Your Surroundings Affect You More Than You Might Think
Have you heard the saying “your vibe attracts your tribe”? The idea is that your attitude, beliefs, outlook, and demeanor can help attract like-minded people and opportunities and manifest them into your life. By consistently thinking and acting in a way that is empowering, upbeat, and optimistic, you can naturally bring more healthy, upbeat, and optimistic people into your life because they will connect with and gravitate toward your energy.
It turns out that the opposite is true, too: the people and things you surround yourself with can end up affecting your “vibe” in a big way. The toxic family member who belittles your dietary preferences or insults your chosen life partner, the fair-weather friend who only calls when she needs your help with something, the boss who micromanages and makes you feel incompetent on a daily basis - these people drain us of our energy and joy.
How to Overcome Negative Energy to Live Your Healthiest Life
Even “positive,” uplifting people who have unhealthy habits can influence us in not so healthy ways. For example, one study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that if your friend smokes, you’re 61% more likely to be a smoker yourself - and even if your friend’s friend smokes, you’re still 29% more likely to smoke. The same study found that if one of your friends becomes obese, you’re 45% more likely to gain weight over the next 2-4 years. The solution, of course, isn’t to rid our lives of anyone whose habits don’t align with our goals. Perfection isn’t real, and it’s unfair to expect our loved ones to be perfect role models of health and wellness - especially for our own sake.
Instead, the solution is to become aware of the influence others might have on us, and to be conscientious about who and what we’re allowing into our lives. It’s important to practice self-care, to set boundaries, and to recognize when we should cut ties with someone or something that no longer serves us on our journey.
Self-care has become a popular concept recently - but what exactly is it? On social media, self-care often looks like enjoying the scent of pretty candles, taking long and indulgent bubble baths, or even canceling plans with a friend to relax at home instead. Our modern idea of self-care can often border on, well, self-ish. It’s important to remember that self-care is not about buying a new salt lamp or a beautiful yoga mat, even if those items bring us joy and help our practice. It’s not about shirking responsibility in search of pleasure. Self-care is not a singular act but an ongoing process of being compassionate with ourselves and others. It’s about finding ways to show ourselves love, compassion, and understanding. This might include meditating, practicing mantras, keeping a gratitude journal, or meeting with a therapist or life coach. For some people, self-care means spending time with friends or alone in nature. Self-care can also mean drinking plenty of water, moving your body in ways that feel good, and eating nutritious foods. Self-care is unique to each person, and it can be enlightening (and fun!) - to discover what self-care looks like for you.
Setting Boundaries & Inviting Alignment
“Boundaries” have become another buzzy topic lately. Basically, setting healthy boundaries is the act of deciding what we will tolerate and what we won’t - and often, it means vocalizing those boundaries to the people around us. We can set boundaries with ourselves as well as with others - family members, friends, partners, bosses, colleagues, and even complete strangers! Setting healthy boundaries can help protect our emotional energy, improve our relationships with ourselves and others, and help us recognize when someone or something no longer belongs in our life. Here’s what healthy boundaries can sound like:
I need you to treat my partner with respect, or we will not be able to attend family dinners in the future.
I don’t drink alcohol, but I’d love a sparkling water if you have one!
I unplug from work email around 6pm; if you reach out to me after that time, I’ll get back with you the following day.
Thanks so much for the invitation to your barbeque. I don’t eat meat, but I’m happy to bring some veggie burgers to throw on the grill.
It’s important that we share the household chores in a way that’s fair to both of us.
Setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable and scary at first - but before long, you’ll realize that the people who argue with or repeatedly violate your boundaries might not be the people you want hanging around you. Setting boundaries is a great way to discover the people and things that make you feel empowered, happy, appreciated, and loved - as well as discovering the people and things that make you feel small, inadequate, or drained.
Do the Work and the Results Will Follow
By practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and recognizing the influence that others have on our well-being, we can set ourselves up to be mentally strong and become the best version of ourselves. If this sounds daunting, consider working with a lifestyle coach or other professional who can help you navigate the process. I’d be happy to connect and help you create a path forward, so you can live your most joy and peace-filled life!