Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

Have you ever had a situation where someone has been so negative and rude to you that it makes you really upset?

We all have had times when it’s hard to remain kind in negative situations. We got thinking about kindness because May 6th is National Nurses Day and we realize that nurses regularly choose to remain kind in situations where ill patients can be less than pleasant.

Our daughter-in-law is a nurse and a very kind and caring person. Let’s celebrate nurses and their kindness, no matter how stressed they may be and what negativity they face daily.

Today we’re going to talk about ways to handle negative situations so you can come out of them feeling as good as possible about the result. At the time, this might seem hard or even impossible to do, but if you take time now to think about how you want to respond, it can make things go a lot better when these situations arise.

Ian Maclaren said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Yes, this is so true. Others are fighting their own hard battles in life. You may feel you are fighting your own hard battle and be angry that others are mean or rude to you. We always encourage people to not let angry, negative people “ooze” on you so you catch those negative feelings, too. That’s not always easy to do, so that’s why we’re talking about it today. We want you to feel good and be able to remain your caring, thoughtful self, even in the midst of an onslaught of negativity.

However, realistically, there are times in life when you feel stressed, frustrated or angry with someone, a situation or even at yourself. You may end up being annoyed, rude and sending out negative emotions.

We’re all human. But learning how to control your negative reactions in stressful situations is key to staying calm so you can feel better and respond with kindness. Let’s look at some ways that may help.

Understand your emotions: What is creating the stress and negative emotions? Are you overwhelmed with responsibilities at work or home? Is it a person that is making you angry or upset? Are your feelings about the people or the situations being triggered by things that happened to you in the past? When you recognize the root cause of your feelings of negativity, it will allow you to make changes to reduce the stress you feel.

Recognize what can be changed: It’s important to know what you can change and can’t change. Once you find the root cause, and recognize what can be changed, take action to change it. If it can’t be changed, can you remove it or distance yourself from it? While making difficult changes, cut out other stress triggers as much as possible. It’s also helpful to change negative thought patterns into more positive ones.

Incorporate healthy outlets: Regular exercise can give you an emotional lift and an outlet for negative emotions. Meditation and prayer help you relax. Volunteering and helping others can also lower negativity.

5 ways to respond to negativity with kindness:

  1. Avoid mirroring others negative actions and thoughts. Treat them kindly. This could mean apologizing if it’s appropriate. Example: “I’m sorry if I have done or said anything that has hurt you.” Acknowledge others' points of view without judging.
  2. Speak in a pleasant, friendly voice as if you were talking to a friend. Keep your voice controlled and avoid anger.
  3. Maintain an open and relaxed body posture. Avoid rolling your eyes, sighing or showing other negative body language.
  4. Breathe! Take a few long, slow, deep breaths in through your nose, pause slightly, then let your breath out. Diaphragmatic breathing relaxes you and re-centers your emotions.
  5. Smile, a genuine, friendly smile. Smiling can help put you and others at ease.

What about you? As Mother Teresa’s poem titled "Anyway," says: “People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.” Even when you’re stressed, you can still choose to react with kindness to negative situations.

We encourage you to use the ways to be kind that we’ve suggested and be considerate of the feelings of all involved. When you can remain a caring person, even in the face of negative situations, it can help you get a better result, and you will know that you are an authentically kind person.

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at