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How to Combat Harmful Sarcasm and Negativity

sarcasmWhen someone sends a little negativity your way, it might feel good to reflect it back at them. They should feel bad for raining on your parade, right?

“Your report isn’t ready yet? Seriously?” someone asks exasperatedly.

“No, it’s not ready,” you reply, “probably because I work twice as many accounts as you do.” Burn! Nice one!

But what becomes of a room when negativity gets thrown around left and right? The energy goes sour.

At the end of the day, you want to feel you’ve gotten the most out of life. You want to feel that you’ve lived in the moment and savored the good stuff. You don’t want to feel you’ve lived moment to moment, hour to hour hopping from one stressor to the next.

Stress is a killer and optimism a life saver. Did you know that optimists recover more quickly from surgery and cope better with diseases like cancer, AIDS, and heart disease? Being more positive has it’s perks, but how can a positive outlook be maintained in a negative world?

People who meditate practice “grounding” themselves to the earth, saving their energy by plugging into the energy that keeps the earth itself buzzing along every day. They visualize their body rooting to the ground, being one with the ultimate steady rock — the 3rd rock from the sun.

In order to ground yourself:

  1. Unplug yourself from all your daily duties, worries, and technology.
  2. Sit comfortably in a quiet space, close your eyes to focus on your breath.
  3. Draw all your attention in and concentrate of slow inhalation and exhalation. Healing, invigorating energy is drawn in when you inhale. You exhale dark, “busy” energy.
  4. Feel your seat (or your back if you’re lying down). Visualize your connectedness from your body to your chair, from the chair to the ground, from the ground deep into the earth itself. Like the roots of a tree — the base is strong and reliable.*
  5. Send negative or unwanted energy into the earth and extract good, positive energy.

In a sense, your mining the earth for better energy. Try to stay in that warm, happy place. When someone enters your airspace and brings negativity with them, don’t catch that negativity and mirror it back at them. Whether they are rude, ridiculing, gloomy, or downright hostile, let it pass through you and right down into the earth. Just like taking out the trash, “There, that junk is gone.”

When you do this you clear the air. You remove negativity from your environment and disarm your “foe.” Isn’t it better to disarm a pessimist than give them new negative ammo to pillage with? To put it another way: Don’t give misery company.

Sarcasm is a beautiful thing. It helps to signify the absurd and find humor and joy in life. But maybe cut back on it when it comes to mocking others. You deserve a clear and joyful headspace free from resentment and contempt.


*Note: You can visualize grounding yourself in many ways. Find something that is special and speaks to you. Maybe you’d rather picture dumping your worries into an endless hole, perhaps you want to watch your doubts melt inside the viscous outer core of the earth, or see your anger be shredded to ribbons on a breeze.

Negative woman photo available from Shutterstock

How to Combat Harmful Sarcasm and Negativity

Sarah Newman, MA, MFA

Sarah Newman is the managing editor and associate publisher of PsychCentral and the founding editor-in-chief of the Poydras Review.

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APA Reference
Newman, S. (2018). How to Combat Harmful Sarcasm and Negativity. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 19 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.