July 4, 2016

10 Ways to Stay Motivated when Surrounded by Negative People.


Unfortunately, there are times when it seems the majority of people and events in our lives are full of negativity.

When this happens, if we aren’t careful, it’s easy to get sucked into that negativity ourselves. Then, it can be nearly impossible to stay motivated in achieving our goals and dreams. Fortunately, we can avoid this by maintaining our perspective, controlling our thought patterns and responses and actively working to stay positive.

Here are 10 things we can do to keep motivated in negative environments.

1. Be a realistic optimist, not a Pollyanna.

Sometimes negativity surrounds us because there are truly bad things happening. Acknowledging that truth isn’t being a negative person, it is simply being realistic. While it’s unhealthy to view any situation as one that can never be fixed and adopt a defeatist attitude, it’s also not helpful to be in denial. Approach negative situations with the knowledge that while things are bad, a solution can always be found. Do this, and you might even find that you can motivate others to get on board with fixing things, rather than simply complaining.

2. Know what you can control and what you cannot. 

Unfortunately, there are some people who just have a negative world view. Then, there are situations that are just unfortunate and nothing can be done other than to accept things as they are and move on. Don’t waste your physical and emotional energy trying to control or change things that you simply cannot. Instead, focus on the things that you can make better.

3. Be a source of empathy.

There are some negative people who simply need an understanding ear and some words of empathy. If you are feeling emotionally strong enough, try to be that source of empathy whenever possible. You won’t see a change in those who are chronically negative but you might be able to help those who are simply struggling to see things in a better light. You’ll also develop the skills you need take in negative words and energy and put a positive or hopeful spin on them.

4. Practice self-care.

Negativity is physically and emotionally draining. If you have too much of it in your life, you might find yourself lacking the energy to truly take care of yourself. Make it a priority to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise and do other little things that keep you feeling well. When you are going through times of negativity, you might also consider using meditation or yoga to help with stress and to find inner peace.

5. Limit exposure to the chronically negative.

It is understandable when people are negative as a reaction to crises, losses and disappointments. These are the folks who usually return to their normal, positive selves after a period of time. Then there are those who are chronically negative regardless of their situation and who simply cannot or will not recognize their or anybody else’s good fortune. Sometimes, they are truly unhappy people. In other cases, they get a lift out of sucking the positive energy out of any situation they can. Limit the amount of time you spend interacting with these emotional vampires.

6. Seek out uplifting news.

Here’s some good news. If you have an internet connection, you have access to thousands of touching, inspiring, funny and feel good news, videos, and stories. Some major online media presences have sections dedicated to positive news. and will curate some goodness right to your social media news feed. This can help you to stay motivated despite everything going on around you.

7. Make working toward your goals a daily priority.

When things are going south, it is not difficult to find yourself fighting one fire after another and spending your time focusing on other people. Maintain that pattern for too long and before you know it, your own personal goals have been pushed off to the side. Don’t let that happen. Keep your motivation up by committing to taking action toward your own goals each day.

8. Find other positive people in you circle.

Some days it might not seem like it, but there are other positive people in your life. Figure out who these people are and work with them to build an emotional support group where you can share your goals with one another and offer up support. Let this group become your touchstone when you feel most vulnerable to the negativity around you.

9. Back away from conflict.

Conflict is often a side effect of negativity. People who are inherently negative or simply in a negative situation are often stressed out and angry. They tend to focus on assigning blame over solving problems. The result is that they often create conflict. Learn to walk away from this. Sometimes conflict is a good thing—when it results in problem solving and true reconciliation. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case when you face conflict with a negative person.

10. Fix the negative thoughts that are entering your mind.

When you are surrounded by negative energy, it can begin to have an impact on your own thoughts and feelings. You might find your general mood shifting in a negative direction. You might also find yourself thinking defeatist, angry and other negative thoughts. When this happens, make a dedicated effort to stop that thinking. Then, reward that thought into something that is hopeful and positive.


Negativity cannot always be avoided, nor should it be. That doesn’t mean that you have to fall victim to the effects of negative people or negative thoughts. Employ some of the techniques above, and you will be able to weather negativity while still maintaining a positive, motivated outlook.


Author: Janet Anthony

Image: lookcatalog/Flickr 

Editors: Catherine Monkman; Emily Bartran

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