Do you regularly suffer from negative thoughts? You keep grinding and thinking about the things that (could) go wrong, and you can’t seem to change this.
While negativity can be hard to change, it’s not impossible.
What is negativity?
In short, negativity is always seeing the unpleasant part (negative) and to name it extensively and think about it.
It is often also a ‘brake’ in a way. The moment you start to see more and more things negatively, less and less will happen.
Tired of public transport? You get to fewer places. Too busy social life? Less and less social interaction. Buying clothes boring? You have less and less nice things.
While seeing precisely those things that make life so much fun, but because there is also a negative side to it, it is decided not to do it. That’s a real shame, because those things make life so much fun!
Negativity often comes in the form of a ‘spiral’ as well.
Like a kind of snowball effect, everything slowly becomes less fun or interesting until all the fun stuff is systematically gone. You sometimes see in the elderly that they have become completely soured and that they no longer do anything.
These people have fallen into such a negative spiral.
It doesn’t just happen to the elderly, it also happens to ‘young’ people, but it often expresses itself in a different way and is less noticeable – the stereotype of a soured thirty-something is also less than that of a soured older person.
As soon as you become aware of it, you will catch yourself more and more often and then you will (often) stop doing it.
It also has a much less strong effect. If you think something negative and then immediately think of it: “Hey, but wait a minute…” then that thought often doesn’t stick or is less strong.
It also often helps to put things into perspective. You can stay mad all day that you missed the bus, but does it matter in the long run?
Not really. But if you skip that important thought, you won’t make that connection either.
Dealing with a negative partner in a relationship
Many people don’t notice their negativity – some people are also nagging by nature – or it has slowly crept in over the years.
Yet you have built a relationship with the person and to dump them now and leave them in the cold is also so cruel. Moreover, it is not necessary at all.
Negativity can be remedied in a fairly simple way. Often, just saying it’s there is enough to turn it around.
With great amazement and phrases like ”What, me..?!” and ”Really?!” you will then be greeted and a world will open up for them.
Negativity often transfers to other people.
So if you live in the house with someone negative, there is a good chance that you – consciously or unconsciously – will start to think that way.
Couples who therefore speak few other people continue to ‘infect’ each other and there is little to do. The negativity is then completely ingrained.
Breaking negativity in the house
Sometimes there is a clear reason for the negativity in the house.
There are financial problems, a recent death, problems in the family or an illness of a relative or yourself. The list of possible causes is endless.
Unlike a negative partner who is negative for no reason, there is no simple solution here through a simple “Do you know you are negative?”
So there is a problem here that is difficult or impossible to solve. Then it is still important to remain positive in the situation.
Research has shown that being negative is bad for your health and if things aren’t going well at home, that’s the last thing you want .
In addition, the atmosphere also suffers.
Although that sounds irrelevant, (”How can the atmosphere be important at an important moment like this?!”) the atmosphere also determines. An atmosphere (in a house) is determined by how people feel.
If a home atmosphere is cold and dead, the individuals will feel similar feelings (such as fear and sadness).
A different atmosphere or attitude can therefore help, especially in matters such as (family) quarrels or other problems that arise due to the behavior of people towards each other. Negativity certainly does not help with that and is important to save costs and effort to get this far.
If there are issues to discuss that trigger a lot of negative emotions, consider meeting in a public place, such as a restaurant.
Not only is the negative atmosphere less present (after all, it is difficult to remain angry when everyone else is happy), the chance that, should something go wrong, things escalate, is also a lot smaller.
We Dutch are not so fond of dealing with private matters in public and with this you reduce the worst escalation to someone walking away from the table. Not practical, but it could have been a lot more negative.
Negativity at work
Negativity at work is always an interesting case. Often this atmosphere is not because of you and in some cases you are not even involved.
Nothing to worry about then, right?
The downside, however, is that you spend the whole day in that atmosphere. It sounds harmless, but eventually the negativity creeps in on its own…
Before you know it you are part of the nagging colleagues who are always complaining about everything that is loose and stuck, regardless of whether they understand it.
The worst part is that you don’t even know that you’ve turned into the people you used to hate.
Possible causes are diverse. From your annoying boss who can do nothing but whine, to your colleague who never does anything to the frustrations related to ‘The System’‘.
The endless deadlines and appointments that you always finish just in time and therefore always have to walk on your toes. If the latter particularly appeals to you, take a look at this article.
