Our society is prewired to focus on the negative.
When we hear a mixture of good and bad news, what do we remember?
When we ask for feedback and get the same mixture of positive and negative, what do we do?
We automatically focus most of our energy on the negative comments, thereby creating a negative environment in our minds and bodies.
This is nothing new, but is it healthy to be surrounded by this negativity every single day? I would hope that everyone would agree with me that it is not only unhealthy, but also detrimental to our health.
Let’s delve into this a bit further. When we encounter negativity at work, at home, with friends, wherever it may be, we tend to internalize that negativity and reciprocate it back to the world and to ourselves through our thoughts, words, and actions.
Now, I want to make the distinction between these two effects.
First, when we receive negativity from our environment, we reciprocate it back to the world through our thoughts, words, and actions. This can manifest itself in vibes of moodiness, irritability, and self-righteousness that we send to those around us, whether at work, home, or wherever we spend most of our time. Our entire being may succumb to this negativity, causing us to carry a negative “aura” with us.
The second effect of encountering negativity in our life is our tendency to internalize the negativity and begin to see our own selves through a negative lens. This may manifest itself as poor self-image, body image, or even a general unhappiness about bodies, personality, physical appearance, etc.
And, the sad part is, that although these are two distinct effects, they are very interdependent on one another. They almost feed off of each other.
Say we encounter negativity from our boss at work, who is never satisfied with the work you turn in. So, in response to the negativity and pessimistic attitude, we internalize the negativity, go home, and lash out at our families for small little things. Then, we look in the mirror and begin to yell at ourselves because our bodies are looking the way it “should” or doing what it “should.” It turns into a vicious, negative cycle.
Does this make sense? The circle of negativity is vicious, and it spreads to all aspects of our lives. It plows over smiles and positivity without much effort, seeping into all the corners.
Of course, there is hope to stop the negativity in its tracks, and it starts with opening your mind, embracing a spirit of consciousness, and cultivating self-awareness.
When we start taking a step back at our own thoughts, words, and actions, we can start to see the trail of negativity forming. Maybe we are even able to trace it back to a couple of main sources. Is it stress at work or in your family? A sense of loneliness? Pressure from our parents, family, spouse, etc?
When we are able to become more self-aware and recognize the triggers in our lives that cause us to become more negative, we can activity start to avoid that negativity and embrace the positivity in our lives.
Well, start by writing down a list of people, places, or things that truly make you happy. Maybe it’s talking to a particular friend that always makes you feel better, or taking a walk outside in the sunshine. Whatever it is for you, write it down.
Next, write down all that brings negativity and stress into your life. Work, family life, relationships, friendships, etc. Be specific.
Now, look over your two lists. Obviously, you can’t eliminate everything on your negative list, nor can you just add everything from your positive list to your everyday life.
However, what you can do are these two steps.
One – Aim to do or experience one item off of your positivity list every day. Just one! It doesn’t have to be huge or overwhelming. It could be something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for or taking a five minute walk. Whatever makes you happy and reinforces those positive vibes for you is perfect.
Two – Take a good, hard look at your negative list. What items on that list can you eliminate or lessen in your life? It doesn’t have to be overnight or immediate – you can taper off. Obviously some are harder than others to rid yourself of, like a job or boss. But what you can do is change your mindset and attitude about the person or situation and become more aware of the negativity in the situation. Resolve to not let it influence your mood or life anymore.
I know that was a lot of food for thought today, but I hope that it was valuable for you. We cannot spend our lives surrounded by negativity without feeling its effects. By becoming more self-aware of the negative sources in our lives, as well as our own negative thoughts and actions, we can make a positive world happen. It all starts with one conscious thought.