Spring Cleaning: The Negativity Detox

3 Minutes Read

screamandshoutIt feels good to get rid of all the stuff cluttering your space doesn't it? If you missed the first part of this series on spring cleaning your whole life, check out the tools I have been using to make my living and work space more harmonious.

The next major clean up job perfect for spring is a negativity detox. 

Now, let's be honest. It would be impossible to live a life where you never encounter negativity. Some days you will find yourself in a bad mood. Other days a friend or family member will be suffering. I am not suggesting you deny when something upsets you or you have to deal with a primarily negative situation. As my friend Bre Nourse says "Feel Your F@$king Feelings".

The negativity purge I am suggesting aims to get rid of the junk that gets through your filters and creates low grade stress and anxiety. We all have that "friend" on Facebook who constantly posts about their relationship problems, doom and gloom conspiracy theories or complains about how foamy their latte is (Okay, I admit that last one is a scene from Zoolander...but you know the people).

If left unchecked, social media news feeds are a hotbed of negative commentary. Personally, I find keeping up with my chosen world news outlets uses up my tolerance for the harder to take stories in our world. There are handy little buttons like "Unfollow" or "Unfriend" that can weed out the complainers leaving your online world filled with the kind of things we all want to see....cat videos.

Purging your social channels of negativity however, is child's play compared to what I will suggest next. To make it very clear take a moment to write down the following:

  • Who is the most optimistic and inspired person in your life?
  • What makes them that way? Do they have a special practice or outlook? (If you don't know, ask them and find out)
  • How do you feel when you are around them?
  • Who is the most negative person in your life?
  • What makes them that way? Do you know of a certain experience that allowed them to draw negative conclusions about the world?
  • How do you feel when you are around them?

If these two people are the extremes of the spectrum, where do most of your close friends and family members (i.e. the people you probably spend the most time with) fall?

I recently gave this exercise to the members of The Expansion Experiment and the insight that came to many of the participants was that they spend more time around the negative people on the spectrum than they thought. 

A few years ago, I did a conscious clean up of my relationships -namely my friendships. I started to back away from people who only reached out when they had a problem or wanted something from me (yet were nowhere to be found when I needed support). I stopped giving my time to people who constantly cut down their other friends behind their backs. Not surprisingly, the less time I spent around negative people, the less negative my own thoughts and behaviors became.

If that doesn't inspire you to do a negativity purge, let me tell you the best thing that happened when I finally let go of the stressful relationships in my life.


I had more time and energy for my positive and inspiring friends! 

Trust me when I say, you only need a few people in your life who will be there to celebrate the good, help during rough patches and snap you out of useless negativity. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by those people you will feel more positive and inspired and everyone you meet will benefit from that.

The bottom line. You pick up things from the people you spend your time with. Maybe some of you reading this are living saints and are completely unaffected by negativity. While I wish I had that superpower, I do not. Yoga and meditation are helpful ways to transform and see through negativity but if you still working on it like I am, a negativity detox may be just what you need for a more positive outlook.

What is your biggest challenge with reducing negativity in your life? Share in the comments below.

Looking for a head start in purging negativity in your world? Join Jeff Carreira and me on May 9th @ De La Sol Yoga Waterdown for a day-long Urban Meditation and Yoga Retreat.