There are negative people in every environment. Is it you? Or is it someone that you work with? Cancerous attitudes are as contagious as laughter, and, as the adage says, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. How do you recognize if you are the bad apple, and what do you do to change it? If you are a “good apple,” how do you keep from spoiling? Successful people tend to surround themselves with successful people, so be sure to pay attention and pick wisely.

Negative people are good apples that have spoiled. Now some people may rationalize their cynicism as being realistic, but there is a difference. Pessimists may be a product of their environments or may simply be going through a hard time and project their emotions in an inappropriate manner. They let past events leak into every aspect of their lives, forcing people to distance themselves both personally and professionally. However, the good news about being a Negative Nancy is that you don’t have to stay that way forever. Here are a few tips to turn the beat around:

1. Recognize the cycle of cynicism: admitting something is wrong is always the first step.

2. Every type of healing takes time. Give yourself room to focus on fixing the void, filling the problem with something positive or constructive.

3. Reconnect with your roots or start growing new ones. Some life events can shatter the support systems that we rely on. Rebuilding or creating a new one can help you get back to a feeling of inclusion and emotional support.

4. Start by speaking positively to others. You don’t have to pretend to be cheerleader happy, just the act of being positive will eventually become more natural. The good that you put out will usually be given back in some form, usually happiness.

Positive people see the glass half full, find the open door in a locked building, and feel the sun shining through the clouds. They don’t do this because bad things don’t happen to them, but because they are able to roll with the punches and get back on their feet quickly. The way to “avoid” being spoiled by negativity is to surround yourself with people who also view every day as a refreshing adventure. How do you do this while also dealing with negative friends/co-workers/family? Here are a few tips to keep the cycle going:

1. Add positive people to your life, and there won’t be any time to add in negativity.

2. Focus on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Join sports teams, interest groups, and classes that focus on activities you enjoy, helping you socialize, grow, and learn outside of your work life. You will likely meet new friends who share similar outlooks.

3. Have direction. Always having a meaningful goal in life helps organize your priorities, meet personal or professional benchmarks and attain a feeling of accomplishment. The beauty of it is that it can be anything, as long as it fits you.

No matter where you go in life, there will be negative forces, but try to make sure that you are the force of positivity.