While we know being around and participating in negativity is not beneficial to us, removing ourselves from it can sometimes be challenging. This is especially true if the environment we’re exposed to is an unhealthy, negative environment.
At times, recognising that we’re in a negative state such as complaining or getting frustrated, can be useful because we can use it to identify what we prefer instead. On the other hand, if we allow ourselves to remain in a negative state for any prolonged period of time, it can:
- Destroy our creativity.
- Affect our behaviour and how we interact with others.
- Decrease our productivity and effectiveness.
- Cause others to avoid us, which can be costly in the long term.
If negativity is not good for us, then why do we find it difficult to remove ourselves from it?
Negativity is not something we can easily avoid or pretend it is not around us. As James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh, wrote, “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
We must continuously generate positivity because if we don’t, negativity will automatically take root in our thoughts, which in turn, will affect everything we do. Here are five simple things we can do daily to free ourselves from negativity so that we can be in a healthy, positive state of mind on a more consistent basis.
- Heighten your awareness of what is going on around you. We must become better at reading the situations we find ourselves in. For example, if we’re at work and there has been an event which is causing people to react in a negative way, then it will be best not to engage in conversations with colleagues at that time. Alternatively, we can take the lead and encourage others to find something positive in an event that may be deemed to be negative. The more aware we are, the better we’ll be able to respond to a situation we find ourselves in.
- Stop looking for negativity in others. When we start focusing on the things we find negative about another person, it puts us into a state of judgment, which means we are being negative ourselves. If we think someone is being negative, one way to turn it around is to ask ourselves, “What could be going on that is causing him or her to act differently from how they normally do, and what can I do to help?” Suddenly, we’re now focusing on a solution rather than focusing on what we don’t like about the person.
- Stop globalising events or experiences. Have you ever found yourself saying something like, “He does that all the time” or “People like her are all the same.” If someone does something that is not in harmony with our values or expectations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all our future experiences with that person will be similar. When we globalise events, it is a reflection of how we look at the world, which also influences our daily experiences. It is helpful to treat every event or experience on its merit.
- Stop focusing on the worst-case scenario. Extreme thinking is not helpful. A project management and goal achievement technique is to identify risks and weaknesses, which can be useful. The danger is if we start giving it too much attention, which means that instead of focusing on the opportunities or solutions, we will focus more on what could go wrong. Instead of asking, “What could go wrong?” ask “What could I gain if this worked out the way I’d like it to?”
- Take more responsibility for your part in all your experiences. Things don’t always “just happen.” For example, the traffic did not make us late — we made a choice to leave at a certain time to get to where we wanted to. If we experience something in life, we had a part to play in the creation of that experience. Granted, sometimes there are unavoidable experiences, however, if we adopt the mindset that we are responsible and come from a place that if we act as if we are totally responsible, then we accept that we have the ability to influence all our experiences.
Being negative is a choice just as being positive is. We have to choose which state is more likely to give us the outcomes we want. The best way to determine that is by looking at our current results. If they are not what we want them to be, then it is time to make a different choice.
Question: What is another simple way to remove ourselves from negativity?
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