Do You Soak Up Negativity Like a Sponge?

negativity stressed out man

Are you attracting negativity?

The environment influences your emotions. In a negative atmosphere, you’re likely to feel the destructive vibrations broadcast, even if you aren’t aware at the time.

Negativity directly impacts your mood, but you aren’t in charge of your surroundings, so how can you control your temperament? You can learn how not to soak up pessimism and woe.

How to develop a watertight coat

If you absorb negativity, you take on people’s problems as though they are yours and cope badly because you are stressed. Pessimistic friends get you down, and bad news on the TV can ruin your day and keep you awake at night.

Needy people love you since you don’t just listen to their pain, you take some of it away with you and leave them lighter. You, though, grow heavy with the burden of distress. Your genuine kindness is admirable, but you’re helping folks in a way that’s detrimental to your health.

Related: 10 simple ways I fight anxiety at night

Stress makes you ill and blue. The answer is to set boundaries so people’s problems bounce off you rather than soaking into your psyche.

negative people


If you absorb negativity, you can be sure your boundaries are weak or non-existent. You easily become a toxic waste ground for your family and friend’s troubles. Sometimes you know you take on too many problems, but your wish to help or need to be liked drives you to let people offload.

On these occasions your intuition speaks. It says you are about to damage yourself and soak up negativity. Your stomach flutters or groans, your throat tightens and gets dry, and you have a sense of foreboding. These are just a few of the physical signs your psyche provides when it’s wise to back off from a situation.

Ask yourself whether the emotional injuries and ill-health you gain from not setting boundaries are acceptable to you. Also, do people appreciate your help? Do they treat you with respect and offer you consideration in return?

If not, you aren’t enjoying reciprocal relationships and it’s time to decide what you won’t put up with anymore. Know your boundaries and be firm when people want you to extend your limits.


Once you understand your limitations, the next step is to recognize your intuitive wisdom. When people offload or ask too much, notice physical and emotional signs that indicate you’re at the edge of a boundary.

Note them silently as they occur, but also jot them in a journal to refer to later. Your chest might become tight, your inner voice might say “no,” or you may experience different symptoms of unease. Recognize these are warning signs and pay heed. At such a point, stop being a great listener or agreeing to do things you don’t want to do. Gain space and freedom by politely leaving or changing the subject.

You might benefit from practicing not letting people unburden their angst in your direction. Use your imagination to run through potential scenarios when your boundaries are pushed. What will you say or do to find relief when the scenario happens in real life? Picture, and hear, your imaginary self-acting positively and feel the relief of standing up for your welfare.


Sometimes, you can’t get away from negativity. If your boss is a tyrant, you live with a narcissist, or you must be with difficult people for another reason, there’s not always the option to leave or disengage.

On these occasions, be mindful of your objective not to soak up negativity. Remember no one can force their anxiety on you. They might offer it to you, but it’s up to you whether you accept it or leave it alone. Tell yourself you can maintain the mood you prefer and take calming breaths to support your intention.

If it helps, picture yourself in a cocoon of light that shields you from negativity and see stress bounce off you. You’ll be so busy with your visualization you won’t tune into negativity.

Don’t worry that protecting yourself by setting boundaries and stepping away from negativity harms people since it might do the opposite. Not only will self-care help you, but it may assist other people in learning to manage their problems rather than dump them on well-meaning victims.

About MJ Duff 44 Articles
Marie-Jones Duff is a Los Angeles based freelance multimedia journalist and frequent traveler with a fondness for all things bizarre and nerdy. Look for posts that focus on everything from men's fashion to science.