How to escape the grasp of negativity in 5 easy ways

We’re all subject to negative emotions from time to time. Of course, it’s important to recognise negative feelings and they should never be discounted. They help us cope with internal struggles and even those times when we stub our toes on pesky furniture. But letting darker feelings take charge can have devastating effects on our health and happiness, not to mention the wellbeing of those around us. Think about it — next time your friend tells you about their spouse complaining about work to them everyday, you’ll realise it’s taking quite a toll on them.

I’ve put together a few ways that I find beneficial for dealing with negativity in broad terms. These can be applied when:

  • You just aren’t feeling that positive about things/life/work, or
  • When someone else’s actions are causing you stress, anger, anxiety, unhappiness or just irritation.

1. Look for inspiration and set goals for self-improvement.

  • Identify a role model. We all need to know that what we’re trying to accomplish can in fact be achieved. If you can’t think of one, make up an imaginary role model with characteristics that you find admirable.
  • Set goals for yourself. What are you looking to achieve? Do you want to become a more grateful person? Less aggressive? A strong leader? Your personal goals should be based on what you want to become. No matter what yours may be, letting negativity get the best of you will not help you get closer to ideal self.

2. Choose the right crowd.

  • Avoid gossip. Bees are to honey what people are to drama. Don’t get caught up, as a few minutes of gossip often brings out the worst in us. In the long term, there is potential for even more damaging consequences.
  • Trust, but choose the right people. Learn to be truthful with others without oversharing and build a network of peers you can also support. Establishing boundaries and avoiding complainers will help you forge happy relationships.

3. When you feel negativity (from others or from a situation), immediately draw your mind away from it.

  • Mindfulness meditation. Try to be constantly aware of your interactions/body language/emotions/entire demeanor. Obviously, it takes practice but over time you will have greater control over emotions. This equips you with the ability to step back and think before you react in anger, sarcasm, etc. It will also allow you to go to a place of nothingness or calmness, and if you’re really great at it, happiness.
  • Or just think of cute baby goats. Unless you hate goats because of their scary and unusual snake eyes; then think of fluffy bunnies.

4. Be confident in yourself but open to others.

  • Be a good listener. The secret to building strong relationships and trust with others is being a good listener. If someone you know seems angry or frustrated, listen to see how you might be able to help. In some cases, you may be able to change their attitude.
  • Don’t give up in the face of a critic. Some people may try to bring you down and purposely ignore your successes. Others will have valuable feedback that you should accept and view as constructive. Learn the difference between these breeds and try to maintain a positive manner in both cases.

5. Think of yourself as a speck.

This is simple exercise that some of us may have already done on the day we learned about the universe.

  1. Think of yourself as just a person in the building/park/house/etc.
  2. Scale out to a map of the street. You are a dot along this street.
  3. Zoom out some more. You are just a dot in this suburb or city of 1,000s of people. (Unless you live in a reallllly small town).
  4. Out some more… You’re just a dot in this state.
  5. More. You’re just a dot in this region.
  6. More. A teeny tiny dot in this country.
  7. Continent.
  8. Hemisphere.
  9. Planet.
  10. Atmosphere.
  11. Solar system.
  12. Region of the Milky Way.
  13. Milky Way.
  14. A bundle of galaxies.
  15. ∞ Universe. You’re the tiniest speck ever, and so is everything around you.

Let that register at the deepest possible level. It’s just a reminder that in the scheme of things, it’s probably not worth losing your cool or giving up in 95% of your daily scenarios. It truly gives you some perspective and the opportunity to think about how others might see you.

Thanks for reading. If you vehemently disagree, or have your own tips for dealing with negativity, I’d be happy to hear.

Categorized as Life