Negativity is all around us. Well-meaning people always want to tell you ways that you can make it go away. Often, it feels like an endless chant of:
“Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts!”
“Be positive bro,” or “think positive babe… it will all work out!”
That sounds fine, but is there something you can actually do to combat the negativity in your orbit? Let’s address the positivity mantra first before we go into the three actionable steps that will help you hit the delete button on negativity.
The staying positive part!
Like you, I too was told the same advice. So much so; that being positive seemed to be the new age mantra for success. I was a believer, so I did just that.
Everything I did was “positive.” I sat positive, walked positive, and talked positive. I thought positive. So much so, that I was sure that my blood type (B+) was no longer just a coincidence, but a sign!
And it was all hunky-dory at first… exuding positivity got me what I wanted.
Then came a turn in my life when I set my eyes upon my dream job and, as a bonus, even met my dream man. I set out singing my ‘don’t worry, be happy’ song—but one day turned into two days. Suddenly, it had been ten days; then 20 months rolled over into 10 years!
During all that time, I never got my dream job. Nor did it work out with my dream man! Sigh! More like a nightmare. Then came the hard part… the part they don’t tell you much about.
The reconciling and rebuilding
It took many more years before I reconciled with my dreams and learned to dream big again. Today; we life coaches, therapists, and individuals in similar streams of work are often expected to have it all worked out. Always with it, wise, together, and developed. Am I? Yes, I am.
And that is solely because over the years I have more resources available in my toolbox of different techniques which I dig into rather than drowning myself in self-sabotage.
Yet, do I always have it all worked out? Do I wake up each morning skipping with joy, smiling into the sun, and singing to the birds? Not exactly; I have my bad days too. We all do.
Using these three tools will help us along this journey of keeping the mind focused and aligned with positivity.
For additional reading, be sure to also check out our other article on 5 ways to defend yourself against negativity
Activate the delete button on your brain and erase negativity
When you cannot stop thinking negative thoughts.
When you’ve faced too many setbacks, back to back, and your glass looks half-empty rather than half full, say: ‘delete’ (or erase /backspace /rewind, whatever resonates with you). Then rephrase your thoughts immediately.
It’s time to declare a boycott. Take a stand. Start a revolution in your head by recognizing that the thought patterns you’re living with are not welcome. Stop them. Evict them. If you cannot stop yourself before thinking negatively, you can stop yourself after.
You may be tempted to find this silly. But don’t. Do it. Trust that there is unbelievable power in this recognition and in making the decision that something is no longer okay.
I repeat the word delete in my head… until I am mentally satisfied that it’s completely trashed. Carefully and positively reframe thereafter.
Catch positivity and latch onto it
When you find it really hard to stay positive on your own.
Seek help. Seek inspiration. You may find it in reading a collection of quotes, in a song, in a book, in a blog, poem, or an article. Whatever motivates you.
Latch onto that one thing that gives you just enough to help you hang in there for that one more day. Some may find that solace in prayer. Some in a bit of all.
The brain cannot differentiate between the imaginary and the real. If you imagine positivity; it is likely you will find the strength to bring it back to your reality, driving out the negativity.
I do this by collecting encouraging quotes.
Reach out to a real/virtual friend when the negativity feels like it’s too much
Often, when we feel like we have hit rock bottom, it is difficult to pick ourselves back up again. We need empathy. Somebody who cares to hear our story, somebody who can be that shoulder to cry on; that hand you can hold; who’ll willingly lend you their spine. Reach out to that person today. Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness, but a show of strength.
And if no one in your life currently fits that bill, reach out to a stranger. Someone with a fresh perspective, who doesn’t know all your baggage, who will just listen without judging.
Nowadays, social media has put an additional dimension to friendship and support groups—find one today. The emotional support of friendship leads to better health through positive effects on both body and mind.
I reach out to my husband. He finally came, albeit 10 years late, but I’m pretty positive that remaining positive helped him find his way to me!
What do you do when the negative thoughts creep in? Let us know in the comment section below.