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7 Control Points to Curb the Flow of Negative Energy into Your Life

influence.jpgIf you look in the mirror, you’ll see the most influential force in your life staring back at you, but let’s talk for just a moment about all the negative influences affecting your life from the outside: billboards selling unhealthy food, friends pushing cigarettes, pessimists hawking gloom and doom, the harassment of mean people, the lure of gossip.

Of course, it’s not possible to completely stop negative energy from flowing into our lives, but these 7 common-sense control points can help us stem the tide considerably:  

1. Evaluate New Relationships: Relationships are the jewel of life, so don’t arbitrarily shut people out or be afraid of an interpersonal challenge from time to time. But do evaluate the negative energy of new relationships before you’re invested in them so you can consciously decide whom to invite into your inner sanctum. The signs of a bad match often exist from the outset in the form of conflict, oppression, anger, or hurt feelings; if a new relationship drags you down instead of lifting you up, keep in mind that new growth is the easiest to prune.

2. Resolve Existing Relationships: Once a negative person has infiltrated your life, dealing with him or her is harder. History, love, or duty may obligate a deeper course of resolution, such as discussion, negotiation, counseling, or mediation. But make no mistake: it’s never too late to evaluate a person’s presence in your life; never too late to seek repair or dissolution. Allowing a negative person continued influence over your life without any form of remediation is not healthy.

3. Awareness of Media: Mass media panders to the lowest common denominator, like a giant lens magnifying and reflecting the least attractive aspects of your own psyche. Not all media is negative, of course, and the negative parts are encouraged by audiences.  I’m not blaming the media for anything; I’m simply suggesting that we should all be more aware of what we’re feeding our brain: consumerism, violence, fear, inadequacy, idiocy, and worse.  If a negative program does not benefit you, turn it off. 

4. Address Family Attitudes: Bigotry, hatred, low self-esteem, victimhood, and other self-destructive attitudes and behaviors are easily absorbed during childhood. Consider the impact that your family has had (and continues to have) upon your view of the world and make corrections where necessary. Easier said than done, but intellectual freedom is worth the trouble.

5. Optimize Fitness Environment: A strong relationship exists between physical fitness and the rest of life.  And yet we stock our pantries with Twinkies, potato chips, and other unhealthy foods.  I don’t know who’s responsible for buying groceries in your house, but this is one negative influence that’s easy to correct.  In addition, try creating a space within your home where it’s comfortable to exercise; if you enjoy watching television or listening to music while you pump iron or hit the treadmill, make those things available.    

6. Evaluate Neighborhood: I used to live in an apartment complex where 14-year-old gang members roamed the hallways and harassed occupants. I moved. I’ve never been happier. The acid test for neighborhood fitness is whether or not it’s affecting your calm; whether or not there are affordable alternatives. Your home should be your castle, not your prison.

7. Evaluate Work Environment: If you enjoy the type of work you do, yet find yourself oppressed by managers or co-workers, remedy the situation by improving your people skills (if the problem is you) or transferring to a different unit or company (if it’s your environment). If you hate the work itself, find something more rewarding.

The root of all negative influence is human nature. Yes, obviously, human nature; that’s why negative influence is both omnipresent and ever tempting. The negative attitude within one person calls to the negative potential within another, like the divining rod to water, like magnets.

There are those who would argue that the battle against the world’s negativity is entirely within your own mind, and I suppose that’s true in the sense that you, and only you, control your behavior. Some self-appointed gurus take this strategy to extremes, denying that a person has any control over his environment and therefore must focus exclusively on his state of mind.  Yes, I agree it’s important to stabilize our emotions and resist negative forces that we cannot avoid, but I simply cannot endorse the idea that we’re helpless to change our environment or that attempting to do so is folly.  

Put more simply, if you’ve got a wild dog gnawing on your leg, it makes more sense to remove the dog than to ignore it.  Bottom line: sometimes it’s better to change the external world, and sometimes it’s better to change our attitudes.  This article has been a brief foray into the former, a rundown of the most critical touchpoints for curbing the flow of negative energy into our lives.    

Only through awareness can we determine which influences to keep, discard, filter, or champion, and it is toward this end that I hope the words in this article have been helpful.


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