Are you feeling blue? One of the culprits of being unhappy is the amount of negativity that you have in your life. The fact is, worrying, judging, fearing, complaining, envying, blaming, hating, and seeking revenge are destructive, debilitating, and emotionally draining.
For illustrative purposes, how often do you complain each day? Do you use it as a conversation starter, do it to gain attention, or fill a silent void in a discussion? Did you ever notice how natural it feels? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. That’s because humans are hardwired for negativity.
One well-known trigger is that people tend to focus more on the bad than the good things in life. This truism is due to evolution, where monitoring dangerous threats was simply a matter of life and death. The other underlying causes of negativity are destructive influences in your life. As the proverb says, “Misery loves company.”
10 Ways to Reduce Negativity in Your Life
Negative thoughts have a greater impact than positive ones on your brain. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as negativity bias. This not only prompts you to focus more on negative stimuli but to dwell on it as well. Given this, people tend to focus more on risks than opportunities, criticism than compliments, and harp more on bad things than good things that happen during the day. Negativity also influences your decision making. In fact, people tend to weigh downside exposure greater than upside potential during the decision-making process.
Watch what you believe because your beliefs have a way of becoming your reality.
In view of this, it’s critical to boost positive emotions and block negative ones from your mind. Here are 10 ways to overcome negativity bias:
Be conscious of your thoughts. Be mindful of how negativity affects the way that you size up people, evaluate personal feedback, weigh opportunities, as well as view the world around you.
Stop negative self-talk. Recite a trigger word every time you become negative. This will stop you from going down the rabbit hole of negativity.
Believe in yourself. Are you your own worst critic? It’s one thing to expect perfection of yourself, yet quite another to torture yourself for coming up short.
Minimize negative stimuli. Stop watching violent movies, hostility-laced video games, sensational news reports, or participating in social media rants.
Surround yourself with positive people. Don’t let toxic people drag you down. As the saying goes, “Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive, it will take their breath away.”
Change your perspective. Override your personal default setting and find the silver lining. Substitute phrases such as half-full for half-empty and “I’ll try” for “I can’t.”
Force yourself to be balanced. Instead of only seeing one side of an issue, view both sides of the coin. For instance, identify strengths and weaknesses, risks and opportunities, as well as the upside and downside.
Divert your attention. Whenever your mind turns negative, redirect your attention to something positive to break the pattern. One way of doing this is by repeating positive affirmations.
Savor positive moments. Appreciate what you have. Celebrate small victories. Amplify the good.
Let it go. When facing a personal challenge, either do something about it or let it go. As Viktor Frankl, philosopher, writer, and Holocaust survivor, said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Choose to Be Positive
Positive and negative thoughts cannot occupy your mind at the same time, any more than you can be in two places at once. So, make every effort to focus on the positive. It can improve your health, enhance your relationships, increase your chances of success, and add years to your life. You are the author of your life story. Give it a happy ending. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
Note: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.
Check out Frank’s new book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
How Do You Feel About Negativity?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
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John Bennett says
Quoting: “ The fact is, worrying, judging, fearing, complaining, envying, blaming, hating, and seeking revenge are destructive, debilitating, and emotionally draining.” Doing so is misaligned with our values. Even worse, they can so easily lead to polarized positions, even promoting polarization!
Frank Sonnenberg says
Great point, John. Thanks for sharing.