10 ways to protect yourself from the negative mood of others

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We are by nature “social animals”, said Aristotle, made to be in contact with each other, for better or for worse. But sociability does not always bring well-being and sometimes, if we are not well “equipped”, it can end up making life decidedly heavier.

It happens, for example, when we get too involved, when we give ample space in our lives to other people’s emotions, especially if they are negative. Because we know: being human also means being influenced by the moods of other people and the real challenge is not to let the most harmful aspects affect us.
If on the one hand it is right to help those who are experiencing a moment of unease, on the other it is important to defend your mood. Thinking about your well-being and mental health is essential but to do so it is necessary to create a sort of «protective bubble» that acts as a screen against the negative moods of others.
The psychologist and writer Susanna Newsonen talked about how to prevent this risk in an article published on PsychologyToday indicating, on the basis of his experience as a life coach, i 10 key points that help you detach yourself from others to protect your psychological balance. Here are his suggestions.

1. Become aware that you don’t have to take on the negativity of others
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Back view of two sad teenagers sitting on the sand of the beach and looking at horizon in a bad weather dayAntonioGuillem

There is a clear separation between you and the other person, between their mood and yours. This is the first thing to take into consideration. “Just because someone is having a bad time doesn’t mean you have to share it too,” Susanna Newsonen points out. “Repeat yourself:”this is not my emotion and I don’t have to take charge of it”».

2. You don’t have to solve other people’s discomfort
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Shot of a wife consoling her husband during a counseling session with a therapistlaflor

Just as we don’t have to take charge of someone else’s negative mood, neither is it our responsibility to fix it. “Often we get too involved in the emotions of others, especially when it comes to loved ones we want to help,” explains the psychologist. “The reality is that moods can only be changed by the person who experiences them, because they are something beyond our control and accepting it is the first step to feeling less frustrated”.

3. Accept the mood for what it is: a temporary, fleeting feeling
Thoughtful indian business woman looking away feeling bored pensive thinking of problem solution in office with laptop, serious hindu employee searching new ideas at work unmotivated about dull jobfizkes

We all have good days and bad days. But the more you judge someone else’s bad days, the more impressionable you become. “Remove the judgment and remember that it’s simply about how that person is feeling right now. It will pass. Instead, remember the times when he’s in a good mood and focus on making the most of them. However, if the negative mood of others is a recurring challenge for you, take a look at tip six », the expert clarifies.

4. Listen to complaints, but don’t share them
Sad millennial woman has difficult phone talk hold gadget by ear listen to unexpected bad news think on answer. Compassionate young lady support friend by cell try to help ponder on advice. Copy spacefizkes

One can be an empathic listener, without participating in the discontent. Most of those in difficulty do not expect their problems to be solved, but simply hope to feel understood. “Simply letting this person express their concerns can help improve their mood,” says Newsonen. “The key is not to feed them. Just nod your head, saying things like: “I hear you”; “I understand your frustration”; And “It looks difficult”, without getting involved. Whatever you do, the important thing is not to join the negativity or you risk fueling the flame and being overwhelmed».

5. Take responsibility for your mood
A young woman is talking to a female friend about her problem in a cafe. The friend is supportive and understanding.Sanya Radin

As contagious as emotions and moods may be, you are still responsible for your own. “If someone’s negative mood is getting us down, you can take positive action: change the situation or the way you’re reacting to it,” adds the psychologist in her article. “Share an empathic smile. Take a few deep breaths. Offer words of encouragement or a compliment. Share some good news. Finish a relevant sentence starting with “Isn’t it incredible that…?”. Do what you have to do to put yourself in a good position.”

6. Set healthy boundaries
Doubting dissatisfied man looking at woman, bad first date concept, young couple sitting at table in cafe, talking, bad first impression, new acquaintance in public place, unpleasant conversationfizkes

“If a coworker who’s always complaining about his job comes up for another rant, just tell him you don’t have time for it,” she suggests. “If a friend keeps complaining about how envious he is of your good life, tell him that you worked hard for it and that others can too. If a family member still expects you to settle a petty historical grudge with someone else, tell them you don’t have the energy to do it. Set boundaries, speak up when you feel overwhelmed, and ask for what you need.”

7. Inhale positive vibes, exhale negative vibes
Mature african woman looking outside window with uncertainty. Thoughtful mid adult woman looking away through the window while thinking about her future business after pandemic. Close up face of doubtful lady at home with pensive expression and copy space.Ridofranz

Taking a few deep breaths while focusing on what you are breathing in and out can work wonders. For this the author of the article on PsychologyToday also offers some practical exercises to implement when we realize that a certain negative mood is taking over us. “When you inhale for at least four seconds, smile inwardly as you imagine yourself soaking up all the positive energy there is. With each inhalation, focus on one word and repeat it in your mind, such as calmness, security, hope, gratitude or joy,” she suggests. “When you exhale for another four seconds, open your mouth wide and exhale loudly as you imagine all the bad things coming out of your body and mind. Say a word each time you exhale, such as stress, negativity, overwhelm, or disappointment. Keep doing this until you feel your nervous system calming down.”

8. Practice activities that keep you grounded
Women raise their hands to ask for blessing from God.Kamonwan Wankaew

The more practice you have in finding and maintaining your inner calm, the less likely you are to be affected by the chaos of others. There are in fact different types of mindfulness practices which help manage emotions and the mind, while some types of body movement, such as it yoga and the nature walkshelp keep the body steady: «Concentrate on developing your inner calm rather than on what someone else lacks».

9. Take care of yourself
Shot of a young woman looking thoughtful while relaxing on the sofa at homeDelmaine Donson

“You can only reach your maximum level of resilience when you are well rested, well nourished and feel satisfied in some way,” explains the psychologist. “If you’re not, you’re much more susceptible to the negative moods around you and it will be harder than ever to fight them. Take care of yourself every day.”

10. Get away from an “uncomfortable” situation
Shot of an unhappy young man talking with a colleaguelaflor

Sometimes you want to be there for the people you care about, but there may come a point where the situation becomes too difficult to deal with. “If you start to give in, apologize and say you need a moment to recover. Go to the bathroom, spend two minutes in the fresh air, drink some water, take some deep breaths and remember the things you are grateful for. Only return to the room when you feel resilient enough to handle the situation», suggests the expert.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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