The external environment we surround ourselves in, the one in which we, as a human, live and operate on a day to day basis is ridiculously important to be a ) be aware of and b) aim to make a positive one. Why? Our environment has huge potential to have a considerate impact on our mood and our outlook on our life and the world around us.

The tips we see on Instagram quotes and mini self-help books to  ‘surround yourself with positivity, you’ll start to feel the benefits’, it may seem airy-fairy, wishy-washy and possibly unrealistic, however I implore you to investigate and consider the idea of doing exactly that.

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Hopefully, at the end of this piece, the concept of generating a positive approach to your life both mentally and physically will seem a worthwhile endeavor.

The word Positivity has an idealistic undertone, it is timeworn and has lost its precision. In an attempt to rectify its threadbare status; here are some synonyms** for the P word. Positive aka; constructive, practical, useful, pragmatic, productive, helpful, worthwhile, beneficial, effective.

I was blessed to work for a company that had ‘good vibes’, my colleagues were positive, upbeat, fun-loving, interesting folk. Don’t get me wrong they were human ( and hopefully they still are!). Coming into work delusionally tired, sometimes hungover, possibly upset over a recent fight with a partner or stressed over exam deadlines. All in all though? A very positive bunch. On top of this, there was a culture of general good vibe spreading. General support in helping each other out throughout the workday was encouraged. Mutual respect and appreciation was part and parcel of our day. We played good music ( I am aware that not all workplaces offer this privilege), and we talked about interesting and positive things, we spoke openly, being real and honest. After working there for a while, my friends from outside work, who knew me well, noticed a difference in my general demeanor. I was happier!. I hadn’t won the lottery or changed my life, I was just surrounded by positivity for most of the week.

From this experience, I began to notice where this general happy demeanor did not exist in my life and, with thought, started to identify why it didn’t exist. It was very easy for me to notice that there were certain relationships I was in and particular behaviors or actions that I was engaging in, that were not only stopping me from feeling positive, but they were also actually damaging my mental and emotional health.

I now know what environments are good for me and what environments are best avoided when possible, what conversations are healthy to engage in and what behaviors I can do to benefit my daily emotional wellness.

What we surround ourselves with, the situations we find ourselves in, the people we are spending 80% of our time with, what we spend our time thinking about, reading and listening to. All of these have an impact on our view on ourselves, our life and the world around us.

If we are surrounded by negativity in work, at home or in social situations, inevitably, we are

That negativity is going to start spilling into our lives in ways that we are not even aware of.

We are always going to meet people whos natural outlook and conduct is to complain, moan, bitch and just generally put forward their own unpleasant interpretation of the world. Let me explain the ways!

Sunny day?, there will be someone who says ‘It will probably rain tomorrow’.

Boss buys the office ice cream?; ‘ I bet someone is getting the sack’

And my pet peeve! Ireland is three points down in the first 15 minutes of a rugby match and someone says ‘It’s all over’. (I am even writing this with gritted teeth because ‘No Patrick it is not all over there is still 65 minutes match time left so calm down!!!).

Daily, we will meet people who are down talking life, from the weather to the poor service they got in a bar last week. We can’t control other people’s behaviors but we can choose how we react to them. Daily, there are bad news headlines and tragic stories being discussed on the radio. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we hide away from the realities of the world around us!. It is important to be conscious and aware. We can choose how much time we spend reading the papers and listening to the news and choose to balance the day out!.

In the workplace or with friends, try to encourage positive conversation, instead of indulging the bitching/complaining session, steer onto a, dare I say it, more positive topic. Read the news, be aware, be knowledgeable about it, heck even have a conversation with your partner about how you can start using less plastic in your daily shop! (saving the planet is definitely cool and dare I say ‘positive’ activity to be taking part in). After that, move on with your day. If you find yourself reading obituaries at 7 am before work and discussing them on your break, I suggest you revisit your exposure to negative news!

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