How Your Environment Influences You

Written by on January 17, 2017 in Accountability, Self-Care

How Your Environment Influences You


How would you describe your environment?

When we hear the word “environment” most of us immediately think in terms of the earth or nature, but what we’re going to focus on today is your personal environment.

Your personal environment consists of everything (and everyone) you come in contact with each day, your physical as well as social surroundings, the relationships, sights, sounds, smells and even the words you use on a consistent basis.

You see, it is very true, that to a large extent, you are a product of your environment because different types of surroundings affect your behavior and overall life satisfaction in a very real way.

If you make sure that your environment supports your dreams, achieving your dreams becomes radically easier. Whatever you are surrounded by all day – influences you more than you think. ~Author Unknown

How Your Environment Influences You

When it comes to striving to achieve goals or any type of meaningful life change most of us focus on such things as self-discipline and willpower, determination and planning.

And while these are all important factors, the key to making it possible for you to create sustainable results is an environment designed to not only help you achieve your desired outcome but support the new behavior or circumstances on a daily basis.

If your environment has little or no structure, conflicts with the change you are attempting to create, or you are surrounded by circumstances and people that drain your energy, it’s not only going to be very difficult to stick to any plans you may have to change or grow, you’re going to be susceptible to increased levels of stress, unhappiness, and deconstructive behaviors.

Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts, and situations that poison your well-being. Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. ~Dr. Steve Maraboli

What this means is that if you want to foster an environment that nurtures your well-being, brings out the best in you and leads you to greater life satisfaction then you’re going to need to make some choices about your surroundings.

Becoming Intentional About Your Environment

When it comes to changing your environment, your options are pretty clear-cut. You can either adapt or change. It’s that simple, and that hard.

The first thing you’ll need to do is spend some time reflecting on your life and identifying any areas that need attention and then pick one easy thing to work on and begin slowly redesigning your environment to better suit your needs.


I think most will agree that in general, it’s easier to change your physical environment than your social. It’s one thing to change your decor, move to a new neighborhood or save to buy a new car, quite another to confront your mother-in-law about her habit of telling you how to raise your children or your boss about his/her dictatorial management style.

But adapting doesn’t mean settling for less or choosing to be powerless. You may not have control over all of the circumstances in your life, but you always have control over your response to them.

Focusing on managing your thoughts, emotions, and behavior, using immovable objects as stepping stones, and learning to set and maintain healthy personal boundaries can go a long way toward easing the stress of even the most challenging circumstances and relationships.


Again, I want to emphasize starting small, especially when it comes to change. The place to begin is to give some thought to your standards. Whether we’re aware of it or not we have standards for everything and doing the work to begin slowing raising them can change your entire life for the better.

There are many things you can do to change your physical environment. It’s amazing how simple things like clearing clutter, re-arranging your furniture, slapping on a new coat of paint or buying a few colorful accessories can improve your surroundings and mood!

One of the most important areas you can focus on for positive change won’t cost you a penny … of course, I’m talking about you. You can begin by being honest with yourself about where reside on your daily list of priorities.

  • Do you set aside time for self-care?
  • How about the way in which you talk to yourself, especially when you’re having a bad day?
  • Are you harboring self-limiting beliefs that are preventing you from reaching for the things you want and deserve in life?

We may not be consciously aware of these internal issues but they affect your environment and overall outlook on life just the same.

And then there are the other people in your environment. Admittedly, removing someone from your life can be hard, which is why it becomes surprisingly easy to find ways to tolerate toxic relationships.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide if a relationship is worth the stress it creates, but if you really can’t bring yourself to cut the person out of your life, you can look for ways to minimize your exposure to them and offset their influence by surrounding yourself with people who are positive and supportive.

The bottom line …

So let’s revisit the question I posed at the beginning of this post, how would you describe your environment? Is it nurturing and supportive or are there gaps that could use some attention?Women Breaking Barriers

Changing your environment will take time, but it really isn’t all that difficult to do if you are willing to commit to doing one small thing each day that will make your environment more supportive of the life you desire to create for yourself.

To provide you with some inspiration I’m going to leave you with a special gift. Women Breaking Barriers is a collection of fourteen powerful stories about perseverance, reinvention, and overcoming, and at the heart of each story is a woman who has chosen to embrace her personal power to become the driver in her own life journey.

It was my privilege to be a contributing author as well as publisher of this eBook. I’m honored to be in the company of such amazing women and I hope that you will find their stories as insightful and inspiring as I have.

