“What you focus on expands so choose your thoughts wisely and grow flowers not weeds”
Negativity is a hard habit to break. It’s so much easier to look around and notice how awful things are, instead of choosing to seek out the positive. If you search hard enough, there’s positive in every situation. Positive people don’t have an easier life, or a better one than everyone else; they just see the good in everything. Studies have proven that people with a positive outlook recover more quickly from setbacks, heartache, and great loss than their negative counter-parts.
You may think that you’re doomed, because you’re not one of those naturally optimistic people, but that’s just your negativity talking. Positivity is developed and nurtured. There are certainly some people who come by it naturally, but the rest of us have to learn how to be positive and give those negative feelings the boot.
1. For every action, there’s an opposite
Start battling negativity by countering each negative thought with a positive one. Did you over sleep and miss your shower? At least you didn’t have to blow-dry your hair. Don’t have quite enough money for all the things you wanted to buy at the grocery store? Put that high calorie indulgence that’s ruining your diet back and save the cash. No matter what negative event or emotion you’re experiencing, you can choose to turn it around and declare that there is a silver lining; even if you need a microscope to see it.
2. It’s all about time
It’s very easy to realize that good things are gone in the blink of an eye: Our children grow up fast, money is spent, our bodies age. For some reason, we often forget to apply this same knowledge to the bad times in our lives. Bad things seem like they will never end. A broken heart feels like it will stay that way forever. Remember, good, bad, or neutral-nothing lasts forever. So, if you’re working a job you hate, remember that you’re working towards something better. Make the best of every situation and remind yourself that it isn’t going to be indefinite.
3. Fake it ‘til you feel it
I did this for a long time before positivity became my default emotion. Anything that happened was cause for grumbling under my breath. It was exhausting and I was miserable. So, I started faking it until my words really were describing my current mood. Now I’m not saying to lie when you’re really down in the dumps, that’s not a healthy way to deal with sadness. But if your day is going ok, tell yourself, and others, that it’s going great.
Seek out the positive in your day. Walk with a spring in your step, even if your feet still feel just a little heavy. Going through the motions to help yourself fell more positive will help you prepare to be a positive person. The more you use positive words to express your day, the more positive and able to handle things you will feel.
4. Have a feel good play list
Music affects us on such a profound level. The type of music we are listening to at any given time can completely shift our attitude and behavior within just a couple of minutes. It’s no accident that there are certain stereotypes for each genre of music. People who favor classical music are calm and steady, listening to metal or hip-hop at the gym motivates you, and too many sad songs in a row make us sad, and so on.
Take your music player and create a few playlists for specific situations. If you’re trying to feel happy, make a playlist that’s made up of only songs that make you happy. If you need to get pumped up for an interview, a work out, or a tough day, hip-hop is the way to go. If you need to relax or focus, go for classical. If you already have playlists labeled to help you shake a negative attitude or to motivate you to conquer a difficult task, then altering your mood can be as simple as hitting “play”.
5. Take a walk
15-30 minutes of walking each day isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your mind. The chemicals released when you walk, especially outside with the fresh air and sunshine, help clear your mind so you can look at things with more clarity. Once your head feels clearer and you can look at a negative situation with fresh eyes, finding the positive spin on the situation is much easier.
6. Don’t take it all so seriously
There are so many times I look back at the negative me, the one who saw shadows in the brightest sunshine, and I wonder why something bothered me that much. There’s so many small things that threw me into a tailspin, ruining my entire day. Looking back, I feel a little ridiculous. Being punctual is important, but did that 5 minutes I was late one time cancel out all the times that I was early? Or all the times I packed two days’ worth of work into one without complaint? It doesn’t. 5 Minutes only affects as much of your day as you let it. There are so many little things that can be let go. Instead of freaking out when the person next to you spills something on you, tell them it’s not that big of a deal. Resist the urge to be negative about things that don’t really matter. Life is so short, don’t waste it being mad about the little things and allowing them to bring you down.
7. Find some perspective
No matter how bad your day/month/year or life is going, there’s always someone who’s got it worse. That doesn’t mean that your struggles and feelings don’t matter. But it does mean that you can choose to see that something simple, like having a flat tire, is not as horrible as totaling your car. Burning your toast and ruining breakfast is not as bad as not knowing where your next meal will come from. Step outside yourself for a moment and look at how many positive things you have in your life right now, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.
Now that I don’t find the negative in all situations, I notice so many people who do. It’s hard not to walk up to them and explain that they’re wasting so much energy and valuable time on being negative; it’s a choice after all, just like positivity. We all have a chance to be happy and positive about our life, even when things are going poorly. But, people have to find their own motivation to change, and they have their own timetable. When you’re ready to say goodbye to negativity, it will be easier than you ever imagined!