Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA - 40

40

DIY

How to Set
Boundaries
Without Guilt
HOW TO

Deal with
Negative People
WE ALL HAVE THAT ONE FRIEND-AND TOO
MANY ADVERSE ENCOUNTERS WITH SOMEONE
CAN HURT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
BY CARRIE SCHEDLER

What makes someone a
"negative person"?
On one hand, it could
be someone who's just a chronic
complainer. In more extreme cases,
it could be someone whose constant pessimism is part of a larger
psychological concern-anything
from control issues to pathological narcissism.
The one thing these various types
of negative people have in common?
They're often entirely unaware of
how their behavior comes off or
influences others.
Luckily, Kesha Burch, PhD, a therapist and member of the American
Counseling Association, has several
strategies for making sure you don't
get swept up in the wave of negativity.

Know when you're hitting
your limits.

You can probably tolerate your
chronically dissatisfied sister's rants
on an occasional basis, but for your
SPRING 2020 VIM & VIGOR

own sanity, it's best to know when
she's starting to get to you.
"When you recognize you're
constantly crabby around them,
or if you feel like you're starting to
behave in ways that don't feel like
yourself, that's when you know,"
Burch says. Once you start to notice
warning signs of becoming overwhelmed, it's OK to take a break-
gracefully exit the conversation,
hang up the phone or tell her you'll
text her back later.

Recognize you can't fix a
negative person's problems.

"You don't have to take people's issues
on as your personal projects," Burch
says. Rather than feel obligated to
help solve issues every time your
co-worker comes to you with a gripe
about your supervisor, you can simply say: "Yeah, that really stinks," and
leave it at that-it's a way of showing
support without getting emotionally entangled.

It sounds nice to step away
from toxic types, but it can
be hard to do. Therapist
Kesha Burch, PhD, a member
of the American Counseling
Association, likes to tell her
clients that shame or fear is
often a passing feeling rather
than a permanent state, and
sitting with the discomfort can
be restorative. Here's how she
likes to help the process along.

TAKE TIME FOR SELFCARE. A long walk, a soothing

bath, a few breaks for deep
breaths during the day-
whatever you need to do to
give yourself a break from
draining interactions, do it.
"This is the time to be really
generous with yourself," she
says. And seek out the relationships that do make you
feel energized and valued.

ENLIST PROFESSIONAL
HELP. Do you have a history of

attracting judgmental people
who cause you distress? It
may be time to seek help from
a counselor or other mental
health professional. "They
can help you strategize how
to deal with problems," Burch
says, "as well as look at that
tendency to get drawn in."

A Quick
Stress
Reliever

To keep your stress in check,
listen to a meditation audio
recording led by a UVA
mindfulness expert. Tracks
range from five to 22 minutes and can be found at
uvahealth.com/meditate.
UVA Mindfulness Center
also offers classes to help
you develop skills to overcome stress.


http://www.uvahealth.com/meditate

Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA

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Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA - 2
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