Having a hard time trying to combat negativity in your life? I think we all do at some point in our lives. Whether you are trying to deal with negative thoughts, or negative people, there are several challenges you’ll inevitably face. It isn’t easy eliminating negativity from your life; particularly if the negative behavior has been going on for years. At some point, however, we all must take personal responsibility for our internal peace and take actions to do what we can to better our own emotional health.
If you want to finally let go of negativity and live a happier, more content life, here you’ll discover some great tips you can follow. By the end of this article, you will discover more about your emotions and how negative people affect you. You’ll also learn how to effectively deal with negativity to lead a happier and more peaceful life.
How Emotions Work
Our emotions play a huge role in how we behave and think. While it may seem like they are automatic, you are more in control of your emotions than you might realize.
Scientists have discovered that there are a lot of different things that contribute to t he formation of an emotional reaction. Brain changes occur when you feel happy, sad, or angry, causing physical reactions. For example, when you feel scared, your heart will start to beat faster.
Another thing that happens when we feel emotion, is we start to think differently. Studies show when you are happy, you tend to think of happier memories. However, when you’re sad, you think more about sad memories. It’s like a self-perpetuating mental flow.
Finally, the third thing that happens with emotions, is a change in your behavior. If you are feeling sad, you will typically want to shut yourself away and not talk to anyone. If you are angry, you may seek out a fight with someone.
So, our emotions have three different parts, each seemingly triggered automatically. However, once you understand your emotions, you realize it is possible to change how they affect you.
Are Humans Naturally Hardwired for Negativity?
According to psychologists, the human brain does have a negative bias. That is, it tends to focus more on the negative than the positive. This was extremely helpful when we humans had to avoid being a lion’s dinner on a regular basis. Thankfully, that’s not a valid threat for most of humanity in 2022! (But, there are definitely situations that may FEEL that way to us!) Therefore, when you make a mistake, your mind will automatically dwell on what went wrong. You will focus more on any criticisms, than on the compliments you receive. It FEELS necessary for survival.
Negative thoughts and experiences tend to stay present in the mind much longer than positive ones. The mind can recall negative events and emotions much more vividly than it can with positive ones.
An example of this would be if you have had a great day at work. Everything has gone well, until a colleague said something negative about your performance. From that point on, you totally forget the good things that have happened that day, fixating instead on that one negative thing.
So, it does seem that as humans we are hardwired for negativity. Experts believe this is down to evolution. In the past, we had to pay attention to the bad things to stay alive. Our minds had to be ready for danger, looking out for potential threats around us.
In a nutshell, our negative thoughts are our brains’ way of trying to protect us from past mistakes. Although we no longer need to be on constant alert, it seems our brains never got the memo!
Why Negativity Seems to Impact Us Harder than Positive Things
The reason why negative stuff seems to impact us more than positive things is due to negative bias. This means our minds both recognize negative things more readily, and dwell on them longer. Bad things stick in our memory much easier and can have a much greater impact on our behavior than the positive stuff.
Our natural negative biases tend to make us:
⦁ Lack motivation
⦁ Trust bad news more than good news
⦁ Affect our political ideology
Our negative bias is said to develop when we are as young as one year old. Amazingly, studies of the brain have revealed from the age of one, negative stimuli produce a stronger brain response.
Negative information triggers a more powerful response within the information processing part of the brain. This means we experience a more significant shift in behavior and attitude when we are faced with negativity.
Without keeping it in check, our negativity can affect our relationships, decision making ability, and our perception of other people.
Behaviors and Activities that Negatively Affect Your Mood
Did you know that negativity is often a result of the things we do? Without realizing it, your behavior and activities could be contributing towards your negativity. So, what type of behaviors and activities can cause a negative mood?
Alcohol is a leading cause of negativity, believe it or not. Unilaterally understood to be a psychological depressant, drinking too much alcohol can cause you to fixate on the bad stuff, putting you in a permanently bad state of mind. You may also find you get angry and frustrated when you are hungry. The term “Hangry” has been introduced to identify this common negative emotion. So, if you don’t get adequate nutrition and you wait too long to eat between meals, this will absolutely negatively affect your mood.
