How to Keep Your Mind Where You Want It to Be

Photo of Frederick Claflin

By Liz Scala

I had another email sent to me from a nurse in response to one of my articles.  Her comments struck me; “I try to push out negative thoughts instead of letting them fester – that’s hard.  I find I am sucked into conversations with coworkers about our negative experiences and I try to tell them ‘Let’s replace these discussions with the good, positive ones instead’.”  

Do you ever struggle with this?  You are doing your best to be upbeat but someone at work is always trying to drag you down.  A nasty comment here, some gossip there, and before you know it you are roped into an all out complaint session! 

Since I’ve started on my journey of healing, at times, I feel like an outsider looking in on the “cool” group.  I feel as if I am strange or weird.  I’ve been through many life changes.  I quit my job and began working with topics I was more passionate about.  I re-found exercise and healthy eating.  I practice stress reduction techniques.  I am happier and healthier than I have been in a long while; and my thoughts and feelings reflect that!  However, it is not always easy.  At times I feel very alone.

One afternoon I was hosting a barbecue/meeting for my Nurse Practice committee.  Co-workers were sitting outside on my patio while I was in and out preparing food and making sure things went smoothly.  I noticed when I sat down with them I started to feel fed up and irritable.  They were constantly complaining, gossiping, and talking negatively.  They were going on and on about everything that was wrong with our unit.  I couldn’t stand it.  I then realized amidst my life changes and my progression towards healing; I was leaving behind those who were still where I used to be.

This happens often.  I notice the scowls on people’s faces, bad moods, and negative energy.  I hear the complaints, gossip, and groaning.  I wonder, “Is it really that bad out there?”  My answer is, and continues to be, NO.  There is so much beauty in the world.  Nature is an awesome and amazing gift.  Children play and babies laugh and smile.  Volunteers and service people give of themselves unconditionally.  We are fortunate to have what we have and should reflect on this every day.  We should be grateful for our blessings and keep our minds upbeat and positive.  Easier said than done; right?

Here are 7 Tools I suggest to keep Your Mind Where You Want It to Be:

  • Meditate:  Make it your practice to take some time each day to sit quietly with yourself.  Observe your thoughts and let them go.  Even 5 minutes is worth it.  You may not notice any changes immediately, but slowly things will shift for you.


  • Breathe: When you are around negative people take a moment to focus and breathe.  Take a slow, deep breath in and out through your nose. Clear your mind and body.  Fresh air will slow you down and replenish your cells.  Exhale out all the negativity as you exhale your breath.


  • Excuse Yourself: Sometimes you just have to get up and get away from the conversation.  Take a couple of moments to yourself or splash some water on your face.  Then come back and try again.


  • Say Something: This is tricky and may take practice.  If you find yourself around a lot of negativity and gossip see if you can shift the conversation by speaking up.  Mention an objective observation; “My, we sure are complaining a lot today. Let’s see if we can focus on each other’s strengths for a few minutes.”


  • Repeat An Affirmation: If you are unable to speak up or remove yourself from the situation; try bringing a mantra to mind.  Try something like, “I am confident in the joys of life to see me through.”


  • Learn From the Group: Know that each experience you have in life you are meant to have.  Every part of your journey only makes you stronger.  Each conversation or group you are involved in is teaching you something.  Maybe they are teaching you patience!


  • Change Your Scenery: Find a new group to be around.  Sure, those people you work with or have known all of your life will always be there.  But join a club, volunteer group, or work association where people are involved in things you like to do, who are positive people, and who are on their own healing journey. 


Editor’s Note: Liz Scala writes about Health and Wellness twice a month for AMSDaily. You can visit her newly designed blog at Living Sublime Wellness to read more on these topics.  Subscribe to her website to get your free daily meditation audio and a journal gift!


