By Dr. Elaine Ducharme

I recently saw a great quote on Facebook. It said:

“Before you step onto 2018, be sure to cancel your subscription to other people’s drama and negativity.”

I love this. How often do you get dragged into other people’s drama? And how many times have you let yourself get sucked into the negativity around you? I see this happening to people at their work and at home. Some people even seem to thrive on this stuff. I have had people tell me they are uncomfortable when things are going well. Some of these individuals even try to create drama where none exists.

This type of behavior is relatively common in individuals who grew up in homes that were chaotic. When one gets used to trauma and abuse or an alcoholic environment where one doesn’t know what might happen at any given time, relative calm leaves them feeling a bit unsafe and wondering just when something bad will happen. So, they make it happen. In some ways it helps them feel they have some control.

Unfortunately, this feeling doesn’t last and the individual is left living in negativity, drama and even chaos. So, how can someone make changes and leave other people’s drama and negativity behind?

1. First identify if you are the type of person that either gets caught up in other peoples negative behaviors or if you actually create a lot of your own drama. Make a note of when this occurs. Just being aware of your own behavior can help you make a change.

2. Take an inventory of your friends and family. Think of who brings you joy and who brings you down. And then work to spend more time with those who bring you joy.

3. Set limits. If someone constantly is complaining to you, ask them if they want to work on discussing a solution. If they don’t, or just continue to complain, change the subject or leave the situation. Stating simply that you have to go to the bathroom or are late for an appointment are easy ways to get away from uncomfortable situations.

4. Be mindful of where you have control…you can’t change anyone else. So, spend your time thinking about what you can do to make your own like more positive.

5. Remember you can choose how you respond to any given situation. So, meditate and embrace positivity.

6. Take care of yourself. Eat well, get some exercise, and routinely allow yourself to take a warm bath or listen to your favorite music. Self care not only helps us survive, but helps us thrive.
7. If these techniques don’t help you make the changes you want, talk to a psychologist. The side effects are a better life!

I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018!

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