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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.

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

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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 April 8, 2021

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

In order for you to change your life, you must first change the way you think. If you are new to self-improvement, this is something that you must understand. Looking back at the various figures who have made dramatic changes in their life, there was a point where they had to shift toward positive thinking.

This concept isn’t as simple as it looks on the surface. Much like any habit, there are particular ways to go about tapping into the power of positive thinking and to be thinking positively on a daily basis.

What Is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is precisely what it says. It’s a series of habits and thought patterns that make you see things in a more positive light. One common example is seeing the failures you experience as lessons and opportunities to grow.

Positive thinking encompasses a number of things and impacts our lives in big ways. Positive thinking can create changes such as:

  • The way you talk to people both online and in person.
  • The people you attract.
  • How you inspire and encourage other people both directly and indirectly.
  • Your productivity methods and overall working capabilities.
  • Your stress level and how you manage it.

From this description, you can say that thinking positive is much like a lifestyle. The more positive you are, the more good things will appear around you, even in situations where you experience setbacks or challenges.

Another way to look at positive thinking is the addition of good thinking habits replacing bad ones. For example, how many times have you said “I can’t do that task” or “I’ll never achieve this goal of mine”? By definition, thinking this way will guarantee that you’ll avoid that task and put less effort toward that goal. On the other hand, by thinking “I can do that task” or “Someday, I’ll achieve that goal,” you’ll be motivated to work towards those objectives.

How Does Positive Thinking Change Your Life?

For those who have been in the self-improvement world, you can tell from the points above how your life can be impacted. Things like improved productivity, being more approachable, and more can create ripple effects throughout your life.

Getting into more details, these things can translate to larger things in your life. Some changes that positive thinking will do to your life are things like:

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  • Being able to achieve goals consistently when you set them.
  • A dramatic change in your attitude.
  • Using money in a more intelligent manner to the point you’ll be earning more.
  • Having more like-minded friends.
  • Being more generous and kind to others.
  • Living a longer life.[1]

Positive thinking from this viewpoint can sound like it’s too good to be true, though this is no simple task. It’s not a matter of flipping a switch, and suddenly you’ve learned how to think positive. That said, these are good incentives to be working towards, and there is research behind these things being true.

How to Tackle Negative Thoughts

Another key aspect to positive thinking is that positive thinking isn’t about eliminating all negativity from your life[2]. Our lives do have negative events; you’ll make mistakes, fail, and have setbacks. However, it’s important that you strike a balance between being aware of reality and accepting your surroundings and thinking optimistically.

There is no right or wrong method to pick from, but being able to limit negative self-talk in various areas of your life comes down to a few simple techniques. Here are some examples.

Follow a Precise Guide to Cultivating a Positive Mindset

The guide involves looking for feedback, paying attention to your thought patterns, and rearranging them to accept negative emotions. Other guides will bring you through the process by getting you to believe you can change your attitude all the way to avoiding toxic positivity.

Learn About Your Thinking Style

Are you a logical thinker or an emotional one? Do you focus on the short-term or the long-term? Do you naturally sway toward the positive or the negative? Identifying all of these things can help you get a handle on how your mind naturally works before you go about changing it.

One way to tap into your thinking style is to learn about how you are motivated. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style? One you know your motivation style, you’ll begin to understand yourself and how you think on a daily basis.

Create a Curiosity Around Negative Thoughts

Looking at negative thoughts as something interesting instead of as something damaging is a good step toward giving them less power. When a negative thought comes around, try writing it down and contemplating it for a few moments.

Why did that thought come about, and why are you looking at that particular thing in a negative way? How can you change that thought into something positive?

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10 Simple Habits to Practice Positive Thinking

The methods mentioned above are ways to nullify the impact of negative thoughts. There will be times where you will still think negatively, but the impact will lessen. This is especially true when you incorporate various habits into your life to improve your positive thinking.

Here are some things to consider to help you cultivate a positive mindset.

1. Do One Act of Kindness Daily

Making someone smile has as much of an impact on them as it does for you. Doing good things feels good, which is why many of us feel compelled to make donations to non-profit organizations. The act of charity warms our hearts.

