Even the most positive people experience negativity from time to time – it’s part of what makes us human.
In very small doses, negativity can actually be pretty helpful, since it’s our mind’s method of keeping us safe by highlighting the bad in things. In larger doses however, it can dramatically limit our potential and hold us back from living life to the full. Relationships, careers, personal growth and long-term fulfillment can all be hampered. What’s more, research has shown that negativity can also pave the way for more stress and more illness than our more positive peers.
When you’re experiencing negativity through thoughts, feelings, emotions, or actions, it can very often snowball. Your life can quickly become saturated in negativity, which in turn creates a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break. The antidote? Positivity. While that might seem like an obvious answer to many people, it’s something of an alien concept when you’re trapped in a negative cycle.
A negativity detox can really help. Here’s how:
Change your self-talk
Those caught up in negativity are more often than not their own worst enemy – particularly when it comes to their inner voice. Constantly berating yourself and your situation will never have a positive outcome, because all it does is perpetuate a negative mindset. Here’s where you can make an immediate, positive change. Instead of thinking, “I did a terrible job at work today, I’m no good at this”, think, “I didn’t do as well as I thought I would, but I know I’m capable of doing it better – I’ll get it next time”. Speak to yourself like you would a best friend.
Distance yourself from negative people
Misery loves company, and so does negativity. Negative people can drag you down over time, and you might not even realise it until it’s been happening for too long. But be brutally honest with yourself – are there people in your life that mostly contribute negativity? If so, spend less time with them and see how you feel. If it’s a marked improvement, then move on from them for good. If it’s a work colleague or family member, and that’s not possible, then look at other solutions: can you contribute some positivity to this person’s life? It’s certainly worth mentioning that there’s a big difference between a negative person, and a person that happens to be going through a negative situation – so be mindful of that possibility.
Start your day positively
Starting your morning negatively will often set the pace for a negative day, which in turn can impact your whole week. Instead of waking up and instantly thinking of all the things you don’t want to do, immediately think of all the things you’re looking forward to instead – even if they’re small things, like listening to your music on the commute, chatting to work colleagues, or the feeling of accomplishment you know you’ll experience after a job well done. You can start this tomorrow – and the longer you do it the more natural it will feel to adopt a positive mindset long-term.
Unleash your anger and frustration
While this might go against your everyday demeanour, expressing anger and frustration can be incredibly cathartic – and you don’t have upset someone or break dinnerware to do it. There are endless ways to channel negativity into something positive – from throwing out household clutter and beginning DIY projects, to creating dramatic artwork, going for a fast run or taking a boxing class. Like crying, it can feel a lot better to get that built-up negativity out of your system – giving you more room for positivity instead.
Write a proactive mission statement
Removing the negativity from your life can require some planning – especially when you’re not entirely sure where it’s all coming from. Grab a pen, paper, and create two columns. Write a list of all the things that contribute negativity towards your life on the left side, and then the ways in which you’re going to change them on the right. For example, you might write, ‘Eating unhealthy food’ on the left column, and then “‘tart a healthy meal plan’ on the right. The truth is many negative influences in life can be removed, changed, or accepted, and writing your thoughts down helps you see them in a more objective light – something that isn’t so easy to do when you’re shrouded in a negative mindset.
Put your mind on a positivity diet
They say you are what you eat – and the same goes for the fuel you feed your soul with. When you’re constantly exposed to negativity on TV, in movies, in music, and in the news, it’ll almost certainly have a bearing on how you see the world. Instead feed yourself positivity: read inspirational autobiographies, watch uplifting films, listen to upbeat music, make a gratitude list, and get your daily fix of positive quotes on social media. Treat your mind as you would your body – you need to feed it the right things to keep it in top form.
Food for positive thought
When you make an active effort to become more positive, you’ll find you encounter much more positivity in everyday life. Why? Is it magic, karma, or energy related? No – it’s logically inevitable. When we view the world through more positive eyes and take a more positive approach in everything we do, we become more open and brave. We perform tasks better, we pursue opportunities without fear, and we take the best from every experience and encounter – all of which gives us greater fulfillment. And because we’re fulfilled, we become better people to be around too. Like negativity, positivity has a snowball effect. Once negativity is out of your system, you can get it rolling.
I help clients who suffer from PTSD symptoms create happier lives using non-invasive PTSD intervention techniques, emotional balance assessments and happiness coaching retreats, online and in person, for individuals and small groups. My team and I run our retreats in the beautiful Spanish Costa del Sol.
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