More often than not, we are told to fight our negative thoughts and focus on thinking positively. However, what if we told you that there is a way to make negativity work for you?
Too much of anything can be bad, and this is true of positivity as well. In fact, a little bit of pessimism may be normal and even necessary. Subconsciously, your mind is programmed to warn you about potential dangers and keep you safe. When it does detect that something is wrong, it seeks more information about it and prioritizes it over the positives.
The problem starts when you begin following a habitual pattern of negative thinking as this is not healthy. This kind of thinking can mar your mental peace and over time, it may become harder to beat the blues!
Dealing with positive emotions is, no doubt, easier than making negativity work for you. But doing the latter is absolutely possible and beneficial. While there are no shortcuts or quick fixes to accept and take negative emotions in your stride, here are a few tips that can help you do so, provided you practice them regularly.
1. Learn to Handle Negative People
No two people are alike. We’re all different, which is why it is important to acknowledge that some people are more negative than others. It is also crucial to anticipate what kind of negativity you can expect from the people you interact with to be able to deal with them effectively.
The trick lies in listening to their negativity and asking for solution-based feedback in return. When you’ve learned to expect negativity, you will not need to spend too much time or thought rationalizing it.
You can get past it and pay attention only to the times when they say something that was unexpected, which will probably be a rare occasion. The idea is to strike when you receive the negative response as you readdress their criticisms and convert them into something productive.
Negative people will always be around, but you can use their words to your advantage by either letting go of the issue or turning it into a positive situation. As long as you approach negative people with this frame of mind, you should have no trouble tackling them.
2. Minimize Impact of Negative Thoughts and Words
Several studies have revealed that the human brain responds more strongly to negativity, so it affects us more easily. So basically, if you’ve had a day filled with positivity and just a single moment of negativity, chances are you will still focus more on the latter than the former. However, there is a way to make this work for you.
While you can neutralize the effects of negativity by finding some happy moments to think about, you will continue to feel bad as long as you’re in that situation. For best results, you can try training your brain to minimize the impact of negative words so that you don’t feel terrible when someone tramples over your feelings.
If you want to achieve this, make it a habit to separate negative thoughts from actions. Simply say negative things to yourself, but follow it up by doing something to prove those statements wrong.
For instance, tell yourself “I’m lazy and never do enough exercise,” and then actually exercise. This will condition your mind to see the inaccuracies in the negative statements.
The more you counter negativity through simple actions, the better you will be able to train your mind to repeat this when someone takes a dig at you. Further, you can turn this into something positive by letting it put things in perspective for you.
When you feel bad about a negative comment, start focusing on the positive aspects. Practice doing this proactively and watch how you blossom into a confident person.
3. Feel Better about the Negative Situation
There is a way to succeed at this too!
Sometimes, we keep thinking about negative things told/done to us in the past despite knowing fully well that doing so can leave us feeling stuck in a limbo. However, there is much to gain from feeling better about it. For one, you can finally come to terms with it.
It is a good idea to write down the things you tell yourself about the past event(s). Post that, ask yourself the following few questions and feel better about it:
- What did you learn from the event(s)?
- Is the learning applicable to real life or is it imagined learning? Justify your answer.
- Did the event(s) lead you to change your thoughts and/or attitude? If yes, how?
- How did your reaction affect your life?
- Did your reaction have a hindering/liberating effect on you? How?
Do the thoughts you immerse yourself in your present reveal the need for inner healing? What kind of healing?
Introspecting on these questions will help you make peace with the incident(s) from your past. If you’re seeing a therapist or have spoken to someone about it, do share your responses with them. It is only when you explore the positive side of negativity that you will be able to feel better and stay happy.
4. Be Open to Negativity to Benefit from It
Being resourceful even under the pressure of building negativity can happen only when you welcome it in your life with open arms. However, this should be a temporary exercise. You don’t want feelings of anxiety, depression and the like to take over your life.
The big benefit of being open to negativity and embracing it every once in a while is that you can take control of it (instead of the other way around) and prevent it from having a grave effect over you. Over time, you learn to stop feeling bad about it and realize that it wasn’t a big deal to begin with.
The key to using negative thoughts advantageously is to listen to yourself, accept your feelings, think rationally, and use self-talk to uplift yourself. With enough practice and understanding of being able to do so, you will realize that negative thoughts are instrumental in alerting you to some real risks that you may be faced with.
So realistically, they help you plan better, make sound decisions, mitigate risks, and achieve improved results. Once you get into the habit of observing your negative thoughts, you will be able to your heal your wounds, broaden your horizons, and bid adieu to the thoughts that impede your overall wellbeing.