It is so easy to turn into the SNL character “Debbie Downer” when you find yourself surrounded by negativity.
Whether it is from negative people or events, we have a tendency to put more attention, focus, and weight on the bad over the good.
That negative bias was, at one time, a needed means of survival.
How to protect yourself from the negativity in your life
After all, if we were paying attention to what could go wrong, we would be less likely to get eaten by something bigger, faster, or stronger.
Where does this negativity live?
Not only do we still recognize and focus more on negative events, so do the surrounding people. Negativity surrounds us in many forms.
It could be the breaking news about a tragic event scrolling across the television, co-workers complaining about a project, or even the guy with road rage ruining your morning drive. Negativity is everywhere. However, there’s good news! Positivity is everywhere too. You just may need to look harder to find it.
Here are 5 ways to defend yourself against negativity:
1. Chose your lens
We all see the world through our own unique lens. We may see things as black and white or through what is called a mental filter.
That is when we pick out specific negative details and focus only on them and either ignore or brush off the positive details as if they did not count or are not important. These distortions make things seem darker and more negative than they really are.
You can catch yourself using these mental filters and attempt to pay attention to the positive in each event and choose a different lens.
2. Ditch the complaining
Complaining is an easy default. Once someone starts, everyone else seems to have something to add. Start off your conversations with other people with a compliment or positive observation. This can set the tone for the rest of the conversation.
You may find that this reduces the complaining and also helps to open your mind to solutions and problem-solving.
Monitor those you spend time with and seek out, and spend more time with people who are positive, supportive, and uplifting. Positivity is contagious.
3. Kick start your day with positivity
Do you know the way you start your day will set the tone for your entire day? When we begin our day consuming negative media we reinforce that negative lens. Avoid social media and negative news and look for uplifting and motivational news stories.
If you like to know what is going on in the world at the start of each day, use media outlets focused on positive and uplifting stories, such as theoptimist.com, thedailygood.org, or positivenewsus.org. Set your intention early in order to maintain positivity throughout the day.
4. Create a cheerful space.
Inspect your environment. Are you in an office or sitting at a desk? Perhaps you can get outside and take a walk during a break. What does your physical space feel like? Is it dark and cold or bright and warm?
Add color and brightness to your surroundings! You can use pictures, plants, or other visual cues that make you feel happy and positive. Bring pictures of loved ones, motivational quotes, and positive cues to the surrounding space.
5. Add fun to your day
Do you wait until the weekend to have fun? Maybe even wait for a vacation? What about right now? What is it you enjoy that you can do today? Perhaps take a bike ride after work or use your lunch hour to read a magazine or call a friend.
Don’t wait for some time in the future to enjoy life, but find little things that you can do every day that bring you joy and positivity. You will be more productive at work if you take breaks to recharge your batteries as needed.
Remember that there is both positive and negative around us, and we can decide which we chose! Want more positivity reminders. Join the Facebook group: Fill Your BAG Happy to continue defending against negativity!