February 16, 2024 - 16 min read

How to Remove Negativity from Your Life

Remove Negativity from Your Life Completely.
Nicolas Moore
Nicolas Moore Growth Mindset Expert

Are you ever dragged down by negativity? Maybe it’s a grumpy coworker, the nonstop bad news cycle, or that sneaky inner critic in your head. Negativity has an annoying way of clinging to us, doesn’t it? The good news is, there’s a way to shake it off!

It all starts by understanding where negativity comes from. Then, we can build strategies to ditch the negative vibes and make room for a healthy, positive outlook. This shift will help you approach your goals with confidence and resilience.

Ready to find your inner sunshine? Let’s get started!

Identifying the Sources of Negativity

To break free from negativity, we have to pinpoint its roots. Some negativity comes from outside us, while other negative patterns lie within our own thinking. Let’s take a closer look at each:

External Negativity

  • Toxic people: Do you have an energy vampire in your life? Sometimes friends, family, or coworkers spread negativity with their constant complaining or criticism.
  • Stressful environments: A chaotic home life, an overly demanding job, or endless errands can take a toll on your emotional well-being.
  • World events: Bad news and global crises can feel overwhelming and feed a sense that things are always going wrong.

Internal Negativity

  • Negative self-talk: That critical voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough? Yeah, that’s internal negativity. It’s sneaky and pervasive but we can work to tame it.
  • Past experiences: Traumas or past failures can sometimes linger, coloring our current outlook with negativity.
  • Self-limiting beliefs: Deep-seated ideas about how the world works or what we’re capable of can create a ceiling over our possibilities.

Important Note: The sources of negativity are unique to each of us. Don’t get discouraged if not all of this applies to you. Recognizing where your negativity originates is the first step towards addressing it.

An angry face emoji representing negativity.

Strategies to Remove Negativity From Your Life

Negativity is a powerful force that can hinder your progress, cloud your judgment, and drain your energy. But guess what? You don’t have to accept it as an inevitable part of life.

There are concrete strategies you can use to shake off negativity and pave the way for a more positive and fulfilling mindset. Let’s explore some simple, practical tools to ditch those negative vibes and tap into the power of positivity.


Your mindset is like the lens through which you view the world. If that lens is smudged with negativity, everything will seem dull and distorted. Here’s how to swap that out for a shiny, positivity-boosting lens:

  • Notice Your Thoughts: Become aware of that inner critic. What’s it telling you? Is it being helpful or is it just plain mean? Once you spot those negative thoughts, you can challenge them.
  • Reframe Negative Thoughts: Ask yourself, “Is this thought true? Is it helping me? Is there a more positive way to view this situation?” For example, if you think “I’ll never get this project done”, you could reframe it as: “This is challenging, but I’ll break it into smaller steps”.
  • Practice Gratitude: A simple gratitude practice can be a game-changer. Take a few minutes each day to focus on the good things in your life, big or small. It might be a warm cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger, or the feeling of sun on your skin. Gratitude trains your brain to spot the positive.

A Quick Story: I read about a woman who carried a pebble in her pocket. Every time she had a negative thought, she’d switch it to her other pocket. Each day she tried to keep as few pebbles as possible on the ‘negative’ side. It’s a simple example of the power of mindfulness in shifting our mindset!


The people in our lives have a huge impact on our emotional well-being. Positive, supportive relationships can lift us up, while toxic ones can drag us down.

Here’s how to build and protect a positive relational environment:

  • Assess your circle: Do the people you spend time with build you up or bring you down? It’s hard, but sometimes we need to distance ourselves from those who consistently inject negativity into our lives.
  • Set boundaries: It’s okay to say “no” to friends or family members who drain your energy. This may mean limiting time spent together or avoiding conversations that consistently turn negative.
  • Seek supportive bonds: Prioritize relationships with people who make you feel good about yourself, encourage your goals, and celebrate your wins. This positivity is contagious!
  • Communicate your needs: Be honest and open with loved ones about how their words or actions make you feel. Healthy relationships include room for difficult conversations when they’re done with kindness and respect.

As the saying goes:

"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with"

Removing negativity from your life Jim Rohn

Surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting individuals will create a ripple effect in your own outlook.