But you can make more of an impact by doing something nice for someone else. Smile and say hello to someone, give someone a compliment, or help them out in a small way if you see them having issues.

2. Laugh More

Along a similar vein, positive emotions cause us to shift our attitude, and laughter is another big one to consider. Laughter shouldn’t be forced though, so make a point of being around people who can make you genuinely laugh. This can be a comedian, a friend or family member, or anyone who can get you to chuckle.

3. Read More Positive Material

Our social media diet is one of the largest influencers of our mood. That, along with television or other video content. If you’re watching or reading content that makes you angry, negative, or hateful, that behavior is going to project onto everything else you do and get in the way of positive thinking.

To change that, you must change how you are consuming content and what you gravitate toward. Make a point of reading some positive news and developments. Another option is to read or watch videos that focus on things that you’re passionate about.

4. Set Goals

Another solid method is to set goals and work to achieve them. This can tackle a lot of negative thoughts as people often set goals and give up due to negative thoughts most of the time.

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Setting goals and striving to achieve them on a regular basis allows you to build the framework to overcome those negative thought hurdles. You’ll eventually stop making excuses and focus on the task at hand.

5. Have a Strong Morning Ritual

In general, what you do first thing in the morning determines the energy you put toward the rest of your day. We all have our usual routine in the morning, and many times that routine doesn’t put people in a space that’s conducive to positive thinking.

My recommendation is to mix up your morning ritual to include some positive things. Examples are doing some exercises, showing yourself some self-love through gratitude and positive affirmations, or maybe doing something you enjoy, such as completing a puzzle or writing a poem.

6. Ask the Proper Questions

Negativity is something that we have to accept, but how we change the impact of it can be through questions. The catch is that you need to be asking the right kind of questions first.

For example, if you’re a pessimist, the questions you’ll be asking yourself are negative. “Why did this happen to me?” “Why do bad things happen to me whenever I try something?” These are negative because you’re painting yourself as a victim, and it does nothing for your mindset but slow you down.

Instead, start asking questions like:

  • What’s one good thing about this situation?
  • What is it that I can learn from these events and circumstances?
  • What is one small thing I can do right now to start fixing this?

By asking these questions, you’ll start to give your brain some tasks to ponder over to solve this situation and gain something from these experiences.

7. Create a Positive Environment

Consuming positive content is one way of creating a positive environment, but there are other things that can influence it. In general, creating an environment where you can be positive is key to development. This means:

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  • Do the things that bring joy and energy into your life.
  • Be around positive people who lift you up.
  • Continue to strengthen that environment by reinforcing standards for what’s acceptable for you and what isn’t.

8. Meditate

Meditation is another morning activity to consider and one to do overall if you want to practice positive thinking. Meditation provides a number of benefits when done on a regular basis.

Meditation provides you with an opportunity to look inside yourself and see what makes you tick. It helps you to look at thought patterns and to begin rearranging them. It’s a powerful method because it adds perspective to who you really are and what you truly think[3].

From there you can make drastic changes by simply meditating.

9. Write Down Your Thoughts and Tackle the Issues

Similar to meditating, consider jotting down the thoughts that come to mind whenever you feel stressed. During these periods, you’ll see that when you’re stressed, you’ll be writing down things that cause you to feel stressed. It could be something extreme, or it could be a series of small things you need to do that have piled up.

The idea is to write out those thoughts and the next day begin working on fixing those problems to make room for a more positive outlook.

10. Read Positive Thinking Books

The last method to boosting positive thinking is to be reading more books on the subject. Positive thinking is a subject that has been researched heavily, and there is a lot of information on it. You’ll find a lot of it overlapping or having similar elements, but it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few books and read what the author has to say on the subject.

While reading articles is great, a book has more room to add more details and perspectives that aren’t otherwise there when reading an article.

Final Thoughts

Positive thinking is not something that can be done overnight. It’s something that takes time as it involves rewiring your very way of thinking and reinforcing habits. It’s not an easy path, but it can lead to many avenues opening up to you in various ways. The road to success and to great change is through a positive and developing mindset for better physical and mental health.

More Tips on Positive Thinking

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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