How can one preserve their sanity

Do you live with people who love to complain and whine about anything and everything? If you do, you may have wanted to bang your head against the wall more than once and shout, "Stop it!" Living with toxic people can drain your energy, and they can make you sick. How? By transferring their negative energy to you. Before you know it, you have stinky energy seeping deep into your pores, clogging your body, mind and spirit. If you can't move out, don't worry. You can keep your sanity and thrive. But it will take determination on your part.

7 Ways to Keep Your Sanity When You Live with Toxic People

1. Tune out.

You may want to tune out when someone is complaining about this or that. Let's face it; your central nervous system can only take so much of another person's toxic dumping. If someone isn't willing to see that they're possibly creating their own problems and making themselves miserable, you can't do anything about it. But you can tune out for a while. Grab your favorite electronic device and plug in to good music, perhaps a good meditation. You'll feel better after 20 minutes of relaxation.

2. Change the subject.

If someone starts a conversation that will lead you down the "gossip or toxic dump road," change the subject. First of all, if you gossip about someone, rest assured they are talking about you, too. Why should you willing attract negative vibes into your life? Gently steer a conversation in another direction and topic. If you're lucky, your friend will forget about what he/she was talking about, and you can have a nice conversation.

3. Have empathy.

It's true that people are doing the best they can at any given moment, so cut them some slack. Try to see a situation from their point-of-view and acknowledge that it's their truth, for now. Plus, you can't know for sure what goes through another person's mind. Unless, of course, you can read minds. Perhaps you're intuitive, but unless you ask, "What's wrong?" You'll never fully understand what someone is going through every day.

4. Volunteer.

Maybe you need to get out of the house. Not only is volunteering great for your soul, but it's good for your mind, body and the community. Focusing (mind) on someone other than yourself is always good. For example, let's say you volunteer at a food pantry. You may have to lift and move 50-pound boxes (good workout) that are filled with foods to be donated to families (supporting the community). Make a difference in another person's life. Who knows? The people you live with may want to volunteer with you. See that? You just led by example.

5. Be grateful.

Say, "Thank you" for everything that you have, even the toxic people in your life. Why? Because an attitude of gratitude is good for you, and the people in your life may teach you valuable life lessons. For example, if you live with an alcoholic, he/she can teach you that you don't want to become an alcoholic and that addiction doesn't work for you. However, this doesn't mean the people in your life have the right to drive you nuts. Set and keep strong boundaries. Reach out for help and support, if you need it.

6. Offer help.

If you can help someone change their life, go for it. Just don't be judgmental about it. Come from a place of empathy and understanding. Perhaps all a person needs is a shoulder to cry on or guidance on how to handle a situation. Extend an olive branch and do your best to help. Whatever you do -- do not force your beliefs on those around your. Everyone has free will and can think and believe what they want to, even if it's toxic.

7. Smile.

Just smile! You may be surprised how a smile can change the people around you. Why? Because it can alleviate stress and stressful situations. A smile is contagious. How can you not smile when someone is smiling back you? And while you're at it, laugh. It's true that laughter is the best medicine. A hardy laugh can put you and everyone around you in a better mood in no time.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.