“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” according to a quote attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn.
If those people are a bad influence, you’re less likely to change for the better.
Whether or not you believe that to be true, one thing’s for sure: the energy you surround yourself with ends up affecting your mood, overall outlook on life, and health.
When that energy turns toxic, it’s essential to take steps to limit your exposure.
The hard part? Toxic energy can come from various sources: noxious people, bad environments, or a negative attitude. It’s tricky to figure out where to start.
Worry not! This quick cheat sheet with nine ways to protect your mind and body from toxic energy will have you glowing from the inside out.
1) Practice mindfulness
As a meditation skeptic, let me tell you: clearing your mind has benefits that go beyond appearing calmer in your everyday life.
It improves focus and quiets an overthinking mind.
More importantly, it gives you a better chance of dodging the toxic energy gunning for you day after day.
When your mind is rested, you can identify toxic triggers in a timely manner and keep yourself sane. Or as close to sane as possible, given the current economic and political climate.
I started by using a meditation app and found the entire process excruciating. I’m a millennial, so being alone with my thoughts is pure torture.
The first week, I either fell asleep during the 10 minutes I dedicated to the practice, or my mind wandered to no avail.
I got better with time.
And you know what else I discovered?
Mindfulness can take many forms. You can meditate by sitting quietly in the lotus position for 5 minutes and focusing on your breath, sure.
But if you’re not a fan, there are workarounds.
For instance, I’m most mindful when washing the dishes. I focus on the smell of the dishwasher, the texture of the sponge, the warmth of the water, the dirt washing away.
Doing something mindless allows my brain to relax.
Perhaps you can practice mindfulness by taking a long walk without headphones. Coloring. Organizing the pantry. Find something that works for you, and keep at it.
Your brain’s ability to filter toxic energy will significantly improve over time.
And if you’re going with the walk, you can cross two things off the list.
2) Move more
Moving your body comes with numerous benefits, all of which a doctor must have screamed in your general direction at one point. It’s time to start listening.
Physical activity lifts your mood and boosts brain health. Happy, relaxed people are much better at keeping negativity at bay.
I don’t make the rules.
Moving doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym every morning before work.
It can mean roller skating, dancing, swimming, taking leisurely walks, or playing a friendly game of basketball.
Try out various types of exercise and stick with the one you hate less. Bonus points if you can practice it outside.
3) Eat better
When you’re protecting yourself from toxic energy, paying attention to what goes into your body is job one.
If your diet consists of copious amounts of coffee, microwave dinners, and sugar, it’s time to make changes.
A few tips that will help:
- Go bio/organic as often as your budget allows you to
- Hit the farmers’ market and buy locally
- Eat veggies, preferably with every meal
- Limit processed foods as much as possible
- Add more fiber-rich foods to your meals (beans, whole grains, broccoli, berries)
A balanced diet helps your body flush toxins with more ease. Following the 80/20 rule is a good place to start.
You don’t need crazy cleanses since your liver already does the heavy lifting. Simply give him a hand.
4) Upgrade your environment
We’ve covered what goes into your body. Let’s focus on what goes on and around your body.
Namely: self-care, hygiene, and cleaning products.
While they might seem harmless, these products can pack toxic chemicals that affect your energy levels, especially when you use them daily.
Pollution can charge you with negative energy too, but there’s not a lot you can do about that. Reducing toxins in your home, however, is perfectly doable.
Go through your collection of cosmetics, self-care products, and household cleaners, and remove anything with toxic ingredients. Also, make it a point to opt for non-toxic products moving forward.
Other things you can do to improve the flow of energy in your home:
- Open windows to allow fresh air to move through the house
- Burn incense or sage when you feel drained or depressed
- Declutter (an organized place = an organized mind)
- Use crystals or essential oils to improve your home’s vibe
5) Practice gratitude
Regardless of how unbearable or overwhelming your life might feel, you can still find something to be grateful for.
Your health. Family. Friends. Your job. Pets. The fact that you can find decent tacos in your neighborhood.
Whatever it is, write it down. Even better, start a gratitude journal and keep track of everything that makes you go, “Hmm, I might not be so miserable after all.”
Gratitude encourages positivity, which is a natural antidote to the toxic energy weighing you down.
6) Get to know yourself better
“But I already know myself very well,” you reply.
That might be true, but can you recognize triggers that leave you drained and negatively charged?
Perhaps it’s meetings that could have been an email. Being stuck in traffic during rush hour. Going to the grocery store at peak times. Dealing with that one, unbearable client.
Notice the times you feel at your worst. Signs of being negatively charged include:
- Being stressed for no good reason
- Blaming others for your problems/circumstances
- Criticizing others and yourself
- Snapping at people
When you recognize the symptoms, think back on what caused them. What did you do that day? What activities impacted you the most?
Identifying triggers will help you avoid or limit them in the future.
Plus, you can better prepare for whenever you have to deal with them next.
If you get frustrated when you’re stuck in traffic, for instance, use that time to listen to a feel-good podcast or energizing playlist.
And if those triggers are people? That brings us to our next point.
7) Limit your exposure to toxic people
There’s a good chance you recognize them by now.
That frenemy who constantly puts you down. The aunt who only calls to complain about her kids. The neighbor who stops you on your way to work to gossip about everyone else in the building.
Don’t take it upon yourself to fix everyone, and steer clear of drama. In other words, cut them out.
Keep interacting with them and their problems, frustrations, and bad vibes will become your burden.
8) Set boundaries
Not possible? Perhaps the toxic person is a close relative or a co-worker, and you can’t part ways for good.
If so, set boundaries for how much time you devote to them. When you already talked to your toxic parent two times this week, it’s unlikely a third call is a must.
You don’t have to visit every holiday or solve their problems.
Learn to put yourself first. It won’t be easy, but consistency is key.
And the rewards are priceless. You’ll immediately notice the bad energy draining away.
9) Build a solid support system
It all comes down to that quote we started with.
You can’t protect yourself from toxic energy if you surround yourself with people who aren’t necessarily toxic but don’t do much to lift you up.
Those closest to you should hold you up and provide encouragement. With a sturdy support system, you have a better chance of living a more positive life overall.
So… do your friends fit that description? If your answer is a resounding no, maybe it’s time to expand your social horizons.
Unfortunately, you can’t completely remove toxic energy from your life.
There will still be moments when a negative social media post will latch on to your brain, a struggling loved one will complain excessively, or you won’t be able to quiet down the negative thoughts haunting your mind.
But if you take the above steps, you’ll be better equipped to prevent toxic energy and handle it when it shows its ugly head.
That’s a win in my book.