Free mini art print with every $50 you spend in the shop! Free mini art print with every $50 you spend in the shop!

11 Ways to Keep Your Peace in a Toxic Environment

11 Ways to Keep Your Peace in a Toxic Environment

Sometimes your positive energy can spread like wildfire and inspire the same in others, but so many times, that's not the case. When you're stuck in a toxic environment, how do you keep YOUR peace? It's not easy. But these 11 ideas can help make it easier.

11 Ideas to Keep Your Peace in a Toxic Environment

1. Send positive energy from a distance.

You can do this before you go into a situation, and let your blessings/hopefulness lead the way. Before you walk into the room or conversation, imagine putting on a love cloak and let your energy roll out like a red carpet ahead of you. Whatever you walk into, visualize your energy going before you, protecting you, guiding you.

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

2. Stop fighting the situation; see it with another perspective.

When you turn it into a battle, you don’t win because you’re directly engaged with the toxicity. You're supporting what you're giving your attention to. Transform that energy of fighting into something more helpful.

Here are a few ways you could do that:

  • Focus on how understanding you can be. Listen to what they're saying. Go deeper. Why might they feel that way? What could've happened in their life that gives them that perspective? Try to understand, nothing more, nothing less.
  • See this as a larger message or lesson. What can you learn from this? Who are you without this situation, event, label? Where are your priorities (and thoughts) right now? How might you be contributing your energy to the communal energy pool, and can you contribute something new?
  • Honor what is, then focus on what could be. You can face reality without fighting it. Accept what is first, and then build a vision of what your reality would look and feel like if it were peaceful - focus on that.

You experience something new in the future by focusing on something different right now.

3. Make lists.

Make a list of the important things you want to accomplish today, what good things happened that you’re grateful for, and/or what you’re looking forward to. This can help you to feel “too preoccupied” with your own agenda to engage with the other person’s priorities.

“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.” – Robert J. Sawyer

4. Breathe it out.

Let your breathe be a tool you turn to for anything that threatens your peace.

In the figurative sense, get the thoughts and feelings that are inside of you out in the open. Opt into a mutual agreement with a friend, family member, or a notebook that lets you vent. Create your own support group, preferably outside of the toxic environment you're in.

Venting can save you from re-hashing the day’s events over and over again in your head.

A few suggestions to help you get your frustrations out without dragging others down (or fueling the toxicity):

  • End the “venting session” on a hopeful note.
  • Don’t analyze a problem without also contemplating a solution.
  • Imagine your breath and words carrying away the tension, so you can’t breathe it back in.
  • Set a timer with your friend or piece of paper, and get it all out within the allotted time. When the timer goes off, wrap it all up with a hopeful thought.

"When in doubt, say: I choose to see peace instead of this." – Gabby Bernstein

5. Ask, “How may I be of service?”

When you can’t take it anymore, it’s time to give.

What can you bring to this situation? What could you do that might uplift the energy, make someone smile, ease the tension, and make yourself feel good about what you’re capable of adding to this space?

6. Set up positivity triggers.

Identify what helps you release anger and stress, what makes you feel better. It could be something you do, something you read, something you think. Whenever you're in a toxic situation, turn to these as your "triggers," things that redirect you in a better-feeling direction.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Write self-empowering quotes on sticky notes. Post them around your work space, set them as alarms on your phone, or keep them tucked in your pocket for quick reference.
  • Look at a photograph that reminds you of someone you love, a favorite place to visit, or a peaceful moment. Be with that person now, and visit that place now, through this picture in your mind.
  • Talk to someone who makes you laugh.
  • Play a song that never fails to make you smile.
  • Dub an object (a crystal, cross, or souvenir of some sort) as your “protection” and carry it with you.
  • Use affirmations or mantras to reconnect with your own intentions (without getting sucked into the intentions of other people).

Here are a few affirmations you could use (out loud or in your head) when you need the extra support:

I am not at the mercy of my environment.

I honor the light in you that’s also in me.

I cancel my subscription to your issues. I am not subject to them, but may you be healed from them.

I choose peace instead.

7. Mind your practice.

This toxic place isn't your world. It's what's going on outside of you, but your true world is inside.

Consciously choose not to become a character in someone else’s plot. They have their practice, and you have yours. You're not responsible for what you see, only how you choose to see it: this is your practice.

8. Move your body.

When appropriate, spare the time for a quick pick-me-up: jumping jacks, pushups, a favorite yoga pose, a walk out in nature, something, anything, even if it's only for 10 seconds.

9. Pick up a hobby that helps you flow.

Explore ways to bring more flow into your life. This means you’re completely absorbed in an activity that challenges your skill level and demands all your attention. You might call it being "in the zone."

This could be anything from sports to poetry, fixing your car or playing a video game, working in the garden or cooking a meal.

It takes you away from the stressful situation and places it in the present moment. It inspires you and makes you more resilient, aware, capable of dealing with stress in a healthy way.

10. Promote what you love.

Be ultra sensitive to the words you use.

