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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

How to Stop Being Negative About Everything in Life

How to Stop Being Negative About Everything in Life

For many people, being negative is just a part of life. Maybe they’ve been negative their whole life or some recent event knocked them sideways, and now they’ve just come to accept that way of thinking, but this article will show you how to stop being negative.

Not only do you have news and social media working hard to flood you with sensationalized stories each day, but you also have your own mindset working against you. We each have our own inherent negativity bias[1] where the bad stuff tends to stay around much longer in our mind than anything positive. This was a survival mechanism back in hunter-gatherer times, but no longer serves us.

Always being negative is something that you can train yourself out of with a little bit of practice and perseverance. You can attract more positivity into your life.

1. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude can take many forms. You can simply take a look around you and make a mental note of everything you are grateful for. Soon, you will start to realize how good you’ve got it.

Generally speaking, the more creative and big-thinking you can get with your gratitude practice, the better. If you’re in your room, you can be grateful that you have a bed, a roof over your head, soft sheets and a nice pillow. If you’re in a coffee shop, you can be grateful for the pleasant atmosphere, the taste of coffee on your tongue, and so on.

Your gratitude and happiness are only limited by your imagination.

2. Realize What You Can and Can’t Control

A big reason for getting upset is you may not realize what you can and can’t control. Letting go of the things that you can’t control, and doing your best with what you can, are some of the keys to living a more positive life.

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You may see an awful event happen on the news. It’s tragic, but is there anything you can do about it? No, but you are still left with a lingering sense of negativity when you turn the TV off.

Whether it be events in the past or in the future, the answer is always the same: if you can control it, why worry? If you can’t control it, why worry?

3. Cut Off the Negative Sources That Feed You

As briefly mentioned earlier, negative sources in your life are likely feeding you a large amount of negativity. The longer and more frequently you get your fixes from them, the longer you’re going to be negative about everything.

Some of the most common sources of negative energy are the news, social media, toxic friends and toxic relationships. As a general rule of thumb, if someone complains more often than they are enthusiastic, they are adding a net-negative influence on your life. You should re-evaluate what they are doing to your mental health.

4. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

It would be quite naive to think that negativity is something that can be permanently banished. Nobody can be 100% positive all the time, nor should they be expected to be. Negativity, while it can be reduced significantly, isn’t something that you should want to completely eliminate from your life.

That is where mindfulness meditation comes in. This form of practice is all about not engaging with or becoming identified with thoughts. Instead, you watch thoughts come and go, as if from someplace further back. It may sound a bit woo-woo at first, but mindfulness meditation has plenty of scientific evidence[2] to back up the benefits.

When you’re able to take a step back from your thoughts and feelings, you can watch them without judgement, and without getting caught up in a net of strong emotions. The same is true for negativity, which is just a series of thoughts like any other. With a little bit of practice, you will be able to feel a negative emotion come on. You can then say hello and watch it drift by, only to be replaced by another thought. How good does that sound?

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Negativity and negative thoughts only stick around for as long as you hold onto them.

5. Try Journaling Your Thoughts

If you are negative about everything, your head may be a bit of a mess. You might even be skilled enough to watch your negative emotions arise, but then try to fight them or reason with them. Words, thoughts, and the like all swill around in your brain until you feel overwhelmed.

Breathe.

One of the secrets to becoming a less negative person is to journal your thoughts on a piece of paper. Rather than thinking through everything in your head, see if thinking through writing makes any difference. More often than not, people who are clouded by negativity have the biggest breakthroughs when journaling.

Maybe you write down one thing that is troubling you. You may find more clarity seeing problems and other negative influences written down in front of you.

More often than not, you realize that you were making a much bigger deal of them in your mind than they actually are.

6. Smile (Even if you Have to Force it)

It may sound simple, but forcing yourself to smile is one of the fastest ways to improve your mood and quash negativity within yourself.

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According to an article in Forbes[3] as well as many other scientific papers, simply smiling for a few seconds is enough to change your whole brain chemistry, which of course affects the rest of your body.

A smiling expression triggers the release of the “happiness chemicals” neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine into your brain. They then begin to improve your mood.

If you constantly feel like negative thoughts are weighing you down, give smiling a try.

7. Eat Healthy

It may not come as a surprise that what you put into your body as fuel impacts your mood.  You rarely find an extremely healthy but negative person. If your diet isn’t up to scratch, you can fix that.

According to an article from Harvard Health,[4] the vagus nerve connects the brain and the gut. Because of this, you want to eat more nourishing foods and cut out packaged, processed foods whenever possible.

One recent study[5] suggests that eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding inflammation-producing foods may be protective against depression. Another study[6] lists foods like oysters, watercress and spinach as foods containing the most antidepressant nutrients.

8. Exercise

Just like eating the right foods, exercise is another cheap and reliable way to turn your negative self-image into a more positive one. You don’t even need access to fancy weights or a flashy indoor bike to get the benefits, all you need is your running shoes and a little bit of willingness to change.

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There is no shortage of scientific articles linking exercise to a better mood and a more positive outlook on the world. According to Better Health,[7] exercise has a whole host of connections with mood including:

1. Exercise helps chronic depression by increasing serotonin (which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep and appetite) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which helps neurons to grow).

2. Exercise reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.

3. Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters

4. Exercise helps by getting your sleep patterns back to normal. We know getting enough sleep can protect the brain from damage.

Whenever you feel yourself becoming more negative than you would like to be, get your sweat on and see how you feel once you resume normal life!

You Can Beat Negativity!

Of course, none of these pointers will do you much good if you don’t believe. You now know how to stop being negative, but in order to change, you must believe you can.

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With these eight effective tools at your disposal, you now know how to stop being negative and start becoming the more positive person you want to be.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Daniel Riley

Daniel is a writer who specialises in personal development and helping others become the best version of themselves.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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