Most of us understand how toxic it can be to interact with negative people. Their dreary outlook on life can drag us down. And their pessimistic attitudes can, too often, discourage us from giving our best or taking the necessary steps to improve our future success.

Negative people can pull us into their toxic cycle of pessimistic existence by disrupting our lives and creating negative thoughts within us. Read on for five ways to deal with the negative people in your life and prevent their habits from bleeding into your own.

1. Define boundaries.

Perhaps one of the most useful things you can do is to define your space and how much you are going to allow others to influence you. Often, negative people find it easy to encroach on other people by joining in on conversations--whether in person or even through social media--when they aren't welcome. The most effective way to eliminate as much pessimism as possible is by simply limiting the parts of your life to which negative people have access. Keep your sanity and create boundaries to protect yourself.

2. Pick your battles carefully.

While it's important, and human, to spend some of your time helping others with their problems, it's impossible to help them win every battle. Choose whether it's more important to help your friend figure out why they are so dissatisfied with their current job, or to help him get through his latest breakup. You'll exhaust yourself trying to fix all of your friend's problems or daily issues. And it is possible that placing the negative complaints on pause for a few hours--or a couple days--can bring about a resolution without your involvement at all.

3. Surround yourself with warmth.

Find people who make you happy, who infuse your life with positivity--make these positive friends a much bigger part of your life than your negative friends. Being bombarded by a constant stream of negativity can take a toll on even the most easygoing person, so protect yourself from that potential burnout by adding quality time with those who uplift your spirits and encourage you to do great things.

4. Be a catalyst for positivity.

Most negative people don't even realize how they are coming across. I am sure they often wonder why friends don't stick around or why success eludes them--which, of course, gives them more to whine about. Create a positive spin on things for your negative friend. Once they have completed their latest complaint session, ask them to share something positive that happened to them that day or week. Or perhaps share some things that you are feeling happy about--even sharing something as small as the pride you feel from arriving to work on time everyday this week. Sharing something positive can help your negative friend open their eyes to their own negativity and, hopefully, help them focus more on the positives in their lives.

5. Find positivity within yourself.

Finally, the most successful tactic of all may be finding positivity within yourself. As hard as it may be, don't let the negative words or actions of others get to you. Maintain positive energy regardless of what happens--smile in the face of adversity--by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Overcome the negativity from those who try to bring you down by tapping into your very own internal happiness, giving you one more thing to be happy about and thankful for.

Published on: Mar 31, 2016