Are you using words that promote what you love, or are they highlighting what you don’t like?

Get clear about what you don’t want, and don’t focus on that any more than is necessary. Once you've vented, focus your attention on what you DO want. Fuel that instead. 10 seconds at a time is a good start.

When you focus your attention on something, you say to the universe: “More of this, please.”

“What you react to in others, you strengthen in yourself.” – Eckhart Tolle

11. Start a forgiveness practice.

When you're ready...

Forgiveness isn't usually a one-time thing. It's an evolving practice. And it's for you. When you forgive what's happening, you get to participate more fully in your own life, in what *you* care about.

. . .

Tell me:

Which of these practices could you use the most right now?

Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!

With love,


P.S. Wake up with joy, hope, and purpose beating in your heart every single morning. Get my book Morning Affirmations to help you feel, and live, the way *you* want to. No matter what's happening around you.

Comments on this post (12)

  • Dec 09, 2022

    I could use more mindfulness and asking myself what I can do in these moments to create peace. To remind myself that I am not blocked or stuck in my environment, it is my mind that makes me think so. That I need to nourish my inner world and peace. To continue my practices of self-reflection / introspection. To choose carefully how I speak to myself and to not focus on the negative or feeling stuck, but more on what I can do for myself and the positivities in the situation.

    — Samantha

  • Apr 02, 2022

    Having come to a shattering discovery that I have been living my life trying to please narcissists, have been experiencing nothing but scapegoating, gaslighting and guilt-tripping for the very things THEY have been doing, I have taken the first step towards recovering from some very deep scars indeed. With a little psychological aegis, intense retrospection, and soul-searching, which anyway I have been wont to engage in for years to earn the approval of the narcissists, I now know that this toxicity ends with me.
    Creating boundaries is a draining exercise. Mindfulness and deep breathing are a blessing to cherish, nonetheless.

    — D.Ark

  • Jul 18, 2021

    Sheryl, sending so much love to you. I have felt and feel that desire to just be alone so often. Then I have those times of feeling so connected to everything, everyone, everything that has ever been and is and will be, that it makes those feelings and wishes of isolation seem just… false, misinformed, forgetful of our true nature. Which, I think, is union. May you feel that more often. May you feel that freedom. May you find peace and connection in the small moments. Love, Jen

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Jul 18, 2021

    (sigh_) so hard…life is so hard… you need to be positive all the are tired of being happy but deep inside you want to rest. … so hard …like you want to go to mars be alone…but no man in an island…you need to work need to live with them…because they need you… but as it goes …its hurting so much…. you are trying you best…but they see your mistake…you feel worthless

    — sheryl

  • Apr 25, 2021

    Lorraine, I know it’s SO much easier said than done! Still possible through consistent practice. It’s really hard but when you feel steady inside in an unsteady environment, even if it’s for a day or an hour, it makes all that practice worth it. Sending you a big spirit hug and wishing you a year full of more of those moments of inner peace! x

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Apr 25, 2021

    Sheila, may you be free to claim your joy again and always, no matter what happens outside. <3

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Apr 25, 2021

    So difficult at times when all persons in the household are negative and obsessed with world tragedies. Definitely some mental health issues here. Well really, it can be exhausting. As a spiritual being. Thank you for reminding me to continue positive practices. I know I cannot own what is not mine to own.


    — Lorraine

  • Feb 20, 2021

    My FIL lives with me and my husband. He is the meanest most ungrateful man I’ve ever met. Nothing is good enough for him. Never is enough done FOR him. My husband lucfkily is very supportive but the situation is weighing on us both. I realized that over the years starting with my father, I have let men take my joy with their toxicity. Your article and ideas I believe will help me to reclaim my joy and keep my peace regardless of his behavior. Thank you.

    — Sheila

  • Nov 11, 2020

    Sharon, I’m so glad this spoke to you and can support you through this important time, where you’re ready for change at last. Boundaries can be a beautiful thing. Others may not always like them, but you taking care of your life means you can show up fully and truthfully with everyone around you. And there’s nothing better than that. x

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Nov 10, 2020

    Thank you so much for this beautiful affirmation, this is what I need to hear in my life. I have an ongoing toxic relationship with a family member that takes away my joy. I love your message because it’s given me hope to start afresh and really be me. I’m trying to set boundaries because I believe it can bring me peace. I look forward to your

    — sharon oloya

  • Oct 06, 2020

    Gretchen, may you find clarity and comfort exactly where and when you need it most. You never know what kind of beauty and grace life can bring to you… sometimes you just need to believe things can be different and walk towards it. All my love. x

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Oct 05, 2020

    I’ve been with a narcissist for 40 years. I am beat down despite my sons/grandchildren.
    I’ve been a veterinarian for 40 years. Compassion fatigue. I have a beautiful farm. I’m obsessed with creating a poem
    “The Hanging Tree” I want to find the perfect tree but I cannot hurt my family, friends yet.


Leave a comment

I think you'll like these too...