Negativity is a big part of life that often crowds out our better thoughts leaving us down and in the dumps. How do we start controlling our emotions instead of letting them control us? The first step to having positive thoughts is saying no to negativity. It might sound difficult, and it can be, but with enough practice, you can learn how to turn those negative feelings right around and start feeling better about yourself, your experiences, and your life.
Pinpointing What Makes You Feel Negative
The first step to learning how to say no to negativity is figuring out what makes you feel negative. There are several things that can make you feel bad, and you might be surprised to find out that some of these things aren’t at all what you expected.
There are many articles written to help you overcome your social anxiety. Look at some of the items listed below and see if these major negativity triggers have ever made you feel worse. Try and be objective about your emotions!
Believe it or not, social media is one of the top subject that can cause people to feel negative. Think about it! How many times have you been on Facebook and you’ve read an article that has left you feeling worse than how you felt before you started reading it? How many times have you seen a post someone’s made on their social media that has left you fuming? Be honest.
How many times have you ended up in a Facebook debate about something with your friends or family that leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth? Social media can be great for socializing, for keeping up with your friends and family, and for having a place to organize your photos and experiences. However, it can end up being a hotbed for negativity.
While it can be fun to have a debate about politics, it can also end with people having hurt feelings and sour tastes in their mouths. If you’re very particular about your political views, arguing with someone who has the opposite opinions can lead to negative feelings between the two of you, and you might find yourself reliving the argument hours later. Sometimes it’s hard to find any positive thoughts about an opposing viewpoint.
Some people are great at debating. They enjoy hearing other peoples’ opinions and keeping an open mind, so they can learn from the discussion. You might not be one of those people, though. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s important to be honest with yourself and know whether you can engage in a debate without taking things personally.
It might sound strange that advice can lead to negative feelings and emotions, but it certainly can. When someone suggests a new way to do something, or offers advice on your parenting or your relationship, you might take this as an insult to the way you’re currently doing things.
An example would be if you washed a load of laundry and it takes forever to dry, someone might suggest that next time to split it into two loads. This advice is meant to be helpful, but it can lead to you feeling inferior or looked down upon.
It’s necessary to remember that just because someone is offering you advice does not mean that you’re doing something wrong!
If you’re like the rest of the world, you have specific interests you enjoy when it comes to entertainment. For example, you might not like horror movies, but you might love romance. You might hate rap music but adore classic country. There’s nothing wrong with this.
Everyone has things they like and dislike. However, being forced to indulge in someone else’s favorite entertainment can lead to you feeling irritated and moody. If you must watch that horror movie or listen to that rap music, you can end up resentful and full of negative emotions.
That’s not to say you should never compromise and watch something that your significant other, friend, or family member enjoys, but you need to make sure to keep a good balance. Come up with some kind of routine that allows for you to have time to do things you enjoy as well.
Understanding Your Emotions
Once you’ve figured out what sort of things make you feel negative, you can move onto the next step, which is understanding your emotions. You might not even realize you’re feeling negative even if you have all the symptoms of a bad mood!
On the flip side, you might not notice or appreciate when you have an emotion that makes you feel valuable and appreciated. It’s important to understand your own emotions so you can better realize how to control them.
Everyone likes feeling happy. When good things happen, you’re filled with a sort of light that can propel you throughout your entire day. When you’re happy, you are more receptive to positive energies. How do you recognize happiness, though?
The first step is to make a list of things that make you happy. These feelings can encompass many emotions such as excitement, contentment, and relaxation. Surround yourself with people and events that provoke these feelings and you’ll find that negativity has a harder time sneaking in. Discover more ways to find happiness in your every day life.
One of the most negative feelings you can have is sadness. When you’re sad, everything seems worse. Suddenly that post on Facebook from your ex-partner seems like it’s aimed just at you to make you feel worse about your relationship and life. Suddenly that well-meant advice about how to properly heat up a baby bottle makes you feel like you’re the worst mother in the world.
Everyone has moments where they’re sad, but it’s important to realize what you’re feeling and find out what brought about this emotion. Were you checking out your ex’s social media because you were feeling lonely? Were you thinking about that baby bottle advice because you’re exhausted and don’t know if you’re doing things right?
These are normal feelings but it’s important to recognize them for what they are, and act based on the truth and not on assumptions.
