Don’t interact with your negative thoughts
First, there are our own thoughts. These are negative thoughts that just seem to come up in our minds like pop-ups. These can be self critical or they can be about other people or situations. It is our job to refrain from interacting with these thoughts. In other words, don’t follow a negative thought with another thought as if in conversation with the first. Do everything to not enlarge or enhance the negative thought. That way you will avoid rumination and reinforcing your own negative beliefs.
Ask others to end their verbal negativity
There are negative comments we hear from others in the form of gossip and sarcasm. Right along with these is the continuous flow of negative comments that others make. They might be about other people, maybe their own victim type stories, or about situations that evoke their criticism. We can choose to not listen to these. We can attempt to have the other person change by encouraging him to speak more positively or to not share gossip with us.
Deal with others’ negativity by changing something in oneself
More importantly we can change the situation by changing something in ourselves.
- We can inject more understanding, acceptance and compassion into our attitude.
- We might also rid ourselves of judgment and strive to be more open.
- We can take action that involves doing something different so we create a different result.
- We might also try focusing our attention on something more positive. We might think about the people or situations differently or find appreciation in them. What we attune to is what we see and experience. We have a choice of where we place our focus.
- In addition we can put another meaning on the situation or interpret it differently.
Distance oneself or end relationships with negative people
Our last resort might be to choose to end the relationship with negative people or to reduce our involvement. It is very important to rid ourselves of negative influences if we cannot deal with negative people and situations.
Reduce or end other negative influences
It is easier to be positive if we reduce or eliminate as much negativity as possible from our lives. We could stop much of the violent television we watch. Turn off the negative news. Stop the newspaper. End the negative music, movies and video games. What might life be like if we didn’t feed our minds and souls with such negativity? There would be so much room for positivity. I suspect it would be a mental muscle we’d all have to get used to exercising!
Dispute negative thoughts
When you experience your own or others’ negative thoughts, you will want to work hard at disputing them. Examine the facts and prove the positive is true. Argue with yourself as if you are the best attorney. Prove the thoughts to be incorrect.
One of the most important skills to control your negativity is mindfulness. Mindfulness means to pay attention to your thoughts and responses in an aware, objective and detached manner. You eventually learn to detach or create distance in watching your reactions and responses to things that happen. You are trying to not have an emotional action or reaction. This allows you to create neutrality or more positive emotions while you simply allow the negative thoughts and emotions to pass through you. It’s like watching them but not building on them. You want to build on the positive but not the negative. Mindfulness reduces stress, pain, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive experiences, and self-injury, improves immune functioning, and changes metabolism in brain circuits known to underlie emotional responding. It even increases a certain part of the brain. You can learn to meditate by taking a workshop, reading a book, or just sitting and relaxing
Take a look at your negativity this week to see how you can refrain from interacting with your own negative thoughts, change your behaviors or thinking in relation to others, don’t participate in or listen to gossip and sarcasm, turn down the amount of negative media in your home, dispute your negative thoughts, and begin to meditate, even if you are only quiet and slow down your breathing for 5 minutes a day. You might want to make a chart to help you keep track daily of reducing your negativity.