a permanent state, and to uplift your emotions, you need to have faith.

    Final Thoughts

    Many of these feeling lost quotes have a common core. That is, to take a step back and view yourself in a new way.

    Take action and make inspiration a routine. To act creates learning, and that builds confidence, provides direction, and eliminates doubt.

    Imagine what you want it to be so that your vibration matches your desire. We can’t snap our fingers to instantly change feeling lost, but we can increase our situational awareness with our emotions and places where our lives have or may take an abrupt turn.

    We take inspiration from our daily lives in as many individually unique forms as we are different. Inspiration can strike instantly and sporadically or feel like a trickle that slowly grows into a majestic waterfall crashing through with creative energy. That trickle is what will keep you going in dark times.

    When you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t recognize yourself, allow some inner compassion for the person you are right in that moment[1].

    You have the power to create your world, one step at a time, and these feeling lost quotes can help. You choose how you think. Tune in to how you feel and why.

    Remember you have the power to be, have, and do anything you desire. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

    See what I did there? Another quote to inspire original thought as it applies to you. It’s been said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and you will see his true colors. So keep your inspiration on tap for when you need a reminder of your purpose.

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    Featured photo credit: Daniel Jensen via unsplash.com

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