Creating a positive environment makes finding happiness much easier. Having a positive mindset is tough to do when you are in an environment that is toxic or makes you unhappy. You can still find your way to success in such an environment, but changing your surroundings to be happier and more positive will make reaching success easier.
The Link Between a Happy Environment and Achievement
Our environment impacts our physical and mental health. When you spend time in a toxic environment, whether that’s at work or at home, it can lead to a variety of issues, such as lack of motivation, depression, illness, and chronic stress. Being surrounded by negativity can cause all of these negative consequences.
Negativity breeds negativity. Trying to build a positive mindset in such an environment is more than challenging. It’s like running into a brick wall with the hope of breaking through. The problem is, hope is rarely enough, and it becomes increasingly difficult to think positively.
If you are in a happy environment, though, your mental health vastly improves. It’s easier to be motivated and hopeful. Even when you are faced with obstacles, you are more likely to be able to face them and work around them in a happy environment. You feel loved and supported, so it’s easier to hold onto your positivity. This, in turn, makes it easier to face challenges and find the success you’re working toward.
It's a cycle either way – you get to choose whether you want to be stuck in a negativity spiral or a positivity/success loop. Creating a positive environment will help you achieve that success loop.
Creating a Positive Environment
Sure, Shannyn, just put yourself in a happy place. I get it. It’s super easy for me to say these things. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve been there. Sometimes, I still am. I know what it is to live in a toxic environment and not know how to get out. (In fact, right now, I’m trying to figure out how to make some major life changes). So I’m not going to just tell you to smile and make it happen.
But you have to be willing to make some changes and put the work in to make it happen. You can’t control other people or how they respond. You can only control your emotions and responses.
How do you go about changing your environment? One step at a time, babe.
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Remove what drains you
I’m going to jump right out there and start with the big one. You need to get rid of the people and things that bring you down. If a person drains your energy and causes you to feel unhappy—even if they’re not being mean to you—let them go.
It doesn’t have to be a huge production where you make a thing out of it. Choose to spend less time with them. If your mom does nothing but complain every time you talk to her, don’t call her every day. You don’t have to cut her from your life, but you can choose when you speak to her. You can choose to listen at those times when you have the energy to combat her negativity.
If, however, you have someone who is actively toxic—they go out of their way to make you feel bad, feel less than you should—cutting them out of your life can be incredibly freeing. It’s not easy, though, and I’m not trying to make light of it. But recognizing that their shit and their negativity is NOT your problem? Whew! It lifts such a weight off you.
When you think about the things that drain your positive energy, you might discover that it’s not a person, but a thing or event. Maybe scrolling social media makes you hate your body or feel a sense of doom. If you allow the negativity to swallow you, you’ll struggle to hold onto your positivity.
Creating a positive environment, and keeping a positive mindset, is much more difficult if you can’t give yourself distance from the things that bring your down.
Find like-minded people
Once you remove the negative people and things in your life that drain you and cause stress, it’s time to replace them with positive things. Find other people who are positive and have a positive impact on you.
When you’re surrounded by positive people, it is easier to remain positive yourself. Developing a positive mindset happens almost naturally because we often adopt the habits of those around us.
How do you find these people? Think about those in your life who make you happy. When you spend time with them, they lift your spirits and you leave the interaction feeling lighter. Connect with them more often. You can also expand your circle of people by looking outside your comfort zone and making new friends.
Consume media that inspires you. Whether it’s videos on social media, posts on Facebook, or a nonfiction book, when you feel inspired you are happier. Being happier will push you toward your goals.
It doesn’t have to be reading, either. You can listen to podcasts or watch TED talks. Even having a book of inspiring or motivational quotes can have a positive impact. Use them in creating a positive environment.
Reminders to build routines and habits
Building positive habits takes time. Executive dysfunction makes it harder because you easily forget to do the things to build the habit. Your bad habits feel comfortable and you slide into them without thought.
When I’m working with a client, we use reminders for EVERYTHING. At first, it might seem silly to have a bunch of alarms set on your phone, but it works. I suggest that you use different sounds for different activities, though. If you only use the same default sound, it becomes easier to ignore.
Eventually, you won’t need the reminders. You will start doing it on your own, but that takes time. Be patient.
You need to take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings. You can’t control how other people behave or treat you, but you can control how you react. You decide how their actions affect you. When you take control of these things, it’s easier to let go of the negativity and focus on happiness.
If you struggle with accountability, you might want to get an accountability partner. Think of this like having a study buddy when you were in school. You push and motivate each other. You help each other stay on track toward your goals.
Give of yourself
Being kind to others and volunteering are ways to make ourselves feel happier. Obviously, that’s not the reason to be kind to someone or volunteer your time, but it is a beneficial byproduct. Giving back makes us feel good because we are making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Studies have shown that people who practice kindness are happier and have more energy. Kindness doesn’t cost anything but is beneficial to both the giver and the recipient. When you are trying to create a positive environment, look for ways to be kind to someone else. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a huge difference in someone’s day, so don’t worry about not doing something big enough.
Go with the flow
Sometimes, I write these things and then I feel totally called out. Yes, my name is Shannyn and I have control issues. This advice also seems to go against so much of what I’ve been talking about here—building routines and habits helps create less chaos in your life.
However, your routines can’t be so strict that you can never take a detour. If you don’t allow yourself to do some things spontaneously, you might miss out on some great moments and then you’ll have regrets. The idea of having routines is to make your life go smoother. If you’re stressed about following your routines without deviation, it adds stress, which defeats the purpose.
As much as we like to think we can control everything, life is unpredictable. If you allow yourself to go with the flow, changes won’t stress you out and ruin your day.
Creating a positive environment is one way to help build a positive mindset. Surrounding ourselves with things that make us happy will allow us to see the positivity around us. When we are happier, we feel like our goals are achievable. Take stock of your life and your environment and find ways to infuse happiness so that you can enter a success loop.