Written by Erika Gregg
“At times, life can be stressful. There are moments in our lives when we become negative due to challenging times or unfortunate events.” When life kicks you in the gut it can be difficult to stand your ground and continue to be positive. Sometimes we want to ignore our problems and to admit defeat, but we as human beings understand that hiding from our problems will not make them go away. Carla Shuman states, “If you notice that most of your thinking lately has been negative and it becomes harder and harder to be hopeful or optimistic, it might be time to try to put your thoughts into perspective.”
It helps to see when negativity is changing your mindset so you can take care of yourself better. “Also, you do not want to dampen every situation by finding the negative aspects and focusing on them.” For example, if you are working hard at your job, and you accidentally make a mistake. Instead of learning from your mistakes and continuing to work hard, you give in to negativity, and you become less confident in your abilities.
Let negative thoughts come and go. “You should allow yourself to have negative thoughts. Refrain from responding by saying you should not think that way, acknowledge the thought, and then let it go. Your thoughts do not define you or your circumstances. Some people visualize their thoughts as balloons that float away right after they have them.” It is important for us to understand that negativity is something that we all need to deal with in our own way. To have a more positive mindset it is important to realize that negativity is there, then you want to completely dispose of it. If you let negativity fester in your mind, then you make yourself vulnerable by letting things bring you down. Once you start to let go of that negative mindset you become one step closer to becoming more positive.
Be proactive in gratitude. “It does not matter what kind of day you are having, take the time to think of some things you appreciate. It might be something as small as the cup of coffee that you are drinking or the fact that it is Friday.” Sometimes in life it is hard to be grateful for what you have because sometimes we envy what others have, but it is important to understand that to be able to succeed we must work hard and never give up on our dreams. We all are guilty of being jealous of others, but it is important to realize that you are jealous then you dispose of it without looking back.
Lastly, avoid all-or-nothing thinking. Absolute thinking prevents us from taking each situation as it comes. The frequent use of words like “never” or “always” makes it hard for us to remember that things can change over time and that we do not want to predict the future. Instead, use words such as “often” or “occasionally.” As someone guilty of doing this, it is important to make sure you live life in the moment and never guess the future because things change.
In summary, it is important for us to be more positive than negative. Like Shuman says, forcing yourself to be positive will not immediately turn you positive. It takes patience, and a strong will to succeed in life despite the odds. These examples from Shuman are just a few examples of how to be positive, and to live life to the fullest without letting negativity get in the way. Negativity can affect us emotionally or physically, but we need to press on because life is short.
Shuman, Carla (2021, July 16) How to Escape the Cycle of Negative Thinking, Psychology today.