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Sometimes your positive energy can spread like wildfire and inspire the same in others, but so many times, that’s not the case. When you’re stuck in a toxic environment, how do you keep YOUR peace? It’s not easy. But these 11 ideas can help make it easier.
11 Ideas to Keep Your Peace in a Toxic Environment
1. Send positive energy from a distance.
You can do this before you go into a situation, and let your blessings/hopefulness lead the way. Before you walk into the room or conversation, imagine putting on a love cloak and let your energy roll out like a red carpet ahead of you. Whatever you walk into, visualize your energy going before you, protecting you, guiding you.
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
2. Stop fighting the situation; see it with another perspective.
When you turn it into a battle, you don’t win because you’re directly engaged with the toxicity. You’re supporting what you’re giving your attention to. Transform that energy of fighting into something more helpful.
Here are a few ways you could do that:
Focus on how understanding you can be. Listen to what they’re saying. Go deeper. Why might they feel that way? What could’ve happened in their life that gives them that perspective? Try to understand, nothing more, nothing less.
See this as a larger message or lesson. What can you learn from this? Who are you without this situation, event, label? Where are your priorities (and thoughts) right now? How might you be contributing your energy to the communal energy pool, and can you contribute something new?
Honor what is, then focus on what could be. You can face reality without fighting it. Accept what is first, and then build a vision of what your reality would look and feel like if it were peaceful – focus on that.
You experience something new in the future by focusing on something different right now.
3. Make lists.
Make a list of the important things you want to accomplish today, what good things happened that you’re grateful for, and/or what you’re looking forward to. This can help you to feel “too preoccupied” with your own agenda to engage with the other person’s priorities.
“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.” – Robert J. Sawyer
4. Breathe it out.
Let your breathe be a tool you turn to for anything that threatens your peace.
In the figurative sense, get the thoughts and feelings that are inside of you out in the open. Opt into a mutual agreement with a friend, family member, or a notebook that lets you vent. Create your own support group, preferably outside of the toxic environment you’re in.
Venting can save you from re-hashing the day’s events over and over again in your head.
A few suggestions to help you get your frustrations out without dragging others down (or fueling the toxicity):
End the “venting session” on a hopeful note.
Don’t analyze a problem without also contemplating a solution.
Imagine your breath and words carrying away the tension, so you can’t breathe it back in.
Set a timer with your friend or piece of paper, and get it all out within the allotted time. When the timer goes off, wrap it all up with a hopeful thought.
“When in doubt, say: I choose to see peace instead of this.” – Gabby Bernstein
5. Ask, “How may I be of service?”
When you can’t take it anymore, it’s time to give.
What can you bring to this situation? What could you do that might uplift the energy, make someone smile, ease the tension, and make yourself feel good about what you’re capable of adding to this space?
6. Set up positivity triggers.
Identify what helps you release anger and stress, what makes you feel better. It could be something you do, something you read, something you think. Whenever you’re in a toxic situation, turn to these as your “triggers,” things that redirect you in a better-feeling direction.
Here are a few ideas:
Write self-empowering quotes on sticky notes. Post them around your work space, set them as alarms on your phone, or keep them tucked in your pocket for quick reference.
Look at a photograph that reminds you of someone you love, a favorite place to visit, or a peaceful moment. Be with that person now, and visit that place now, through this picture in your mind.
Talk to someone who makes you laugh.
Play a song that never fails to make you smile.
Dub an object (a crystal, cross, or souvenir of some sort) as your “protection” and carry it with you.
Use affirmations or mantras to reconnect with your own intentions (without getting sucked into the intentions of other people).
Here are a few affirmations you could use (out loud or in your head) when you need the extra support:
I am not at the mercy of my environment.
I honor the light in you that’s also in me.
I cancel my subscription to your issues. I am not subject to them, but may you be healed from them.
I choose peace instead.
7. Mind your practice.
This toxic place isn’t your world. It’s what’s going on outside of you, but your true world is inside.
Consciously choose not to become a character in someone else’s plot. They have their practice, and you have yours. You’re not responsible for what you see, only how you choose to see it: this is your practice.
8. Move your body.
When appropriate, spare the time for a quick pick-me-up: jumping jacks, pushups, a favorite yoga pose, a walk out in nature, something, anything, even if it’s only for 10 seconds.
9. Pick up a hobby that helps you flow.
Explore ways to bring more flow into your life. This means you’re completely absorbed in an activity that challenges your skill level and demands all your attention. You might call it being “in the zone.”
This could be anything from sports to poetry, fixing your car or playing a video game, working in the garden or cooking a meal.
It takes you away from the stressful situation and places it in the present moment. It inspires you and makes you more resilient, aware, capable of dealing with stress in a healthy way.
10. Promote what you love.
Be ultra sensitive to the words you use.
Are you using words that promote what you love, or are they highlighting what you don’t like?
Get clear about what you don’t want, and don’t focus on that any more than is necessary. Once you’ve vented, focus your attention on what you DO want. Fuel that instead. 10 seconds at a time is a good start.
When you focus your attention on something, you say to the universe: “More of this, please.”
“What you react to in others, you strengthen in yourself.” – Eckhart Tolle
11. Start a forgiveness practice.
When you’re ready…
Forgiveness isn’t usually a one-time thing. It’s an evolving practice. And it’s for you. When you forgive what’s happening, you get to participate more fully in your own life, in what *you* care about.