This digital publication is free for you to download, no email or opt-in required!

Breaking Barriers

As always, the discussion will continue in this week’s edition of Resilient Living. If you like what you read here, why not consider joining us?

Related reading:
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.

Thank you for sharing!

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  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Joan. Yep, I’m a quotation collecting ninja! I actually created my own personal eBook of quotations and I must have nearly a thousand in there at this point. But it is a wonderful resource when I need to find that perfect inspirational tidbit to share. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  2. Hi Marquita!

    Very inspiring post!

    Yes, our environment affects us so much doesn’t it? If we want to be more positive and calmer, then we must surround ourselves with that 🙂 Just makes sense to do so. I like having motivational quotes all around me as it helps with my creativity.

    Awesome share!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…Writing Tweaks That Will Propel You To Copywriting MasteryMy Profile

  3. Well said Joyce! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the post, always appreciated. 🙂

  4. Couldn’t agree more Elise, I’m very proud of the outcome.

  5. Glad you enjoyed the post Ikechi!

  6. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the post Erika. You bring up a very good point about the importance of awareness, which is just one reason why I strongly advocate creating a self-care program that includes mindfulness and rituals that foster well-being. Always appreciate your thoughtful insights. 🙂

  7. Joyce Hansen

    Marquita, again a wonderful post. It’s true when the topic comes up about environment, we tend to only think of it as physical space. That’s the easy part to fix. It takes commitment to change the environment in which we live our lives – both personal and business. I’m paraphrasing from that old saying about you can’t solve a problem using the same old solutions. Well, you can’t expect to grow and become successful in the same old environment.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Before You Stress Out Your ProductivityMy Profile

  8. Elise Cohen Ho

    I am loving seeing so many familiar faces. There is so much knowledge in this.

  9. ikechi

    Hi Marquita

    Indeed you are so right. No matter how much strength , courage and determination we have, if our environment is filled with flawa, then there is no benefit.

    Thank you so much as your points are spot on. Have a wonderful week. Take Care
    ikechi recently posted…The 10 Most Popular Posts That Rocked in 2016My Profile

  10. Hi Marquita, happy to see the book is available now and many stories of women which can inspire others.
    I am grateful to live in a positive environment surrounded bu nature. I know how to stay away from toxic people and learned early to adapt and choose to what I want to adapt. But I know many have difficulties with this, but like everything, if one is aware he can learn to handle this. You did write very good insight and give suggestions to get aware and take care of how to avoid negative influences.
    Thank you
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted…How To Work Hard On Your Blogger Dream Doing It With LoveMy Profile

  11. Well said Erica. Unfortunately, many people do not make that choice and instead end up living in victim mode. I have a couple of those in my own family. All you can do is show people the way, and it’s up to them whether or not they’re willing to make the effort. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  12. I’m glad you enjoyed that quote Summer, and I like the saying on your plaque! I think we can all use a reminder from time to time. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  13. Good for you Ruth, mental clutter can slowly build up over time just like all the stuff in that catch-all drawer that we all have. It’s well worth the effort to clear the clutter from time to time.

  14. Thank you for your kind words Teresa, and especially for taking the time to let me know you found value in the post. 🙂

  15. You have such a wonderful way of expressing your thoughts Dave, no wonder you’re a writer. 🙂 One of the best compliments I can receive is that something I’ve written or idea I’ve shared has caused someone to question their own circumstances. Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  16. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us Kristina.

  17. Ah, the neighbor thing, been there. For better or worse, there are always going to be a few areas where we have little control over who we share our environment with, in particular, fellow workers, our relatives, and our neighbors. I like your idea of a psychic shield!

  18. Well, I’m not so sure that your being on the go so much necessarily is a statement about your home environment or simply that you are an active person, but I’m glad you found the post thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Welcome Leanne, and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m glad you found value in the post. 🙂

  20. Well said Priya! 🙂

  21. Welcome Dr. Erica, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article and hope that you’ll be as inspired by the stories in Women Breaking Barriers as I was. What a great way to cap off 2016!

  22. Thanks for stopping by Suzie! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  23. Thank you for your kind words Julie, and especially for participating in our collaborative book project. I’m so proud of the end result and hope that by choosing to give it away many others will be inspired by the stories and confront their own barriers.

  24. So true William! There is often a tendency to look at our relationships last as a problem area, sometimes because we genuinely care about people even though we know they’re not good for us, and other times because we hate the thought of a confrontation or unpleasant conversation.

