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Signs of Negative Energy

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 24, 2020

What is Negative Energy?

We may not have the technology to measure it, but you probably know what negative energy feels like. It can come from negative people, from your surroundings, or from your own psyche. It can leave you exhausted both mentally and physically. Negative energy perpetuates itself, therefore, breeding more negativity. Learning to deal with negative energy is important for your health and happiness. 

Types of Negative Energy

You can't really deal with negative energy until you learn its sources. These three sources may be influencing your feelings of negativity:

Negative People

You have probably had the experience of feeling positive or negative energy from a person. Some researchers believe that such energy is real and measurable. Others believe humans pick up on anger, sadness, and other negative emotions that others project. We are good at reading those through verbal and nonverbal cues even when they aren't openly expressed. 

Negative Environments

You may have experienced feeling very comfortable in some environments and uncomfortable in others. Sometimes this is because of the experience that you associate with the place. You're unlikely to be as comfortable in the dentist's office as in a friend's home. But there is also evidence that the physical details of your surroundings can impact your mood. Clutter, for example, can create stress and even interfere with your sleep. Environments that make you uncomfortable may be described as having negative energy. 

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Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk is the flow of mostly unspoken thoughts that run through your head. Negative thoughts can harm your health and well-being. Positive thinkers are less susceptible to colds and have better cardiovascular health. They are less likely to be depressed and likely to live longer. Being a positive thinker doesn't mean that you ignore problems. Instead, being one can better your ability to deal with them. 

Signs of Negative Energy

If you have been experiencing negative energy in the form of people or places, or if you have been engaging in negative self-talk, you may experience these signs and symptoms:

You're Critical

Being critical of others is a way to blame your discomfort on someone or something else. Although criticizing others may make you feel better at first, it seldom feels good later, especially if you have been critical in front of an audience. 

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You Complain a Lot

Complaining occurs when we express the negative talk in our heads out loud. Complaining can become such an ingrained habit that you don't realize when you are doing it. When you complain, you are putting your negative energy out where it can affect others.

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Your Health Is Suffering

Negative emotions can cause stress, which in turn impacts your health. Stress can destroy your body's hormone balance, impair the immune system, and drain your positive brain chemicals. Negative energy in the form of poorly expressed anger can cause dysfunction of the heart and digestive system.  

You Can't Sleep

Repeated negative thoughts are associated with poor sleep quality. It's unclear whether the lack of sleep triggers negative thinking or whether the negative thoughts keep you awake. Maybe the combination of negative thoughts and poor sleep creates a vicious cycle in which each element makes the other worse.

Dealing With Negative Energy

Whether your negative energy comes from other people, your environment, or yourself, you can take these four steps to reduce it:

Deal With Negative People

You'll be happier if you associate with positive people, which may mean rethinking your social circle. It may not be possible or desirable to remove all the negative people from your life. However, you can find ways to maintain positive energy in their presence. One is to imagine an aura of positivity surrounding you like a shield.  Another is to use humor to create positive energy.

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Create a Positive Environment

Decluttering your home and workspace can get rid of negative energy. Hold on to useful things and the items you love, and get rid of the rest. When you are tempted to buy more stuff, remind yourself that things don't bring happiness. 

Work on Yourself

Experts have a long list of practices that can get rid of negative energy. Some of their suggestions include:

You might find value in meditation or a mindfulness practice. One study found that being mindful can make mundane tasks like dishwashing into positive experiences. Whether or not you meditate, repeating a calming mantra can keep your positive energy flowing.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Mental Wellness Association: "Staying Healthy."

American Psychological Association: "Reading Facial Expressions of Emotion."

BMED Report: "Human Energy Fields And Their Positive (Or Negative) Social And Emotional Influence."

Jung Shim: "How to Clear Negative Energy Out of Your Life."

Mayo Clinic: "How decluttering your space could make you healthier and happier."

Mayo Clinic: "Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress."

Mindfulness: "Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice."

National Sleep Foundation: “Sleep and Stress.”

PsychCentral: "How to Protect Yourself From Others' Negative Energy."

University of Minnesota:  "How Do Thoughts and Emotions Affect Health?"

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