Stress is also a major contributor to a negative mindset. If you are constantly stressed out, the body produces excess cortisol. This is known to lead to anxiety, muscle pain, irritability, and an increased appetite.
Another thing that could be contributing to your negativity that you may not realize, is watching the news. Many people make the mistake of watching the news as soon as they wake up. However, you’ll find that most news today is negative. This means, from the minute we wake up, we are filling our minds with negativity.
Social media is another major contributor towards negativity. It is easy to compare yourself to others on the platform, leading to feelings of inadequacy. Many people have also become addicted to these platforms, thanks to the natural dopamine and serotonin rewards we’re wired to receive from “perceived” positive human interaction. So, if you spend a lot of time browsing social media sites, cutting back will help to reduce the negativity in your life.
These are just some of the behaviors and activities that can contribute towards negative thinking.
Mistakes We Make When Dealing with Negative Thoughts
When trying to combat negative thinking, there are a lot of mistakes we can all make. If you want to deal with negative thoughts in an effective way, it’s a good idea to learn more about the common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Some of the most common mistakes you can make include:
⦁ Not changing your whole mindset
⦁ Expecting fast results
⦁ Failing to deal with emotions
⦁ Trying to block out all negative emotions
⦁ Not counteracting them with positive ones
While working to eliminate negative thoughts is obviously the main goal, to do it you are going to need to change your entire mindset. This isn’t easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It is going to take constant work to change how you think. Only once you have managed to change to a more positive mindset, will you fully be able to control negative thinking.
You also need to work on dealing with your emotions. Our emotions control how we think and act. Regulating your emotions will enable you to better control negative thoughts and how they affect you.
It is also common to try and focus purely on positive thoughts. We see negative thoughts as something that need to be eliminated completely. However, negative thoughts are natural, and they aren’t always a bad thing. Instead, we need to focus on accepting the emotion and the things it can teach us.
Finally, a common mistake to avoid is not counteracting negative thoughts with positive ones. A great way to deal with negative thinking is through journaling.
One technique that can be effective, is writing down all your negative emotions and the things that are bothering you. This releases it from the mind, helping us to feel a greater sense of control and mental wellbeing. However, if you don’t look for solutions in your problems, or identify the positive in a situation, it can leave you feeling worse. So, don’t forget to counteract any negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones.
Creating a New Attitude
If you are constantly plagued with negative thoughts, it’s frankly just time to change your attitude. In all honestly, it probably won’t be easy, and it will take time, but it is entirely possible to develop a new, more positive outlook on life.
Changing your attitude is going to help you deal with both negative thoughts and negative people. So, how exactly can you create a new attitude? Here are some great tips you can follow…
Spend time with positive people and in positive environments.
The first step to changing your attitude is to surround yourself with positivity. That means, spending time with positive people and in positive environments.
Our environment and the people we spend time with, greatly influence our mindset and behavior. If you surround yourself with negativity, you are going to find it difficult to feel positive.
So, assess your circle and the environment you are in. Is it positive? If not, now is the time to change it.
Question negative thoughts.
A common barrier to positivity is negative thinking. When you are trying to adopt a more positive outlook, you are going to be plagued by negative thoughts. Instead of allowing them to consume you, question them.
When a negative thought enters your head, acknowledge it, and then counteract it. For example, you may find yourself thinking something like…
“I’ll never be able to change, I’m a failure!”
To develop a more positive attitude, you could combat this statement with:
“Changing my mindset is difficult, but I will succeed, even if I fail the first time”
It is about turning negative thoughts into positive ones, whatever they may be. The more you do this, the easier it will become. You’ll soon start mainly focusing on the positive over the negative.
Look for pleasure in the small things.
Those who are happiest in life, tend to appreciate the small things. You don’t need to wait for something big and lifechanging to happen to appreciate life.
Look around you, what things are you grateful for right now? It could be a new coffee mug you got as a gift, or the color of the sky and the sound of bird song. When you look for pleasure in the small things, you’ll see a drastic improvement in how positive you feel.
Avoid doing anything passively.
