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Saying Good Riddance To Bad Company

Written by S.O.

Posted on January 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm

negativity

Do you have a friend or family member who seems to bring you down with each interaction? Many of us have people in our lives who leave us feeling worse for wear after that conversation or visit. Often, we keep these toxic relationships afloat even when they are destructive to us. We don’t always realize the impact these negative people can have on our overall wellbeing over time.

Friends Over Frenemies

It is detrimental to our mental health to surround ourselves with people who bring us down. According to Saul McLeod of Simply Psychology, other people have a huge impact on our self-concept. McLeod says “If people admire us, flatter us, seek out our company, listen attentively and agree with us we tend to develop a positive self-image. If they avoid us, neglect us, tell us things about ourselves that we don’t want to hear we develop a negative self-image.” 

A Poison That Spreads

Keeping this kind of company can cause more damage than a chipped self-concept. Doctor Karen Lawson of the Center for Spirituality and Healing in Minnesota explains it like this: “Chronic stress from negative attitudes and feelings (of others) can upset the body’s hormonal balance and deplete the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness, as well as have a damaging impact on the immune system.” So, soaking up too much negativity can eventually affect the body, as our emotional distress converts itself into physical stress.

Emotions Are Contagious

It is fine to get together and gripe occasionally with a friend, but when that griping turns into an every-time occurrence, it may be time to re-evaluate this not-so-quality time you are spending together. Psychologist and Author Sherrie Bourg Carter, who specializes in the area of women and stress, asserts that humans often emotionally mimic one another and are innately vulnerable to “catching” the feelings of others. So spending too much time with negative people will inevitably lead to us carrying deleterious emotions around with us for the rest of the day (or much longer).

Cut The Cord

Even though it can be difficult to lower the hammer, weeding out these negative people will feel like a weight off your shoulders. If you feel like it is your duty to always be the therapist-friend, or even the figurative punching bag, it may be best to just rip the Band-Aid right off for the sake of your own mental health and happiness.

Laugh Out Loud

Try to look for positivity, humor and warmth in the new friends you bring into your life. Of course no one can be that way all the time, but it helps to find people who share a similar foundation to yourself, so you know that whatever kind and quantity of energy you are putting into the relationship will be reciprocated. Dr. Bourg Carter says, “Catching the “happy” bug from those around you is a contagion that everyone should try to catch. Just being around positive people can be energizing, motivating, and inspiring”.

So there it is, folks – doctor’s orders to go get your funniest friends and laugh each other into tears!

Sources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201210/emotions-are-contagious-choose-your-company-wisely

http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/health/thoughts-emotions/how-do-thoughts-emotions-impact-health

http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/our-experts/karen-lawson-md

http://www.simplypsychology.org/self-concept.html

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