  25. Good for you Jen! I know firsthand how challenging it can be to minimize exposure to toxic and manipulative people, especially if they happen to be family. But it can be done, and is well worth the effort. Thanks for sharing with us!

  26. If it gives you any comfort Sushmita, please try to keep in mind that even the most positive person occasionally experiences negativity, it’s a simple very human response to disappointment. They key is to not get comfortable and stay there. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Well said Nishant. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. 🙂

  28. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you found value in the post Rosary, and (especially) for sharing your thoughts, always appreciated. 🙂

  29. Erica says:

    I downloaded the book. I’m very excited to read it as, of course, I recognize a few faces.

    Working with clients, I work with people struggling to deal with their families when trying to change their lives. You can move out certain hurdles, but some you need to learn to work around. And family is definitely one of them. We can’t choose our families. But we can stop them from letting us block ourselves.
    Erica recently posted…The Why And How Of A Quick CleanseMy Profile

  30. Summer Price

    Your first quote … “If you make sure that your environment supports your dreams, achieving your dreams becomes radically easier. Whatever you are surrounded by all day – influences you more than you think.” Really stuck with me. I believe we can change our environment by choosing our attitude as well. If I have a negative attitude than I see the negative in my environment while the converse is true as well. I have a plaque in my room that says “Today I Choose Joy” Sometimes I have to read it a couple of times to remind me I have a choice. 😀 Thank you for sharing!

  31. Ruth Bowers

    Awesome post Marquita! I need to do better at keeping my mental environment free and clear of dusties and negative thoughts. We’ve been decluttering and reorganizing the house, but I have to admit my mind has not been where it should be to start the new year. Thanks for reminding me I can do better!
    Ruth Bowers recently posted…Are Content Upgrades Right for You?My Profile

  32. Teresa Salhi

    Marquita, I love how you go in depth to share about our environment and how it is so much more than nature but our inner nature as well. What a powerful message and one to give more awareness to so that we are rewarding with what feels good and what we really want.

  33. Dave

    When I first read the quote by Steve Maraboli, I almost sort of shuddered. Poison is such a strong word. But, in thinking about it a bit deeper, he is absolutely correct and it is indeed the perfect word. A caustic and unsupportive environment can start out so benign and innocent and slowly but gradually develop into an insidious presence that can consume us if we’re not careful.

    And, I personally love your statement, Marty – it’s that simple and that hard. So very true! Focusing on small changes is perhaps common sense but not necessarily common practice. It is a reminder that I need right now, so thank you 🙂 And although it’s sometimes easy (and sometimes more difficult) to just drop pieces out of your life in the name of change, I know for me beginning with closely looking at how I respond (as you so perfectly suggested, by the way) is an important first step – to learn more about myself, to prevent myself from continually placing myself in situations that trigger certain emotions without knowing it, and to better understand the people, opinions, and attitudes surrounding me.

    Thanks for the wonderful article, Marty – always inspiring 😉 Have a great weekend!
    Dave recently posted…Flying SoloMy Profile

  34. Kristina Rylova

    Great post, Marquita! I agree that thinking positive and surrounding yourself also with people with positive mindsets and those who will encourage your initiatives is crucial.

  35. Vatsala Shukla

    Marquita, thank you for including me in the ebook Women breaking Barriers. I found the stories of each of the contributing authors inspiring and hope lots of readers will download it and benefit too.

    Loved the hero quote in your post. One area where I’ve found it challenging to change the environment has been dealing with certain people in the housing complex where I live. Shifting out is not an option since I’m an owner and love my place. The best way out that I’ve discovered is to create a psychic shield when dealing with these people and avoiding them whenever possible. Sometimes our vibrations don’t match with others and for all we know, they may feel the same way.

    Environment does make a difference and the best gift we can give ourselves is to create one where we feel safe and empowered.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Are You Alienating People with the ‘You’ Word?My Profile

  36. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Marty!I actually had to go back and read your article 2 times. I do live in a very peaceful environment and do feel as though there is something missing. I guess this is why I am on the go a lot, but yet it is always good to get back home.. HUM?? I don think I will ever be a good empty nester LOL

    I cannot wait to read your book I d see a lot of familiar faces.

