“I’m the kind of person who is allergic to negativity. Although, I don’t consider myself to be an optimist, I thrive in an atmosphere of hope.”

If you were to imagine the atmosphere in your workplace, home, community or church, how would you describe it? Is it a happy, vibrant and hopeful one, or are the people and culture just a heap of negativity and pessimism?

And if you take a good look into the hearts of people, hope is always there. Everyone searches for hope and joy especially in the midst of pressure and trial.

Sadly, the environments we are part of aren’t always joyous and vibrant. Maybe you have a problem with a negative spouse, complaining workmates, or even a critical church community. How can we choose to remain in joy and hope while being a part of a negative environment? Here are four ways to do so.

Draw Near To The Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

If you’ve ever known the presence of God, you’ll know that there is very little room for unproductive negativity.

When we remain in the Spirit we keep an attitude of hope, joy and peace even if our environment is the opposite of it. We can experience joy with God perpetually if we choose to remain in Him.

Choose To Release Joy

If you’re not in a position to release joy then most likely you don’t have it. If you’re sure that you lack true joy, there’s no need to fake it and give what you don’t have.

But going back to the first point: If you truly remain in the Spirit and become a recipient of everlasting and overflowing joy, it will naturally be released to others.

Change Your Mood, Not The Mood Of Others

You can release joy all you want, but reality is that we have no agency over people’s choice to receive it or now. We can give blessings, speak life, shed a positive light when people are just plain negative. But when people refuse to listen or agree, there’s no need to be affected by it.

God commands us to love our neighbour, yes, but He doesn’t command us to shove love down anyone’s throats. Jesus never forced anyone to receive His love. He just gave, and left it to them to receive it or not.

Practice Gratitude

If there’s one practice that builds joy, it’s gratitude. It’s when we are thankful that we are most content, happy, peaceful and satisfied. 2 Thessalionians 1:3 reminds us, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”

What are you thankful for today? It’s time we remained in that attitude and to think of the things we are thankful for instead of dwelling on the things we wish weren’t there—including the negativity of others.

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