Let’s face it, in relationships it’s sometimes difficult to not be impacted by our partner’s negative mood. A simple look, tone of voice, or just their demeanor can throw you into a negative spiral, leaving both of you in a huff. If this sounds remotely familiar to you, there are ways to stay positive so you don’t get sucked into your partner’s spiral of negativity.
You CAN Stay Positive Even When Your Partner Isn’t
1) Take responsibility
If you were in a good mood and one look or snide remark from your partner completely shifted your emotion, that’s on you. Too often we blame others for making us unhappy or angry. While people can do and say something to try and ruin our day, by reacting negatively, we’re actually letting them. I know this may be tough to sallow, but you’re the only one who is responsible for your feelings. You control whether or not you’re happy, that job doesn’t fall on anyone else.
Breathing helps us stay present in situations of high emotion. Slow, steady belly breaths will help regulate you so you are able to think rationally, as opposed to speaking from emotion. Staying logical will help you decide how to most effectively handle the situation. Try breathing instead of becoming instantly upset and letting that mood influence the remainder of your day.
3) Cultivate your mindfulness skills
Slowing the situation down can help you stay present instead of emotionally responding to others. When you are able to slow down your thought process and understand why you are emotionally reacting to your partner or absorbing his or her emotion like a sponge, you will be able to connect while still managing your own emotions. Next time you find yourself reacting or taking on another’s emotion, ask yourself why? What is coming up for you? The more you are able to understand your thoughts and feelings, the easier it will be for you to stay connected while regulating your own emotions.
4) Create a little separation
If you are noticing that your partner’s negative mood has altered your mood, create some space. Let your partner know you are there if he or she needs you then leave the room. Try something as simple as, “It seems you’re having a rough day and I’m here if you need me. However, I want to respect that you might need some space to process.” Giving both you and your partner a little space will hopefully help you control your emotions and help your partner process his or her feelings without using you as a verbal target.
5) Don’t take it too personally
In the moment, don’t take it personally if your partner just took his or her bad day out on you. If you can remind yourself that your partner is responsible for his or her own feelings, it makes it a little easier to not get too upset. However, it is okay for you to share you’re feelings. If you feel as though your partner is being rude, note certain behaviors and discuss them later. I like to use “I” statements during these conversations to remove the undertones of blame.
6) Change your thoughts
You can change your attitude by changing your thoughts. If you notice you’re getting sucked into a negative mood because you’re partner is in a negative headspace, change your thoughts. Try to understand why your partner is upset without taking on blame. In doing so, you won’t become so defensive.
Don’t Get Sucked In
Next time you feel yourself getting sucked in, try practicing these tips. Breathing and staying present will help you in the moment. When you’re able to give yourself space, change your thoughts so you aren’t taking things too personally. If those fail, try to engage in an activity you enjoy so you are able to stay positive and emotionally regulated