It is almost always a good idea to avoid the source of the stress as much as possible. If that one colleague really pushes you to the limit, try to avoid all possible confrontation and interaction with them (however difficult it may be!). Because you don’t care about it.
The colleague does not just leave and does not suddenly stop. In the worst case scenario, you are the one who gets scolded by the boss about ‘proper behavior in the workplace’.
What is also important is to be as positive as possible yourself. Be the change you want to see in the world.
How negativity can be contagious and take people over slowly, positivity can have the same effect.
Share some jokes that everyone will like, or a funny personal anecdote.
Although the problem is not solved then, the atmosphere is there in any case. Your boss may be annoying, but at least you and your colleagues can laugh about it together.
Convert negativity to positivity for good: 10 tips
Tip 1: Acknowledge the negativity
Unfortunately, there is no life without negative thoughts or events.
Acknowledge the negativity. That’s the first step. You can only tackle a problem if you acknowledge it, but also if you accept it.
Throwing around at random hoping that you will solve the problem by accident almost never works. Take a look at the situation calmly and how it can best be solved.
Learn here how to let go and break through negative thoughts.
Tip 2: Turn problems into challenges
There is always some responsibility with you.
For example, if you regularly complain about problems, think about how you can solve them. This could be something very simple, for example:
“I could choose to do this laundry now so I can relax tonight.”
Even if the situation does not directly relate to you, you are still the one who has decided to stay in the situation and not change anything about it.
Even in the situation that you have nothing to do with and know nothing about, you are still responsible. You are responsible for how you respond.
Tip 3: Cultivate a new consciousness
Everything starts with awareness.
Start opening your eyes a little wider and start paying attention throughout the day to things you wouldn’t normally notice.
How do you walk? How do you breathe? When should you laugh?
You especially want to pay attention to how you feel when you do your daily rituals.
Awareness is the first step to letting go of negativity.
Tip 4: Take control of the situation
Even though literally nothing has changed, it is important to mentally take control.
The negative emotions are not in control. You’re the boss.
No matter how the situation changes you are still in control and you have the power to change things. Has the situation at work really gotten out of hand? You can always resign.
If there really is NOTHING else to do, you still have control over how you take the news.
Tip 5: Change the way you approach things
The way you think about things changes how you take in news.
For example, you might think, “The move is going to be really tough and I don’t feel like it right now.” But if you train yourself to do that, “Yeah, the move will come with some difficulties, but I’m sure that we will find good solutions,”, then the problem will feel less serious.
Tip 6: Think about what goes well
Sometimes things go wrong, but often a lot of things go right!
If it is equally difficult, think about what will go well: you are healthy, you have a nice job, a lovely partner and so on.
By going through your own achievements and victories in this way, it is actually not that bad in relative terms.
The performance doesn’t even have to be great. Naming the good things is what counts.
Tip 7: Find positive people
Just as negativity spreads itself, so does positivity.
If you surround yourself with people who are very positive in a nice environment and you are (very important!) involved in what is happening, your mood will soon become a bit more positive.
When the people around you are smiling and happy, it’s hard not to be.
A good alternative is singing. Put on a song that makes you happy from an artist you like, turn it on its loudest and just shamelessly sing along.
If your car can drive, you can also decide to drive a bit while you do this.
Tip 8: Take your loss
Sometimes negativity exists because people don’t want to admit they’re wrong.
Maybe in some cases it’s worth asking yourself, “Would I rather be lucky or right?” If the answer is first, consider taking your “loss” and moving on.
It’s not easy and it’s not nice, but then you’ll get rid of it and you can move on. Why would you let your life be ruined by someone else’s behavior? Isn’t that worth it?
Tip 9: Try not to take everything personally
In environments where the atmosphere in general is not pleasant, try to remember that it is not about you, but about the environment.
Try to see yourself as the actor in a play. You as a person are not attacked, it is the role you play.
The insults are not for you but for your character.
By thinking about it in this way, you put the problem into perspective and it is easier to both crawl out of your role and thus put less effort into it, and to crawl into your role and thus also be able to perform better.
If you want tips on how to work on your negative self-image, read this article.
Tip 10: stay in control of your emotions
when something is factual and when something is emotional. In an emotional situation it is difficult not to get caught up in it.
Then try to think about what really happened and what your emotions made of it. Situations often end badly because emotions took over.
Don’t give your negative emotions that chance and stick with what you know and not what you feel.
This also makes it easier to let go of the negative emotions afterwards and let the positive emotions come back.