The physical spaces we inhabit play a surprising role in our emotional state. Here’s how to design your environment for a positive mood boost:

  • Declutter: Mess and disorder can bring a subtle sense of chaos and overwhelm. Take some time to clear out physical clutter in your home or workspace. A clear space can offer a sense of calm and control.
  • Let the light in: Sunlight naturally helps lift moods. Aim for bright, airy spaces whenever possible. Even opening blinds or introducing cheerful lamps can make a difference.
  • Add touches of nature: Studies show that bringing elements of nature indoors helps reduce stress. Invest in some houseplants, add nature-themed artwork, or open a window to enjoy fresh air and natural sounds.
  • Personalize it: Surround yourself with items that spark joy or bring back happy memories. Photos, meaningful souvenirs, items in your favorite colors – whatever makes the space yours adds a positive dimension.

Think of it this way: Creating a physical environment that is calming, bright, and cheerful provides a supportive foundation for a positive inner state. When you feel good in your space, it’s much easier to keep negativity at bay.


A fulfilling career that aligns with your values and allows you to use your strengths can feel incredibly rewarding. On the flip side, an unfulfilling, stressful, or toxic work environment can seep negativity into every corner of your life.

Here’s how to take steps toward a more positive work experience:

  • Self-Assessment: Do you dread going to work every day? If so, why? Explore whether it’s the job tasks, environment, company culture, or some combination of factors. Understanding this is the first step to improvement.
  • Explore your options: Could tweaks to your current situation help? Consider asking for different tasks, requesting schedule flexibility, or setting clearer boundaries with colleagues. If adjustments aren’t possible, sometimes career counseling or a proactive job search can make a huge difference.
  • Growth mindset: If you’re staying in your current position for now, try re-framing it as a place to learn and grow. Can you build new skills, mentor others, or contribute to positive change within the company? A focus on continuous improvement can make even a difficult situation feel more empowering.

According to the American Psychological Association, long-term exposure to stress (often fueled by negativity) can contribute to health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.

If your workplace is truly toxic, don’t underestimate the toll that can take on your mental health. Sometimes the best strategy is to exit gracefully and look for a job that allows you to thrive.

Media & Social Media

The news, our endless social media feeds, and the shows we binge-watch can heavily impact our mood and mindset. Here’s how to make sure your media consumption serves you rather than bringing you down:

  • The Doomscroll Dilemma: Recognize that much of the news cycle focuses on negativity, conflict, and disaster. Be intentional about limiting your exposure to upsetting content, especially before bed or first thing in the morning.
  • Cultivate your social feeds: Remember, what you see on social media is rarely a true reflection of someone’s whole life. Take an honest look at the accounts you follow. Do they spark inspiration, make you laugh, or offer useful information? Or do they create feelings of negativity, inadequacy, or comparison? Curate your feeds to be a source of joy and good vibes!
  • Seek positive content: Balance out negativity by deliberately seeking out news stories, podcasts, books, or videos that uplift, inspire, or educate. Make this type of media a non-negotiable part of your routine.
  • Digital detoxes: Consider taking regular breaks from your devices to reconnect with the real world. This might mean a day unplugged, ‘no phone’ hours during dinner, or a quiet weekend away without relying on tech.
A woman following positive mindset content in social media

Spiritual Life

For many, spirituality provides a sense of meaning, purpose, and connection to something greater than themselves. While this section won’t focus on any specific religion, let’s discuss how nurturing your spiritual life can help combat negativity:

  • Connection and belonging: Whether through traditional forms of worship or individual practice, a sense of spiritual community can be incredibly valuable. Surround yourself with others who share your positive values and support your efforts towards self-improvement.
  • Mindfulness and presence: Many spiritual practices emphasize being fully present in the moment. This mindfulness can counter the mental clutter and ‘what ifs’ that contribute to a negative mindspace. Techniques like meditation, prayer, or spending time in nature can all provide an opportunity to re-center and find stillness.
  • Seeking a higher purpose: When we connect with something larger than ourselves, it helps put our daily challenges into perspective. A sense of purpose and meaning is a powerful buffer against negativity and fosters the resilience needed to bounce back from setbacks.
  • Forgiveness and self-compassion: Many spiritual traditions teach forgiveness (of others and ourselves) and the practice of loving-kindness. This emphasis helps move us away from dwelling on past hurts or engaging in relentless self-criticism – major causes of a negative inner state.

If the word “spiritual” doesn’t resonate with you, consider this section simply about fostering connection, mindful awareness, and personal values. The concepts are valuable to everyone, regardless of faith or lack thereof.

How to Maintain a Positive Outlook

The journey towards positivity isn’t about eliminating every negative thought. It’s about building your mental strength and having tools to bounce back when life throws challenges your way. Here’s how:

Surround Yourself with Positivity

  • Choose your tribe wisely: We’ve talked about the impact of relationships, but actively surrounding yourself with positive people can’t be overstated. Invest in those who lift you up, provide encouragement, and offer a hopeful perspective.
  • Fill your tank: In addition to people, what else in your life fills you with joy? Schedule regular ‘doses’ of your happy activities: music, art, hobbies, being in nature – prioritize what lightens your mood.
  • Seek out inspiring content: We already discussed media awareness, but flip it! Find podcasts, stories, books, or documentaries that focus on solutions, overcoming adversity, and human kindness.