Just like feeling sad, feeling angry can leave you feeling emotionally drained and just ready to throw your hands up in the air and quit. What brings out your anger, though? Once again, it’s important to think about what triggers this emotion. Did someone hurt your feelings? Did you miss out on a great opportunity because of something out of your control?
Sometimes anger is justified but sometimes it’s just a reaction to our own personal feelings and can get away from the actual cause and seem like it’s from something else.
Learning to Block out Negativity
Even after you’ve pinpointed what causes your negative emotions and you’ve learned how to recognize what’s causing your emotions, you might still be confused on how to say no to negativity.
There are some easy steps to take like avoiding situations where you’re going to be triggered into negative thinking patterns. For example, if you’ve noticed that you’re always upset after reading Twitter, perhaps you should consider staying away from Twitter. However, you can’t just walk away from everything that might make you upset and so it’s important to learn how to handle these emotions.
Set Realistic Goals
One of the very first things you can do to feel better about yourself is to set realistic goals. If you need to lose fifty pounds, you should set a goal to lose five, then ten, and son on. By setting your goal at fifty, you’re going to feel negative every time that you get on that scale.
There are many examples that relate to this. You might decide that this is the year you’re going to write that novel you’ve been planning. Instead of setting a goal to finish the book in six months, set a goal to write a certain amount of time each week.
These smaller goals will give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach them and that will help keep you thinking positively.
Focus on ‘Challenges’ Instead of ‘Problems’
When you view something as a problem, you’re automatically assigning a negative emotion to it. For example, if you need to finish a work project by Friday and you’re far behind, this might seem like a problem.
You start immediately thinking of it in a negative light and you’re less likely to get things finished because you’re going to be tried and run-down by trying to solve a problem.
If, instead, you view it as a challenge that needs completed, you’re assigning a positive emotion to it. If you get it done, you’ve accomplished a great feat instead of simply meeting a goal. Instead of losing money, attract money through positive thoughts.
Stop Saying No
If you’re a naturally negative person, you might tend to answer ‘no’ to new ideas and perspectives. This doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything, especially if it doesn’t make sense. It just means that you can take a moment to think about an answer. Think positive thoughts instead of negative ones.
When a new idea is presented, change your default answer from an immediate ‘no’ to a ‘I’m not sure, give me a minute’. This will give you the time you need to make an accurate decision instead of defending the ‘no’ you already made just because you don’t want to change your mind.
Show Off Your Accomplishments
Having a physical representation of our achievements can make us feel better in general. If you have won an award, then display it! Ordered new business cards, keep one on your desk. Are you a published author? Whether it’s an article or a book, keep it around so you can see it.
On this same note, keep positive things around you even if it’s not showing off an achievement. For example, if you enjoy all things related to Doctor Who, you might want to keep your Doctor Who paraphernalia somewhere that you can easily see it. This doesn’t mean you should let your happiness be reliant on material possessions but it sure is nice to have things you like.
Work on Your Critical Thinking
Some people are just naturally critical thinkers. When they see a new idea, the first thing they do is like for the negative aspects of it. If a family member presents a new layout for the living room, immediately their mind might jump to how much work it is, and how little it will accomplish.
It’s fine if you’re a critical thinker – just don’t become a critical person. You can do this by saying, ‘Okay, it’s true that it’s a lot of work, but what else is true?’ This will give your brain the opportunity to see both the positive and negative sides of things and be able to draw a conclusion that makes sense without dwelling on purely the ‘downside’.
Wake Up Feeling Positive
When you wake up, your attitude for the morning will set your attitude for the entire day. If you immediately begin thinking of everything you must get done or wishing the kids had gone to bed sooner so you could get more sleep, or complaining that your partner’s snoring was too loud, you’re setting yourself up to have a negative day.
Instead, focus on positive things. Ask yourself what you’re excited for. Think about what you want for breakfast. Remind yourself of what you should be grateful for.
Saying No to Negativity
The most important thing you can do when saying no to negativity is exactly that: saying no! When you have a negative thought, think ‘pass’, and focus on something positive. It might not be easy, especially at first, but it’s worth the pay off in the end.
Here’s our secret to keeping positive thoughts: just keep your chin up, avoid things that you know will put you in a bad mood, and celebrate your successes instead of your failures. You’ll find that once you put these tips into effect, your mood will go up and your life will start looking a lot more sunny!