    Great Share as always my friend.
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Is it Possible To Make Money Online?My Profile

  37. Leanne

    Great suggestions, keep it small and do one thing each day, definitely feeling more motivated now to turn my junk room in to a studio! Love your articles.
    Leanne recently posted…Dying FiresMy Profile

  38. A positive environment ensures that we do not get derailed in the journey of life.One should indeed keep a tab on who we mingle with and change the environment when it is not very conducive to our goals.
    Priya Prabhu recently posted…Effect of chanting in a spiritually pure environmentMy Profile

  39. Marquita,
    It has made a tremendous difference for me to surround myself with not only positive people and people who are gently caring and respectrful, but also people who are striving to better themselves. Those who are working toward improving don’t spend their time finding fault with the other person. In fact they support my efforts toward my goals. I have released some old friendships that were not supportive, or even outright critical in a harsh way.

    Your ebook is a powerful gift. What a group of inspirational women you have gathered together. I look forward to reading their stories.

  40. Suzie Cheel

    Love this especially the Dr Steve Maraboli quote spoke right to my heart today. I am doing both some physical decluttering- releasing along with computer and facebook letting go of what stops me growing and being my best self as then I can serve and create change. Love this and so in sync xxx
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…How Do You Put Your Energy In Motion Each Day?My Profile

  41. Julie Gorges

    Marquita, I was so privileged to be part of your book, Women Breaking Barriers. Thoroughly enjoyed this blog. Especially love the quote: Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts, and situations that poison your well-being. Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. ~Dr. Steve Maraboli This is something I’ve had to learn over the years. You are always so inspiring and enlightening! Pleasure to have gotten to know you as cyber buddies!
    Julie Gorges recently posted…Baby Boomers: Are Your Millennial Children Worse Off Than You?My Profile

  42. William Rusho

    Great post, and environment does certainly change us. We do must adopt to new environments, it is necessary for us to grow and develop.
    I do agree strongly with one thing many people miss, is environments do include people (as you stated). They can be as much influential, as the things we surround ourselves with. Sometimes when you try to change your environment, you need to look at them also.
    William Rusho recently posted…DAZ Studio- Program that’s fun, and easy to useMy Profile

  43. Jen Monks

    I truly believe my environment influences me consciously and subconsciously. Over the years I have limited my contact with toxic people and attempted to keep a calm, structured home and routine. While my life is far from perfect, I have enjoyed the benefits of cleaning up my environment. Lovely post.

  44. Sushmita

    Loved the image you started with.
    I can’t say negativity has not affected me ever, after getting up from the slump of negativity I try and focus on the positives in my life no matter how small they are.
    I think I am trying to adapt to the environment and want to help others find the path too 🙂
    Sushmita recently posted…Valuable Social Media Trends for 2017!My Profile

  45. Nishant

    Hi Marquita, It’s true if the environment around us inspires us in achieving our dream then that’s where we belong. Be surrounded by great souls that can motivate us in achieving our end objective.
    To a certain point we all have to adapt with the environment, and change – It is inevitable. Either we change by ourselves or the environment will force us to change.

  46. Rosary says:

    I totally agree with you, I think environment is key to our personal development. If we live in a supportive social circle, we would naturally grow into a supportive person too; and I do agree that adapting socially is way more difficult that adapting physically. I personally think that I am quite good at adapting to new places because my family moved around a lot when I was younger, but I always find it a little more difficult to adapt socially – making new friends at a new school was never my forte. Thank you for sharing this post =)

  47. You are surely welcome, and thank you for stopping by and contributing to the conversation Mark, always appreciated!

  48. I can certainly appreciate your experience, Donna! I remember several years ago a good friend of mine moved from Maui to a small coastal town in the northern part of Washington state and she had the same experience. I visited her there and it was an absolutely stunning area, but the people were clearly very stoic. She never did adapt and ended up moving back to Maui 6 months later. I suppose no matter where we live there’s always some level of adaptation required, there certainly was for us when we moved to Maui! Thanks for sharing and contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  49. Mark

    Thanks for sharing several extremely valuable insights M!

    First of all, as you so wisely pointed, the more we understand and appreciate how much our immediate environment truly does affect and influence us. We are in a much better emotional position, to try and choose and maintain, the type of environments, which truly help real chain possible and sustainable.

    Up until now, I don’t think I ever connected those dots, which, as I read your incredibly insightful words, truly seem rather obvious! Thanks M!

    I always get so much value, whenever I stop by!
    Mark recently posted…The Powerful Success Secret The One Eyed Cyclops Can Teach All Aspiring Entrepreneurs!Part FiveMy Profile

  50. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    I think the most difficult of all is adaptation. When I moved from New York to Maine it was a well thought out decision.