A Harvard study following men for over 70 years found that optimism was a major predictor of living a longer life.

The Ripple Effect of Positivity

  • Spread the sunshine: Acts of kindness are infectious! Paying someone a genuine compliment, offering a helping hand, or volunteering your time not only brightens someone else’s day but also creates a ripple effect of positivity for yourself.
  • Choose a gratitude ‘trigger’: Make a habit of expressing gratitude by picking a daily event as a cue. Perhaps with your first cup of coffee, as you lie in bed before sleep, or while driving home from work – let this become your time to note what you’re grateful for.

It’s a Journey, Not a Destination

  • Imperfection is OK: Some days will be tougher than others. Don’t fall into a trap of negativity just because one challenge arises. Forgive yourself, extend the same compassion you’d show a friend, and keep striving for progress.
  • Celebrate the small wins: Acknowledging even small victories builds momentum. Did you make that tough call you were dreading? Did you stick to your exercise plan? Notice and praise yourself for even small strides in the direction of your goals.
  • Focus on the growth: You aren’t the same person you were yesterday or a year ago. Recognize how you’ve changed for the better. Focusing on personal growth provides a positive trajectory, even when navigating difficulties.

Case Study: Applying Strategies to Remove Negativity from Your Life

Mia was in a slump. Work stress, a few unhealthy friendships, and an endless barrage of bad news left her feeling anxious and discouraged. She desperately wanted to feel optimistic and re-energized about her life, but didn’t know where to begin.

Mia’s Transformation

  1. Awareness & Mindset Shifts: Mia started by being more mindful of her own thoughts. She began journaling, noticing patterns of self-criticism and negativity. Using cognitive reframing techniques, she’d challenge those thoughts and practice replacing them with more neutral or supportive statements.
  2. Relational Boundaries: After reflecting on her social circle, Mia realized a few friends were consistently draining her energy with their constant complaining. She kindly created some distance, while dedicating more time to those who were supportive and positive.
  3. Environmental Uplift: Inspired by what she was learning, Mia made simple changes to her apartment. Decluttering created a more spacious feel, she introduced bright accents and a few houseplants, and focused on keeping things tidy.
  4. Tackling Career Burnout: At work, Mia had an open conversation with her supervisor about feeling overwhelmed. They worked together to re-prioritize tasks and set more realistic deadlines, which greatly eased her stress levels.
  5. Limiting News & Curating Online Spaces: Mia began checking headlines for essential updates only, then turning off the news. On social media, she unfollowed accounts that sparked envy or promoted negativity and instead connected with those focused on themes of self-growth and joy.
  6. Prioritizing Positivity: Mia carved out regular time for activities she loved – baking, going on nature walks, and listening to upbeat music. She adopted a simple gratitude practice, noting three things she appreciated each morning.

The Results

These gradual changes made a huge impact. Mia wasn’t suddenly immune to negative thoughts, but they didn’t dominate her mind. She had tools to counter them. Increased focus, better sleep, and improved relationships boosted her confidence.

More importantly, Mia saw how seemingly small decisions had a powerful cumulative effect on her overall happiness and sense of purpose.

Quiz Time!

Frecuently Asked Questions

Is it realistic to hope for a permanently positive outlook?

It’s more helpful to think of building ‘mental strength’ for better coping and resilience. Life brings a range of emotions – the goal isn’t to eliminate negativity, but to develop tools to manage it effectively.

If positive thinking is important, does that make someone with depression or anxiety ‘bad’ at it?

Absolutely not! Clinical depression or anxiety are medical conditions requiring professional guidance. Building a positive outlook is one potential tool, but should NEVER replace seeking appropriate help.

Can practicing these strategies change my life overnight?

Change takes time and consistency. Be patient with yourself and focus on daily progress, not perfection. The small daily actions you choose accumulate over time to create long-term change.

Is it selfish to distance myself from people who are always negative?

Not at all! Self-care includes protecting your emotional wellbeing. It’s often necessary to create a bit of space from those who consistently leave you feeling drained. Be open and honest, without feeling like you need to ‘fix’ others.

Is it OK to have days where I feel negative?

Absolutely! We’re human beings, not robots programmed for constant cheerfulness. Allow yourself the full range of emotions, then strive to get back on track with your positive habits. It’s about choosing not to let negativity become your default state.

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