Do you feel most of your time is spent on autopilot? It could be that you are driving somewhere and by the time you reach your destination, you have no recollection of getting there. Or you may lack a routine and literally everything you do is done passively.
The trouble with this is that you’ll end up wasting a lot of your time on unfulfilling tasks. This isn’t going to do anything for your mindset!
Your time is valuable, so make sure you are spending it doing things you enjoy. Put all your attention into the things you do. If you are struggling with this one, you will find it useful to practice mindfulness. Activities such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, will all teach you how to live fully in the present.
Make sure you spend quality time alone.
While socializing and spending time with others is important, so too is spending quality time alone. You need time out of your day to focus on your needs. When you schedule time for yourself, you are acknowledging that you are important too.
Quality time alone helps to build up confidence, self-esteem, and it helps to significantly reduce stress. So, if you want to become a more positive person, self-care and enjoying quality time with yourself is important.
Partake in regular exercise.
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost positivity. Plenty of studies have revealed the benefits of daily exercise on the mind and body. When you take part in daily exercise, it releases feel good hormones that are even known to combat the symptoms of depression.
There are many different types of exercises you can do. Find something you enjoy such as a sport or local class. This will increase your likelihood of keeping up with the exercise.
These are just some of the best ways to develop a more positive attitude. Remember, it will take time to shift your mindset. This is especially true if you have had a negative mindset for many years! However, with perseverance and by following the tips above, you’ll successfully be able to build up a more positive mindset in time.
How to Use Your Emotions for Growth
One of the biggest barriers to becoming more positive, is your emotions. Our emotions can be powerful and difficult to control. So, if you want to deal with negative thoughts, you are going to need to learn to control your emotions.
There are several techniques you can try to build your emotional intelligence. These include:
⦁ Learn to be assertive.
⦁ Utilize deep breathing techniques.
⦁ Listen actively.
⦁ Take responsibility for your emotions.
⦁ Don’t ignore the negative.
Each of the tips above will enable you to develop better emotional intelligence over time. When you are more assertive, you won’t tolerate negative people around you. It also enables you to set healthier boundaries. Deep breathing techniques will calm the mind, allowing you to respond, rather than react to a situation.
The more work you put into developing emotional intelligence, the easier you’ll find it to control how you feel. So, now you know how to control negative thinking, what about recognizing negative and positive people?
How To Spot Negative and Positive People
Surrounded by negative people? We all know at least one negative person in our lives. The trouble is these people can drain your energy and leave you feeling miserable.
While the best way to deal with negative people, is to eliminate them from your life completely, this is often easier said than done. Below, you’ll discover how to spot negative people and some of the best ways to deal with them.
Recognizing the Negative Qualities in People
Before you can deal with negativity, you need to recognize it in yourself and in others. Negative people typically present the following traits and behaviors:
⦁ They constantly worry about things they can’t change.
⦁ They complain consistently about anything and everything.
⦁ They put you down and shrug off your success.
⦁ They tend to be self-centered.
⦁ They often envy other people.
These are just a few of the multiple signs you’ll typically see from a negative person. So, what qualities do positive people tend to have?
Recognizing the Positive Qualities in People
Some positive traits you will likely see in a positive person include:
⦁ They are kind to others.
⦁ They celebrate others’ achievements.
⦁ They make you feel good and inspire you after spending time with them.
⦁ They respect themselves and others.
⦁ They have clear boundaries and respect others’ boundaries.
⦁ They don’t complain or put themselves down often.
Put simply, you’ll feel good and energized after spending time with positive people.
How To Deal with Negative People
Now that you have identified the negative people in your life, the question is how can you deal with them?
The steps you can take will depend upon who the negative person is. For example, if you are dealing with a negative boss or colleague, you won’t be able to distance yourself from them like you would with a negative friend.
No matter what type of negative person you are dealing with, here’s some great tips you can follow…
This might be difficult depending upon how negative the person is. However, showing empathy can go a long way to understanding the negativity. Often, those who complain a lot or who have a negative outlook on life, have been deeply hurt. Their negativity might be a way to prevent them from getting hurt again.
