One of the challenges we have daily is to maintain a healthy attitude and avoid getting caught up in negativity.
The reason why it’s a daily challenge is because negativity is not hard to find. We don’t have to look for it because it’s always close by via different media such as television, radio or social networks, also via daily conversations with people.
It’s not hard to recognise patterns people we associate with regularly have. Some people get their charge or feel significant by being negative and most times, they may not even realise their own behaviours. Without any provocation, people will blame or complain about:
- Other people including co-workers, significant other or family members.
- The weather.
- The traffic.
- The government.
- How expensive things are.
And the list goes on and on.
If we’re not cautious about what we give our focus and attention to, we can easily get drawn into negativity, which will affect our attitude and energy levels. We must be willing to say “no” to negativity in order to be at our best consistently and be true to who we are.
Many years ago, I had a stressful job when I was managing a manufacturing factory which had around 70 employees. One of the biggest challenges I, along with the factory supervisors, faced daily was prioritising which machines could operate based on the number of workers we had available. Absenteeism was a constant challenge.
For a period of time, I used to carpool with one of the factory supervisors and our conversations in the car were usually on what was bad about the company and how difficult it was for us to do our jobs well. Rather than focusing on what we could do better, we found it easier to complain and blame “management” for making our jobs difficult.
At that time, we were not aware we were contributing to problems we faced. All that negativity caused me to focus more on what was wrong rather what could be done to make things better. It wasn’t until years later, after I had left my job, that I got to reflect back on my time in that role and realised that I was a major part of the challenges the factory faced.
Knowing what I know now, it would have been beneficial to spend more time focusing on solutions rather than blaming and complaining about the problems we faced.
We can never make intelligent decisions if we’re in a state of negativity so here are seven ways we say no to negativity in order to keep ourselves in a positive frame of mind.
- Avoid conversations that are not outcome-focused. It’s easy to engage in conversations that tend to be negative without realising we’re in it. One way to overcome this is to focus only on tasks we want to get done or goals we want to achieve. If we’re focused on outcomes, distractions such as negative conversations will tend to fall away.
- Communicate clearly what your values are and what you stand for. If we’re explicit about what we will or will not tolerate, it will be a lot easier to deal with any potential negativity. People tend to engage in negative conversations only with those who allow it. If we willing to say something like, “This is not the type of conversation I want to engage in because I choose not to participate in negative conversations,” people will become more conscious of the type of conversations they have with us.
- Feed your mind with positivity. We can never eliminate darkness by focusing on darkness. We have to focus on creating light. Similarly, one way to avoid negativity is to immerse ourselves in positivity, whether that is through watching or listening to things that are uplifting, or reading inspiring and motivational literature. These will strengthen our minds to focus more on what’s positive rather than what’s negative.
- Be connected to a like-minded community. The people we associate with have a major effect on our attitude. If we want to be more positive, then it makes sense to be around more positive-minded people than to associate withe negative people. It’s beneficial to be around people who have done the things we want to accomplish in life.
- Lead by example. Almost always, we have to look at ourselves first if we find ourselves being drawn to negativity. We have to change ourselves first before we can change something externally. A question we can ask is, “What am I doing to contribute to my current reality?”
- Be aware of people’s patterns and tendencies. Sometimes we cannot avoid negative people especially if they are close family members, relatives or even a life partner. Knowing what triggers people to start becoming negative is valuable. For example, if the subject of politics triggers someone to start complaining or blaming, then it makes sense not to talk about politics with them. We should steer the conversation to other topics.
- Avoid media that feeds on negativity. We’re responsible for what we allow into our minds so it’s important that we turn off things that are heavily focused on negative topics. These include television or radio news, and conversations on social media platforms that are heated and negative. Not only will we avoid negativity, we’ll also gain time to do other valuable things instead of listening, reading or watching things that are not beneficial.
Avoiding negativity should not be something that’s difficult or mentally draining. If we focus on the things we can control, we’ll easily avoid getting drawn into negativity and keep ourselves in a positive, healthy attitude, which is more beneficial to us in the long run.
Question: What is something else we can do to say no to negativity consistently?
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