Feeling negative is human. But remember that thoughts are food we give our psyche. When we ingest a steady diet of negativity, in the form of bitterness, anger, jealousy, guilt, regret, hatred, sadness, and fear, we reap negative rewards. Looping negative thoughts makes our minds every bit as sick as eating junk food makes our bodies sick.
I will admit that I struggle with negativity myself. I believe I’m headed in the right direction in that I acknowledge it and invite it out of my life. But… I still have to take active steps not to let negativity rule my thoughts and hurt my well-being.
On days where negative feelings rear their ugly head, I use some tricks to bring myself back into the light of positivity. Only by keeping positive will I find the incredible happiness and joy that’s available to me as a human being. Positivity is a beautiful gift that allows us to work, in partnership with the Universe, to create the life of our dreams.
Here are three tricks to keeping positive:
1) Quiet the mind.
When times get really tough and I find myself all hand-wringy and sour-faced, I quiet my mind. I sit down with myself and nothing else, close my eyes, and invite positive feelings and thoughts into a brain that has been overworked with tension. Sometimes this takes the form of prayer to the greater energy of the universe where I consciously ask for help lifting myself out of the hole I’m in.
More often than not, however, I simply invite positive words, phrases, and feelings to flow through my head. I ignore the negative ones as much as possible, instead grabbing at any word that has a positive connotation, even if I find myself repeating. (Actually, pay special attention to the words your mind tends to repeat.) Example: “Love, peace, light, hope, happy, smile, goodness, good deed, love, jokes, kids, smile, nature, quiet, peace, health, air, light, hope.” And so on.
Interspersed with the words are feelings (“hopeful, loving, excited”) and flashes of memory where goodness and positivity have come into my life. For instance, in between the words “happy” and “smile,” an image of my mom comes into my mind as she was smiling at me and lifting my spirits on a low day. Or, when I think “good deed,” I remember the time Kevin’s aunt sent a note of encouragement along with some books for the kids in the mail.
After 15 minutes of sitting with your positive thoughts, you’ll feel relaxed and peaceful and grateful for all the good things in your life. The positive words and thoughts will have pushed out the negativity. Quieting your mind like this on a regular basis is a wonderful way to stave off negativity.
2) Write it down, burn it up.
Sometimes your negative thoughts are too much to ignore. In this case, you need to get it out. Often, people will choose to talk to a friend. Although I think this is a great way to make yourself feel better about a problem you might be having, sometimes it makes it worse in that the friend is negative herself and only gets you more fired up. Yes, you feel you connected with your pal, but no, you don’t feel less negativity.
In this case, I would suggest writing the problem down. Pour out your heart in your journal. Tell yourself, in written form, what happened, why you’re upset, how the problem is bothering you. Explain in words what negative thoughts and feelings you have and how you think they’re hurting you. Be honest. No one is going to see this but you.
Better yet, don’t write about your dark feelings in your journal. Instead, write on an empty sheet of paper. Write until your hand cramps and the tears soak through the page. Then, crumple the paper up and– BURN IT. Burn that paper down to absolutely nothing and know that your negative thoughts went with it. This might seem voodoo, but it helps. The human mind responds to ritual. Once that paper is burned up, you can move on in a positive way. You can let it go.
Let’s face it: the world around us feeds our natural urge toward negativity. The media loves pushing the negative news of the world down our throats. We hear every day about war, injustice, inequality, greed, natural disasters, human-made hardship, and poverty. When we get online to check out what our friends are up to on Facebook, we see stories of kids battling cancer, people losing their jobs, and the latest horrors happening in governments across the world.
Ugh. It’s enough to make you want to put a bullet in your head after your first cup of morning coffee.
Despite the negativity in news and social network sharing, we know, deep-down, that there must be GOOD happening, too. We just don’t see a whole lot of that news. As they say, no news is good news, so we can assume a lot of happy stories, good deeds, and positive momentum simply goes unreported by the media and friends. But that doesn’t stop the bad effect of constantly being barraged by negativity.
So, what can we do?
Unplug. Yes, you heard me right. Just unplug. Get away from the connection that is your umbilical cord to the world. Don’t answer the phone (unless you know it’s the most positive friend you have). Don’t turn on the TV. Don’t log in to the Internet. Instead, quiet your mind (see above), take a walk, exercise, cook a meal, or read a (positive) book.
Sometimes unplugging from the world means hiding from people, especially the ones that only bring your mood down by their own negativity. In many cases, you are your strongest, wisest friend and only you know how to climb out of the black hole of your mood. Find strength in yourself.
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious. ~Bill Meyer
How do you burn your negativity when it rears its ugly head?