Your manager is always optimistic about you. You regularly receive compliments and good feedback from customers. In short, you are baked. Yet you received criticism last week, and that is all you can think about. How bad am I doing and I’ll be fired soon. That negativity is slowly starting to kill you, and that has to change.
Combat negativity with these tips.
What can I do to combat negativity?
It is a natural thought that everyone runs into, the “ negativity bias.” That means that humans are built so that we take negativity more seriously than positivity, and everything negative has a greater (negative) impact on our mental health.
This also explains why you can spend a whole day with your partner where everything is nice and cozy, but only one annoying thing has to happen that ruins your entire day.
The same applies to the fact that everything went smoothly the past month at work, but that one point of criticism left you in sackcloth and ashes for a whole week.
Read here how you can change your mind:
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Good to know: our brain likes to do things the way you always do. Like no one in the office is happy with a new boss who wants to change everything – because people don’t like change – your brain has become attached to your negative thoughts, and it will take some time and energy to shift to positive reviews.
So don’t expect a 180-degree switch in your mind within one day and give yourself the time and space for that growth.
Create space for positivity and make it concrete
It’s easy to say to think positively. Your brain is continuously pulled back to what is known, and that is precisely that negativity. So make it concrete for yourself. You can choose one positive word of the day every day.
It may sound silly, but since it’s a simple task, it’s worth a try. For example, if a mistake at work makes you feel stupid that day, your word is smart. If you feel negative about your appearance, your word is attractive.
Slow vs lively, s*xless vs seductive, anxious vs confident, and so on. Pick one word of the day or pick some important ones and repeat them.
Go through them in your head every morning and evening and make this a habit, possibly think about which of these things you have already recognized in your day(s) or how you will apply them. In this way, your brain becomes more and more familiar with positive words and positivity in general.
Reduce your negativity
Chances are, your thoughts probably have a lot more to do with your negativity than with the situation you’re in. If you go bad on that one critique in between all those compliments, that negative feeling you get from it probably has more to do with how you perceive negativity than the critique itself.
You are creating your reality. You can find out whether this is indeed the case by reducing your thoughts to the core in such situations through self-reflection:
- Do you often expect that everything will end very badly?
- Does it often happen that you (almost) only have an eye for the bad things and less for the good things?
- Do you ignore positive things and diminish their value in your mind?
If you recognize yourself in one of these three things, it is possible to turn your negativity into positivity. Do that by then asking yourself the following questions:
- How can this situation turn out better than I expect?
- What are the positive elements of this situation?
- What about these positive elements is important and valuable to me?
In this way, you will see the positive in the situation, but on top of that, the positive elements will also gain more importance and weigh more heavily.
Check your thinking style
Do you often feel that your contribution to the world is poor or of no value? For example, it makes no sense to buy ecologically responsible clothing because no one is doing it. Come on, dear, this isn’t about what others do; it’s about what you can do.
You are aware of ecologically responsible clothing, and that is what matters. Try not to worry about the things you can’t control, but only the things you can do something about. That way, you avoid feeling bad about anything you do, even if it’s something positive.
What is also possible is that you experience the exact opposite. Do you blame yourself for things you are not guilty of? So when friends do things you don’t like, you still worry about it and make yourself feel like you need to change something.
Again, it is important to recognize that you only have control over your actions; everything others do is out of your control, so you should try to shake that off. You’re doing your best, and it’s important to see that for yourself. You can’t do more than that.
Break the cycle
The set pattern is that an event happens, and you somehow find a way to give it a negative spin. Breaking this pattern by ‘forcing’ yourself to think positively often doesn’t make sense; it just makes you think about it more.
What can sometimes help is to do something completely different as a distraction. Activate your body to stop those negative thoughts literally. Go for a run, meet a friend, take a (cold) shower and put on music or play basketball with friends.
Because of this physical distraction, your energy is navigating to something other than that train of negative thoughts.
When we are good at negative thinking, we are also good at visualizing it. And what does that get you? Especially a lot of doom and gloom. Turn the situation around and envision positive thoughts (for example, after you have gone through step 3).
They will become more realistic, and so you can break this pattern of visualizing negativity. Practice with simple things, such as imagining that you are eating that tasty pizza, that you are doing a fun activity with your crush or partner, or that you are going to your favorite bar with friends.
By being grateful for the (positive) things you have in your life, it becomes easier to embrace good things and accept negative things as they are. And often, that ends well. Does your brother or your father call you, and do you get irritated by what they say?
Then try to see the good things about them, such as that they care about you and the elements you agree with during such a conversation.
You can practice this by making lists of things you are grateful for, taking notes (and putting them up), or writing letters (to yourself). See which method(s) works best for you.
Undertake positive activities
One of the best ways to feel more positive is to do positive activities that make you feel good. Sports with friends, in the woods, or have coffee with colleagues or find an excellent hobby for yourself. And try to stay away from things or people that give you negative energy.
If you have a friend with whom you’ve leveled a little less lately, focus on friends you’re more on the same page with. If social media stresses you out, delete all those apps. If you don’t work out for a while, skip a week (or more) and try again in a while. In short, listen to your body and live by it.
Find ways to relax
Make sure to schedule occasional moments of rest in that busy life of yours. Reading, yoga, meditating, lying on the couch with relaxing music, and staring at the ceiling without looking at your mobile.
Find out what relaxes you and plan moments in your schedule to do that. Less stress means less doom and gloom, which will automatically make you more positive in life.