We don’t change, we don’t grow, and we don’t move forward without the work. If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way. -Brenè Brown
Know what gets in the way? Negativity.
That subtle force that drifts you down the shoreline while you swim. And leaves you miles from where you started.
It takes work to improve the quality of your life. It can be an uphill battle. You’re going against the grain of the world.
But we can only change the things we’re aware of. I encourage you to investigate the sources of negativity in your life.
These are some of the steps I took to bring more positivity into my life.
Stop Watching the News
Where I live, being weather aware is a must. Every morning, I’d reach for the remote and turn on the news to start the day.
Unfortunately, all the stories sandwiched between the weather reports planted these seeds of fear, hopelessness, and anger. I carried that weight for the rest of the day. Liz from StrongSensitiveSouls.com said it best in “25 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person”:
#12. You are extremely rattled by very insensitive people and often have strong reactions to them. It enrages you to see how selfish, hurtful and harsh others can be. You find it hard to control your reactions to these people if you are consumed with emotion. This can sometimes lead you to say things you regret.
I certainly care about world affairs. But as an HSP, I struggle hitting the off switch when it came to my emotions.
Sound like you?
The day after the election, I stopped watching the news. My decision had little to do with the results. But if I thought the news was a shit show before…well…heh. Let’s just say I made the right decision for my sanity and myself.
How do I get my updates now? Tweet alerts sent to my phone from my favorite local news anchor and the local National Weather Service. Between them, I get all the breaking news I need.
Try it out for yourself. Go on a news detox for a month. If you can’t go cold turkey, do something to cut back like nixing talk radio on your commute to work. If you’re feeling fearless, don’t read your Facebook news feed either. Take note of how you feel. I swear it’s a game changer.
You’ll be less tangled up in the emotions of things you can’t change and a little more present.
Now that you’re in need of something to fill the news cavity…
Watch Inspirational Videos
I subscribed to YouTube Channels that I knew would produce positive or educational content. I use Chromecast to play them on TV and watched them while my boyfriend and I got ready for our day..
Here are a few I recommend:
- Model Health Show
- Marie Forleo
- Gabby Bernstein
- Tony Robbins
- Tedx Talks
- Kelsey Humphries
Bonus points: We weren’t watching as much TV so we cut the cable on cable and saved a couple hundred bucks a month.
Save cash while simultaneously improving your life. No brainer.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
You ever pick up words from a coworker or classmate and catch yourself using them in other places, around completely unrelated people? *awkward* – right? It’s always that word/phrase you swore you’d never use because it sounded lame/odd/weird/so 90’s when they used it.
But vocabulary is just one facet of ourselves influenced by our social environment. Thoughts, viewpoints, feelings, and overall attitudes are impacted too.
I worked for a small business with disproportionately big problems. It wasn’t hard for the team to find things to bond over, like sharing our disgust with work conditions and other shady BS.
Problem was, when I left for the day, that negative energy left with me. Following me to places it had no business going. I’d unconsciously pick fights with my boyfriend, my self-talk was at it’s worst, and the cloud of my depression never seemed to lift.
Negativity touches everything you allow it to.
So when I started getting real about owning my happiness, I knew if I ever had a chance at succeeding, I couldn’t stay.
And it broke my heart to quit. But the self-love I started developing inspired me to take better care of myself.
Loving and accepting ourselves are the ultimate acts of courage. In a society that says, ‘Put yourself last,’ self-love and self acceptance are almost revolutionary.-Brenè Brown
Since then, I’ve rehabilitated my mental, emotional and physical health, and my relationships with myself and others.
I get that most people can’t just up and quit their job like I did. So, when you’re busting your ass, doing the personal development work, it’s important to become aware of what your surroundings are feeding you. And never underestimate their impact.
Have the courage to make decisions that will protect your personal growth and guard your happiness. Treat yoself.
Picture yourself walking around in your head, handing out nametags to all your thoughts. They say “Hi, my name is THOUGHTS.”
Now, imagine those ‘Thoughts’ as that one gas station attendant new to the area who gives you bad directions. How many times has that worked out for ya? Not exactly the most reliable source of information.
Same with negative thoughts. They’re useless artifacts that likely date back to childhood. Calling the shots about the way you see yourself. Others. Life.
There’s nothing about old beliefs from old memories that screams reliability, is there?
Next time you’re trying to find your way, you know better than to ask any Thoughts for direction. Those name tags really come in handy.
Meditation provides you with the idea to hand out those name tags. So you can identify your thoughts as something completely separate from you. Disidentify.
So how does this help with negativity? Well, if you have a tough time cooling your negative self-talk like me, it helps a lot.
Simply put, meditation makes you more mindful of when you’re having a harmful thought. It makes it more tangible. So when thoughts start directing you the wrong way, you can stop, shake your finger at them and say “I’ve got my own GPS.”
Punt that hogwash to the curb.
An elementary way to describe what meditation does, I know. If you’re interested in reading a well-written article on the neuroscience behind mindfulness, Martina rocks it in her interview with a board certified neurologist with 35 years of experience.
Meditation has played a key role in my transformation. If you already have a practice, I hope this reinforces your dedication. If you haven’t tried it yet, I hope this encourages a start.
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”-Eckhart Tolle
Other ways to bring more positivity into your life:
- Tape your favorite inspirational quotes around your workspace. It’ll promote mindfulness and boost your mood.
- Mention something good about someone being gossiped about. Or you can face it with silence.
- Implement the STOP method to diffuse an emotional explosion. It’ll change your life.
- Listen to podcasts that encourage and inspire
- Find ways to purge your negative emotions
What are some actions you’ve taken to eliminate negativity in your life? Speak on it in the comments below!