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7 Roots Of Negative Emotions You Need To Identify And Weed Out

7 Roots Of Negative Emotions You Need To Identify And Weed Out

When it comes to succeeding in life, your greatest enemy is hidden in your mind, in a form of negative emotions. As Henry Ford said: whether you believe that you can or you can’t, you are right. Negative emotions are one of the main causes for self-doubt, dissatisfaction in life and looking for excuses for not doing something.

Fortunately, they aren’t entrenched in your mind for good so you can get rid of them. The perfect point to start at is determining the roots of negative emotions which is what I’ll discuss in this article. By doing this, you open your way to more happiness and success.

1. Comparing yourself to others.

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.”

Shannon L. Alder

In the world of social media, this became incredibly easy and tempting. As you scroll down your Facebook feed or check out Instagram photos, you are bombarded with highlights of other people’s lives. It’s rare when folks share their insecurity and obstacles. So as you are irradiated with best parts of others’ lifestyle and compare it to your worst moments, it can be really depressing.

The fact is, comparing yourself to others doesn’t serve you well. It’s ineffective to make an in-depth analysis in your mind based only on a surface. Even if some people appear incredibly confident, be aware that they simply developed a higher tolerance of uncertainty. They may still have doubts and problems, but their external self doesn’t show that to the outside world.

If you compare yourself to others, you should give up doing it immediately. The only person you should measure yourself with is your past self.

2. Repeating negative affirmations.

Your brain is a powerful tool, but for most of the people, it works against you by default. It requires some effort to make it function for your good. This begins with replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

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Negative affirmations can literally paralyze your ability to become happy and succeed. Once you repeat them long enough, you start to believe in the wrong vision you created in your mind.

Luckily, the same rule applies to positive affirmations: repeating them over and over again makes you believe in these words. Consequently, weeding out the negative emotions almost automatically.

3. Underestimating your abilities.

You should never judge your skills against your favor. Always assume that you can do something and then go for it. If you fail, that just means you need to put more work into it.

Underrating your competencies boosts self-doubt and lowers your self-esteem which is the best environment for negative emotions to thrive.

Pay more attention to your attitude when it comes to facing new challenges and pursuing your goals. Do you easily come up with excuses and tend to rationalize?

If that happens, try to mute the negative inner voice and listen to the reasons why you can. It will surely impact your confidence and remove the bad energy from your mind.

You should use the internal dialog to help you to find reasons to believe in yourself.

4. Avoiding the full responsibility for your life.

Being content and satisfied involves fully accepting your influence on your life and using it properly. Whether you believe it or not, you are the master of your universe.

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Nowadays, when the technology is highly advanced and people more open-minded than ever before, you can live your life on thousands different ways. The best part is, it’s fully up to you.

Sure, you can point some external factors like the economy or your environment, but as I said, in today’s world you have countless other options.

Blaming factors you can’t control for your problems leads to a spike of negative emotions. However, once you accept that you are the king on your own planet, making a change for better becomes a matter of time.

5. Staying around negative people.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Jim Rohn

Your environment has a huge impact on your thoughts and actions. If you surround yourself with five intelligent people, you’ll soon become the sixth one. If there are only negative folks around you, eventually you’ll spread the negativity just like they do. That’s why you should pay attention to your surroundings.

One of the best ways to weed out the negative emotions is to spend more time with cheerful people. Bellyaches and complainers hurt both you and themselves so avoid them at all cost.

Positive people aren’t cheery and bright by accident, but because they separate themselves from the negative energy.

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6. Looking for other people’s approval.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Steve Jobs

Through socialization, we adopt an unnatural need to look for the external stimulants in a form of others’ approval. We carefully analyze our behavior so that we aren’t judged and pointed out by the society.

The truth is, however, the crowd is a bad indicator for what’s right for you. It’s because the masses aren’t authentic to their true selves. Instead, they stick to current norms and go with the flow.

The fact is, you will be completely fine once you face disapproval. Furthermore, you’ll be proud of abandoning the need for validation.

However, when you keep pay attention to how others perceive you, you become a slave. In lieu of pursuing your passions and sticking to your own rules, you go against yourself to please others.

The unavoidable consequence is a life full of regret which you definitely don’t want to live.

This article is a good starting point to discover the stuff you don’t need anyone’s approval for.

6. Saying yes when you mean no.

The ability to say no at the right moment is what defines a fully grown-up and responsible person. Plenty of adults still struggle to develop this precious skill. As a result, they end up lost in unnecessary commitments, tons of debt, excess obligations and negative emotions.

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You should never agree on something only to please others. This usually leads to problems and actually hurts both you and the person that asked for a favor.

When deep in your mind you feel like you should say no, it’s the best sign to do so. You know better what’s good for you so don’t let others influence your decisions.

Choosing between “yes” and “no” properly is a huge indicator of self-respect and confidence which are one of the key elements for more positivity in your life.

7. Contemplating about your past mistakes.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

L.M. Montgomery

Whatever messy and awkward things you did in the past should stay in the past. There’s no need to regret your bygone mistakes. Instead, learn from them and make sure not to repeat them in the future.

You can’t turn back the clock so stop getting back to unpleasant moments only to ruin your mood. Making mistakes is a human nature and the way we learn.

The real mistake isn’t when you it, but when you fail to correct it.

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More by this author

Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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