When you try to understand where the negativity comes from, you’ll realize it has nothing to do with you. If you can show kindness and positivity, it may be enough to help pull them out of their negative mindset. Of course, this won’t work for everyone, especially if you are dealing with a narcissist. However, showing empathy is a great place to start.
Set healthy boundaries.
You’ll also find it useful to set healthy boundaries. Remember, one of the key habits of positive people is that they set healthy boundaries. You alone are responsible for protecting your energy. However, setting boundaries isn’t always easy.
It could be that you need to spend less time with the person. This would mean learning to say no more often. At first, you are going to feel uncomfortable with the changes you are making. That’s perfectly OK and it will pass!
Don’t take negativity to heart.
You need to remind yourself that things a negative person says and does are not necessarily true. So, if they are constantly putting you down, realize that what they are saying isn’t a reflection of you. Instead, it is a reflection of them and how they feel.
Negative people will try to push their own fears and judgements onto you. Allow them to have their opinion, but don’t let it define how you see yourself.
Figure out what makes that person happy.
All negative people have something that makes them happy. If you can figure out what it is that the negative people in your life enjoy, you can focus on that while you are with them.
Start conversations and ask them about the things that make them happy. Make plans to do something fun together. The key to combatting negativity, is to kill it with positivity. By doing and talking about the things negative people enjoy, it will start to alter their mindset.
Of course, these tips won’t always help. Some negative people won’t respond to anything positive. In these cases, it is essential to look after your own wellbeing. Unfortunately, this sometimes means cutting negative people out from your life.
Tips For Cutting Toxic People Out of Your Life
If you can cut negative people out of your life, it may be the best option. However, that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy.
Rather than just cutting the person out without a word, be honest. Let them know how you feel and why you need to take a step back. It might hurt the other person, but not as much as it would if you were to just ignore them. Think about how you would want to be treated and stay true to yourself.
Once you remove someone from your life, block them on social media. That way, both you and them won’t be tempted to check in on one another. Out of sight, out of mind is the best way to deal with truly toxic people.
Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into an argument. Remain calm, be honest, then follow through. The main thing to remember when cutting out toxic people from your life, is that it’s a gradual process.
Draw More Kindness into Your Life
Once you have eliminated and dealt with negative people, it’s time to start attracting more kindness into your life. There are a lot of ways you can do this, including being kind to yourself.
Begin practicing kindness. You should be kind to both yourself and to others. We already mentioned the importance of self-care earlier. It cannot be stressed enough how important self-care is to your overall wellbeing. So, start looking after yourself and focusing on your own needs.
Practicing kindness with others is another great tip. Volunteering or doing something for a neighbor can help you to develop a more positive environment. Kindness attracts kindness, so this is a great tip for bringing more positivity into your life.
Share your gratitude with others.
Tell and show people how much you appreciate them. Explain why you appreciate them so that they understand how they affected your life in a positive way. You can show your appreciation by helping them do something, being considerate of their needs, and a great way to show your gratitude is to be compassionate and thoughtful.
How to Attract Positive People to You
Attracting more positive people into your life is going to help you become more positive too. Remember, we are influenced by the people around us. The question is, how can you attract more positive people?
Identify the positive, favorable traits that draw you to people. Also, develop positive qualities that other positive people appreciate. If you are currently dealing with negative thinking, you’ll want to overcome that before seeking out new people. By eliminating your negativity, you will become somebody other people love to be around.
Use positive affirmations before you meet new people. These help to boost your confidence and your wellbeing. You’ll also need to be willing to put yourself out there. Positive people aren’t just going to find you, instead you’ll need to find them. Sign up to local groups, start a new hobby, or look for similar minded people online.
There are many ways to meet positive people. However, it is important that you have reduced your negativity to a minimum, first. You will be in a much better position to accept positive people if you have a more positive mindset yourself.
Overall, dealing with negative thoughts and people isn’t easy. However, it is necessary if you want to live a happy, positive life. The tips mentioned throughout this article will help you to successfully switch to a more positive mindset. In turn, this will make it easier to combat negative thoughts and people. You can do it!