How to Get Rid of Negativity
Have you ever known or ran into someone who was plagued by negativity? I sure have. Most of us tend to think either positively or negatively. Our brains tend to categorize things that way. Something is either good or bad.
Negativity can wreak havoc on your mood, relationships, and even productivity. When we think negatively, it steals our joy, our motivation, and causes others to shy away from us. Perhaps worse yet, we influence others to drift toward negativity.
How does your outlook on things impact your children? How about your spouse? Does it impact your relationships with coworkers? Is your motivation impacted by negativity? If you’re honest with yourself, I bet you can think of some ways negativity has impacted all of those things. We can all go there if we’re not careful.
The Source of Negativity
Some people tend to be more negative than others. If that is you, it doesn’t make you a bad person. What it usually means is that you tend to only examine things from a catastrophic perspective. Let me explain…
Negativity, as a way of thinking, usually comes because we see negative things as more important than they really are. Bad things happen. Minor irritations occur every day. However, paying too much attention to those things generates negativity.
Don’t misunderstand. Some things really are important and are really bad at the same time. However, my guess is that most things do not fit that category. A negative mindset will make every irritation a major negative event in our minds.
Getting a realistic perspective is the best way to fight negativity. Jesus actually addressed this in Matthew 6:25 – 27:
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
Jesus is talking about worry in this passage. But looking closer at the theme, He told us to not give things more importance than they deserve. He asked how worrying (expecting the worst) could add anything to our lives.Most things that irritate me and steal my attention will not have any significant impact on my… Click To Tweet
I truly believe this is an important key to fighting off negativity. Don’t give anything more importance than it deserves. When we do, we get overwhelmed by the next thing – even the tiniest of irritations. We allow minor irritants to grab our attention. In doing so, we stack them up so they add up to eventually become huge. If only we could let them go the moment we figure out they don’t matter we would find our negative thinking greatly decreasing.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help put things in perspective and let go of the things that are ultimately unimportant:
- Is this going to impact my life later? This is a vitally important question. Most of the time the answer will be a resounding “No” if we’re honest. If something is not going to impact our lives later it is most likely unimportant now. When your answer to this question is no, move on. There’s no need to waste any more mental space on it. If the answer is yes, then go to question 2.
- Is there anything I can do to change it? Many times, the answer to this question will also be no. We can choose to continue being preoccupied with it. This just breeds more negativity. If the answer is no, your job is done. You can deal with any negative results later. For now, there’s no work for you to do. Move on. If the answer is yes, go to question 3.
- What is the best strategy for changing this? If you actually get to this question, you need a plan. It is easier to execute a plan than to decide in the moment. Gather information and make a decision(s) about what you can do. Then do it. Don’t fret and worry over it more. Execute the plan. If your plan doesn’t work, re-evaluate question number 2. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
Most of the time, I never get past question 1. When I am honest with myself, most things that irritate me are not going to impact my life. When I say that I mean it’s not going to impact me, my family, job, etc. – the things that are important to me.
I would like to challenge you to use this strategy to attack your own negativity. I believe if you will put it into practice, negative thinking will go down, you will be in a better mood more often, and I bet your relationships will improve. Let me know how it goes!