Negativity is something we all experience from time to time. Whether it is our own thoughts, or something we face when dealing with people or situations, it is quite natural to feel bogged down or have negative thoughts from time to time.
There are times when things are not going to be ok. 2020 has created enough turmoil in the world and I am sure you have faced your own share of struggles as the world collectively fights the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In this post, I would like to tell you, that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to feel those blues. I will give you 5 powerful yet simple strategies to manage negativity.
What matter is how we deal with negativity and how soon do we snap out of it.
It takes a certain level of practice to handle negativity and gear yourself towards positivity.
Before we proceed to the strategies, I want to highlight something called as the “Negative Bias”
What is Negative Bias?
The negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events. Also known as positive-negative asymmetry, this negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise.
This psychological phenomenon explains why bad first impressions can be so difficult to overcome and why past traumas can have such long lingering effects. In almost any interaction, we are more likely to notice negative things and later remember them more vividly.
Thus this goes on to show why we focus on negative more than the positive and thus we need to overcome our tendency of being biased towards the negative and overcome it, in order to have more postive and fulfilling experiences in life.
Here are 5 powerful strategies to deal with negativity:
The first step to deal with any kind of negativity is to accept that it is there. The moment we acknowledge that we are not feeling too happy and are feeling negative, we win half of the battle.
Many people brush their thoughts away and refuse to accept that they are feeling negative. This only enhances the negativity since it get’s stored up in your mind and is brought out sooner or later.
Acknowledging any unwanted emotion or thought is the first step towards dealing with it.
Anyone can get affected by negativity, even you!
Once you accept that you do feel negative from time to time, you need to identify your thought patterns. Recognizing negative thought patterns as they come up is very important. Here awareness plays an important role.
Once we start becoming aware of our negative thoughts, only then can we start steering these thoughts towards positivity.
The good thing is that negative thought patterns and attitudes are fairly easy to identify, we just need to be willing to do so. They almost always leave a trail of physical and emotional cues.
Physical cues- Muscle tension, headaches and fatigue.Our back hunches and we close our shoulders. Unlike neutral or positive thoughts, negative thoughts make us feel deflated rather than energized. We look and feel smaller.
Emotional cues- Feelings of dejection, doom, anger or irritability.
Maybe it’s that lump-in-the-throat sensation, the desire to curl ourselves up in a ball, or the word “never” in our sentence. Whatever it is, pay attention to the clues. Notice when and how these negative thoughts appear.
Are they most prominent after a long day at work, when we’re hungry and tired, or do they show up more often than not on a Monday morning?
Observe. Be Aware. Look inward and you will find your answer.
3. Question yourself
Negative thoughts are not fun, I get it. But what if I told you that negativity can be useful?
Negative thoughts can give us deep insight into our inner selves. They are the probing lens that reflects what truly matters to us.
What a wound or a cut is to our physical body, negative thoughts are, to our mental and emotional being.
Just like a physical wound needs to be identified, addressed and taken care of in order to protect our physical body, in the same way, negative thoughts and feelings need to be identified, addressed and taken care of, in order to protect our mental & emotional health.
So the next time you complain, worry, or sulk over something, ask yourself: what are the real reasons behind these thoughts and feelings? Don’t stop at the most obvious answer, keep digging. You just might find something you never knew was that essential to your healing, but will go a long way in solving issues which have been bothering you for long.
4. Notice the Positive
Our brains are already masters at capturing and storing negative experiences and news around us, they don’t need us making any effort at remembering the time when we took a tumble on one of the busiest streets in the city or how someone criticized us. Even social media and the news channels thrive on the negative.
We need to balance the equation and tip the scale towards positivity by observing the good things and recalling the happy memories and moments in our life.
It all starts with noticing; Our life as well has things around us.
Have you ever said to yourself something like- ” Oh, I never noticed this beautiful tree in my neighbourhood?”
Many of us go through our day in autopilot mode; we have a routine that we stick to—places we go, people we see, down to the type of food we eat. We stop noticing things because we’re used to things being the same.
It’s going to be challenging at first and it will take some serious effort if we’re not used to observing, but we need to start noticing the good things that happen to us or around us.
You can jot them down somewhere on your phone, or take a picture to help you remember. Make a point to talk about them with your co-workers, friends, and family. That way, you’ll remember them better and the people you share these stories with will also get a positivity boost.
5. Proactive about Positivity
Did you know that it takes at least 3 positive experiences to balance out just 1 negative experience? The ratio goes up to 5 to 1 when we’re looking at relationships. That’s a lot of good things that need to happen in our lives! While some of them do show up when we’re least expecting them, many more require effort from us to make them happen. We need to take the initiative in making good things happen in our lives.
First of all, we need to develop the intention to have a positive experience.
Has this ever happened to you? You go to work thinking you’re going to have a bad day and then you actually do end up having a bad day?
Would you believe me if I said you can have a great day if you intend to have a great day?
When we proactively set out to generate positive experiences in our lives and when we consciously take efforts to make our lives more happier and filled with joy, the results show.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t have negative or unfavourable experiences. It only means that you will encounter more positive experiences and negative experiences will have a lesser impact on your life.
When your intentions change, your behaviours will also change to align themselves with your intentions. Positive experiences happen to us more easily and more frequently when we intend to have a positive experience.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found these strategies useful.
Do apply them in your life and let me know! 🙂