  1. Thank you. Like you suggest, healing is a journey we are on. Every moment of our life is an opportunity. Blessings on your journey always, Erin, Bella Bleue

  2. AlohaKarina says:

    I worked in a place one time where there was a lot of negativity. After a while I stopped eating in the lunchroom–the people were nice individually, but when they got together there was gossiping and negativity. I was new so I didn’t know anyone, but I got tired of it all the same. Once I started to eat at my desk instead, my boss thought I had “checked out” and was no longer interested in being part of the team. Thankfully it was a short-term position, so I didn’t have to go back when it was done.

    Sadly, the boss never thought well of me after that. Too bad I couldn’t tell her the reason I “checked out” was because everyone was sniping about how awful SHE was!! :P

    I can’t stand the negativity either…that’s why I started my own blog, the Positive Page. :)

    Good for you for focusing on the good. So many people forget to do that.


  3. jakekarlins says:

    Good one! Always happy to see people promoting meditation. thanks Jake

  4. stuartarts says:

    This is all great advice. New studies show that we have only 7 units of attention. If we use them all up with negative content we send a powerful message to our Amygdala, that reacts with freezing the frontal lobe from making decisions and focusing, because it’s busy getting ready for fight , flight, or freeze. Use your 7 units of attention on positive things and your Amygdala will keep out of your way. :)

  5. June says:

    Great post. I just wrote about something similar. Scott Peck called the spiritual journey, “The Road Less Traveled” and people not on that path don’t understand it. But it’s a joy to find people if like minds and turn to them when that feeling of loneliness starts to seep in. Thank you for being one of those Places to turn.

  6. wonderful, i, too, ama helath professional on a similar type of journey. Great advice for those colleagues of mine that are..well, crusty old sour pusses!!! Thanks!

  7. Reblogged this on .

  8. Hi Liz,
    The good news is that we have ‘choice’…..although at times very difficult to get away from the negativity, we are able to choose to do so…for our own betterment. Thankyou for sharing this story.
    be good to yourself

  9. Great post…thanks. Encouraging and inspirational.

  10. Thanks Ann Marquette! Appreciate you stopping by and reading!!
    Coach Scala

  11. Tya Khan says:

    Thank you for sharing the tips :) i think we all at one point or another go through such groups in our lives and it is very important for all of us to know how to deal with such situations if we are caught up in any. Like for me mostly its certain friends in my regular hangout group who can at times turn all weird and start complaining and eventually they just suck you down, i have now started to tell them politely that you dont have to be so negative, every thing can eventually work out and sorted out. just keep a positive thinking and every thing will shape up for your betterment. i know they dont like me pointing it out but i feel they need to know that they are doing this if its unconsciously done, like most people dont realize it
    your post has definitely sent its positivity across :)
    Thank you

    • stuartarts says:

      Sadly, a lot of people moan and complain as a passive way to excuse their own inaction. They need a ‘take responsibility for themselves’ check. In my experience, I’ve had to distance myself from some energy vampires in my life in order to remain positive. hard, but necessary. :-/

  12. ram0ram says:

    Reblogged this on ram0ram note book.

  13. This kind of negativity is sooo common – it often strikes me as a manifestation of people’s social anxiety or stress levels. The ironic thing is that if people actually talked positively and with humor, there’d be less stress and social anxiety created. thanks for your post!

  14. Wonderful Clouds!

  15. Great advice. Meditating for me has been incredibly helpful. Inspiring others helps me stay positive, too. Thanks for all these lovely posts.

  16. handstitch says:

    Promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate. Great post.

  17. haroldmillet says:

    These suggestions are truly the ones we need to overcoming those feelings. Practice, practice and practice!

  18. living4bliss says:

    My extended family is like this. I had to move 1500 miles away just to recover my bliss. It wears you out!!!

  19. This is great! An associate shared this with me this morning on Facebook. Impressive.

  20. Agnus Meares says:

    I saw someone talking about this on Tumblr and it linked to

  21. Prachi says:

    This post made me T.H.I.N.K especially the 5th paragraph. :D

  22. AMSDaily says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this great post in your site!


  1. [...] Inspirational: I think we could all use a reminder to relax and stay positive, even when work, stress, and negative people around us bring us down, so I found this blog post an interesting read- How to Keep Your Mind Where You Want It to Be [...]

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