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4 Ways to Avoid Gossip and Improve Your Peace of Mind

July 2, 2014

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Gossip can be tempting and entertaining. How many of us have caught ourselves leaning in for a salacious bit of news over the juice bar, reaching for our phones to text our friends the latest office story, or whispering between yoga mats a rumor concerning a certain instructor? We’ve all been there. After all, everyone loves a good story!

Yet the energy surrounding gossip is often negative, founded upon unhealthy comparisons, half truths, and shallow judgment. If we want to bring love and acceptance to ourselves, then we need to extend these same gifts to others and eliminate our participation in gossip. How do we avoid gossip in our daily lives? 

Bring a little compassion. They say the distinction between comedy and tragedy is simply a matter of perspective: if you slip on a banana peel, it’s funny; if I do, it’s embarrassing and painful. But the truth is it’s never compassionate to enjoy someone else’s misfortune, and it’s much harder to gossip about someone with whom we empathize. The easiest way to turn an uncomfortable gossip session into a heartfelt discussion is to inject a little empathy for the person involved. How would you feel if someone was whispering about you? 

Consider your friends. Consider the friends with whom you’re most prone to gossip. Do you gossip with all of your friends? Or are there maybe just one or two with whom you feel most drawn to indulge in gossip? The next time you’re with these friends, try to steer the conversation towards other topics: art, books, or the environment. Notice what happens. Is it easy to discuss other topics or does the conversation often lag when you don’t have people to pick apart? This might be an indication that you don’t have as much in common with these friends. If such is the case, then maybe it’s time to spend time with people who spread positive energy.

Extend kindness inwards. Be kind to yourself and cultivate self-love. The desire to gossip often stems from feelings of inadequacy and jealousy–it may be satisfying to disparage someone you secretly envy, but the boost is only temporary. A nasty gossip session will ultimately leave you feeling emptier and unhappier than before. Instead of indulging in gossip, examine that sense of inadequacy and jealousy head-on. Then shower yourself with kind thoughts and positive affirmations. With this boost in confidence and self-awareness, the gossip cloud that’s been following you around might just dissipate on its own.

Take a vow of silence. No, we don’t mean trekking to the Himalayas and living in a temple for months while you silently contemplate the meaning of life. During your hectic daily routine, it can be difficult to find even five minutes of quiet solitude to ground and refocus before heading back into the fray. Try taking a vow to be silent over lunch or during your morning coffee break. Go for a walk, sit outside, or listen to your favorite song. Not only will you be avoiding gossip, but you’ll be giving yourself the precious gift of five minutes peace.

Do you make a conscious tip to avoid gossip? What tips work for you? Let us know in the comments below!