I used to be a very negative person. When the smallest thing would go wrong, I would challenge it and expect worse things to happen one after another. I would look further and build myself an illusion of other things around me going wrong, even if what could possibly go wrong didn’t really effect me.
I’ve started to realize that being negative won’t get me anywhere. Even if I start going somewhere or start getting something done, negativity clouds our reality. Looking at the things that are going wrong obviously won’t do any good, but sometimes it’s hard to not constantly think of them anyway.
Although I’ve greatly steered away from this mental state, I can’t help but notice a lot of people tend to be the way I used to be.
Notice When Your Negativity Emerges
The first thing I started doing when I tried to get rid of my negativity was notice where I was spending my mental energy, concentrating on something that really didn’t need any attention at all.
If something bothered me and I just kept thinking back to it throughout the day, if I wanted to, I could continuously make it bother me.
It’s like holding a grudge, but not with the purpose of someone wronging you, just with the way something appeared to you that you felt isn’t right.
You have to pay attention to when something does start bothering you that really shouldn’t require any attention and in the back of your mind, you might know it. Even if currently you can’t help but let it bother you, that’s fine for now.
As long as you notice when the negativity in your mind appears and try to figure out if there is a pattern with what bothers you.
Look for maybe whether it’s the way a certain person addresses you in the morning that you just can’t stand, or the way the cashier at a breakfast place didn’t perform as how you liked. They may seem a bit different, but the negativity from other people, not yourself is a sort of pattern that maybe you have a problem with how you view other people.
That’s one way to be negative – probably more similar to the way I used to be – but there’s still that negativity concerning: I shouldn’t have said that, that made me sound stupid, why can’t I ever seem to get it right. Whereas this negativity toward yourself is obviously patterned but may have a deeper meaning.
I don’t have all the answers, but I believe I can still show you how to start figuring out for yourself where your negativity lies and what to do about it.
Avoid Negative Gradient
If you haven’t heard the term – and I hadn’t either until I looked up information about negativity – it’s basically a scaling pattern. It’s what happens when a negative event starts a slope of perceiving these events to be increasingly more negative.
While there is positive gradients, this isn’t as likely to happen because it’s easier to ride off a high of happiness from getting a smile from a stranger, compared to getting an aggressive disgusted look from another.
Think of it like this. Your day starts off with you spilling a cup of coffee – the token sign in Hollywood that a bad day is about to start – followed by getting back a failed test or getting yelled at for being late by a manager.
It keeps going though. You trip in front of a whole bunch of people, you don’t get what you actually ordered for lunch, you tell a coworker a joke that they actually find offensive.
All of these can happen individually on a good day and it would be relatively easy to overlook after a while. But on a bad day, you add it up to the list of things that are pissing you off that day.
Don’t be a victim of negative gradients. This immensely got to me because I would start the day off in a bad mood and I would challenge it and try and see how much worse it could get. Just because I was that negative of a person.
A little insight on how to avoid this, you just have to practice pushing it in the past and remembering that future you will be back at home enjoying themselves once more.
Change the way your day goes so it’s not, “Of course I had to spill coffee right as I got to work. Now I have to try and wash it out in the bathroom,” to instead feel more like, “At least it’ll dry before my shift is over. The color of my shirt barely makes it visible anyway”.
Obviously I’m making it seem simple, but if you continuously practice that, it becomes a lot easier to let things go. Force your brain to change and adapt to what you put with repetition in your head.
Flush It Out
I’m going to be honest, you will always have most of your negative thoughts, I’m just trying to show you how to work around them. How to live with them so they can’t hurt you or drastically change your mood.
If you think of someone who’s happy and rarely negative, chances are how you perceive their positivity isn’t as accurate as you might think.
They don’t live in a picture perfect fairy-tale world. Things still bother them, events can go badly, and they can mess up. But it’s their acceptance of their negative thoughts that make them happy.
Something might really bother them, but they know where that thought came from, how useless it is to keep thinking about, and how to let it go.
Don’t misinterpret what I am telling you. If you shy away from your negative thoughts, you’re just building them up for some giant explosion later on. Learn how to have the thought pop into your head, think about it for a second, be pissed off for a second, but then let it go and realize it’s in the past.
If you attempt to lower your negativity, don’t fight it with positivity. Accept, acknowledge, and flush it out.
Get Professional Help
Clearly I’m not giving you a diagnosis of compiled negative thoughts with a prescription for how to change your life forever. These are just some things that I’ve practiced that really stuck with me because I’ve experimented it on myself.
I didn’t like how negative I was. Luckily, I have a very adaptive personality. I was able to change what I wanted about myself and negativity came up as one of the most important things to rid myself of.
But that’s beside the point. If you really do believe you have a mental problem with this, don’t take anything I say as a doctor recommended method.
I have just told you what I learned on my own and think could possibly benefit other people.
If you feel you need to, don’t hesitate for professional help because I can guarantee you, they know a hell of a lot more than I do.
Overall, I’m sure we can all agree that negativity rarely helps us, if not at all. If you have felt living your life in negativity has bothered you, doing something about it can change the way you view your life.
Your image of the outside world shapes your entire reality, and the happiness you crave forms around your image of that.