Your surroundings and connections can have a large impact on your personal happiness and positivity. It is important to cultivate the right influencers if you are wanting to reach your goals and find daily happiness. So let's take a look at three areas of influence and how you can adjust them to better suit your deepest desires and core wishes of feeling happy.

1.  Your Free Time (Movies, Books and More)

How you spend your free time can greatly influence your attitude. Do you come home and sit down in front of Netflix to kill a few hours or do you spend your time working towards goals and surrounding yourself with positive things? Netflix movies and  TV shows can be a great way to unwind and you can even find some truly inspiring and positive shows to watch. However, you should surround yourself with movies that make you think, teach you something new and offer something uplifting to your life. Otherwise, you are wasting your life away in front of a TV, not growing and not seeking the things that can improve your days.

It is a similar thing with reading. By surrounding yourself with positive books that educate, you can change how you see the world and even yourself. Even if you don’t read books (which you totally should) I guarantee you spend at least a little time (if not a lot) of time reading internet articles and Facebook statuses. Does doing so leave you feeling joyful or inspired? If not, it may be time to revaluate how you spend your free time and seek out ways to improve. We have so much to learn when we surround ourselves with positive outlets but when those outlets become areas of wastefulness negativity, it is time to make a change.

2. Your Music

Music is another key influencer in our lives. I’m sure we all remember the plant studies that found plants thrived when played classical music but struggled to grow as well when listening to heavy metal? Well, it is a similar situation with us if we are seeking to make positivity a priority. Look for music that brings you joy and leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. When I listen to music like that (usually classic rock from the 70’s and modern atmospheric rock) I find that I am more creative, open-minded and optimistic. Even background music can have an impact on your attitude so pay attention to what music is playing around you. Does it make you feel happy? Angry? Sad? If it is either of the last two, it may be time to change the station and seek music that influences you in a positive way.

3. Your Relationships

This is the BIG one. Our relationships are a huge influence in our lives. If you have a negative boss, you may not be completely happy at work. If your spouse is less than supportive, it can have a significant drain on you as you try to stay positive and work towards your dreams. If you are surrounded by friends who do nothing but bring you down, it can feel suffocating. Feeling negative, drained and suffocated are not positive feelings, meaning it is time to seek a change. In some cases that is easier said than done.

In the case of downer friends, it can be easier to distance yourself and slowly reduce how often you hang out. I’m not saying to stop being friends but limiting your time around negative people is always a plus. Besides, once you open yourself up to the possibility of engaging with more positive people, you’ll begin to see many opportunities to interact with like-minded, positive individuals or groups.

It can be difficult to spend 8 hours plus of your days with a negative boss and whether we like it or not, that can be a large influence in our lives. Having bad days at work often lead to bad days at home. So first, see if you can adjust your attitude and if it will help improve your bosses attitude or at least change how you view it. Maybe even talk it out (I am a big believer in honesty in the workplace). If neither of those things work, it may be time to find another job. As harsh as that may sound, you spend 40 hours a week at your job. You deserve to be happy and to be surrounded by positivity in all areas of your life.

That leads us to the biggest relationship influencers- our family and spouse. There is not much you can do about negative family members. You can try to talk to them about it, but often times that can backfire. I’ve found that the best way is to change how I view a situation. Sometimes I decide to view it as a challenge. I will do everything I can to take a positive viewpoint no matter how a negative a family member will be.  I am honest in what I say and in many cases it can feel like I’m calling them out on their shit but it doesn’t’ bring me down and maybe it will help them see how negative they see the world and inspire a change in them as well.

As for spouses, having a negative or unsupportive spouse can truly hinder any positivity progress you want to make. I am lucky enough to have a husband who is honest in his opinions (some of which I don’t always like) but who also encourages me to chase my dreams. He is the epitome of support in the sense that I can always count on him to truthfully tell me what he thinks but know that it is coming from a place of love, support, and wanting me to succeed. Unfortunately, not everyone has spouses like that, so then what do you do? Communication is always the first step. Express your goals and dreams. Tell your spouse how you are going to accomplish them and then straight-up ask for their support. I did this when I husband and I first got together and on the bad days when you feel disheartened, your spouse can lift you up and remind you of all the good progress you’ve made. If communication doesn’t work, I’ve also found that the golden rule can do wonders. Are you being as positive and supportive of your spouse as you could be? Sometimes it takes adjusting your attitude to encourage a change in someone else.  Lastly, if none of those things work, it may be time to evaluate what you want to put up with. It can be incredibly difficult to accomplish any goals if you are married and lack the support of a spouse. For me, I have a no-nonsense type of attitude when it comes to that kind of stuff. Life is too damn short to be spending it in a negative way with negative people, especially if that negative person is supposed to be a rock of love, positivity, and support.

These are just three areas that influence in our lives. What other areas have you found influence your happiness? Would you say these tips are helpful?

Photo by Buzz Andersen

Taylor Proctor