    Adaptation wasn’t easy. Although I live by the beach where I yearned for, and my home is just the right size, I do have to adapt to the people around me.

    As a typical “New Yorker” I’m outgoing and talk to just about anyone. But the people near where I live are quiet…close the door and never come out quiet. When they pass by and I say Hi….I may get a nod if I’m lucky. So after 3 years, I’m still adapting to that one.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…6 Most Effective SEO Tips You Can Use In 2017 To Explode Your Search TrafficMy Profile

  51. Not at all Jeri! The post isn’t about cleaning house, there’s only one small reference to clutter in the whole piece. There is no one-size-fits-all version of the perfect environment. The point is to be aware enough of your environment to recognize what is and isn’t working, and it sounds like you are on target in that regard. Yep, the book was a wonderful collaborative project. Thanks for stopping by and especially for sharing. 🙂

  52. Jeri

    I have been told I am quite the nester and have always been very orderly. A lot of it stems from growing up in a rather chaotic household. I’m a bit of the opposite of this post in that for me it can be good to not tidy a stack of papers or leave a few dirty dishes in sink. I’ve let up on those types of things a lot as I’ve gotten older. It’s also nice to see a few familiar faces on the cover of your new free ebook download 🙂
    Jeri recently posted…#WriteTip: Writing What You Know Versus What You Don’t by Jason PellegriniMy Profile

  53. Thanks for sharing Donna! I hope you will enjoy the collection. 🙂

  54. I’m so glad you found value in the post Ravi, and sincerely hope you will enjoy the Women Breaking Barriers collection. I knew when I began getting the stories from each author that we had something special so it’s a privilege to share it.

  55. Excellent example DeeDee. On several occasions, I’ve written about people who have suffered traumatic experiences and how they went on to live strong, vibrant lives despite the fact their circumstances had dramatically changed. This is an excellent example of how adapting to a new reality doesn’t mean settling for less or living a smaller life. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation!

  56. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article Phoenicia and really like your examples. The one point I hoped to get across is that we each have the ability to improve our environment either by adapting or changing. I grew up in a decidedly negative environment, as I know you experienced as well, but we chose to change that and if we can so can others! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. 🙂

  57. Good for you RoseMary!

  58. Donna Janke

    If we work to understand how our environment affects us, we can make small changes that make a difference even if we can’t make sweeping changes. I’m looking forward to reading the book.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Heritage Districts and Hard TimesMy Profile

  59. Ravi Chahar

    Hey Marquita,

    Just like everyone else, even I was thinking about the environment around me. All about air, the earth etc.

    But you turned it to something immensely amazing.

    I always like to surround myself with the people who really know the meaning of human bonds.

    I always remain ready to adapt the new things, Change is the new syrup of success.

    Thanks for the guide and the copy of “Women breaking barriers”.

    Ravi Chahar recently posted…11 Worst Web Design Mistakes Which Are Sending Your Readers Away.My Profile

  60. DeeDee Lynn

    Hi Marquita. I see a lot of familiar faces on your book. Can’t wait to read it. We never know what curve balls life is going to throw at us. I think the best we can do is to adapt.

    I had a friend who had to move from a beautiful home to a broken down rental because of financial circumstances. She talked about the heartbreak of living in reduced circumstances, but how she used inexpensive or free things she found to make the new home more beautiful. I’ve always thought of her ability to be resilient and adapt to her situation instead of taking the kids and running home to mama. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    DeeDee Lynn recently posted…Needs and wants: you can’t afford to not know the differenceMy Profile

  61. Phoenicia

    A deep article Marquita!

    Environment does matter. The old saying ” A child becomes the product of their environment” rings true. People either thrive in or are quenched by their environment. I like your point on choosing to maintain a good attitude even when others may not treat us as we feel we deserve.

    Setting up your environment to support your lifestyle/goals is important. A good example, if you wish to eat more healthily you would not choose to buy unhealthy foods as this would sabotage your plans.

  62. I’ve long been good about surrounding myself with positive people, so that’s not a big issue for me. My office was bland and boring so two years ago I picked out a color from a favorite painting and tossed that all over the walls. Ah, beauty! It’s an inviting and creative space.

    I’m working now on keeping the unhelpful negative thoughts out of my head–purging them and moving onto all the blessings I have.
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Stunning Tour of the Magnificent Iolani PalaceMy Profile

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