How to Stop Being Negative: 37 Habits to Stop Negativity Forever
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Thinking negatively is second nature to a lot of people.
We often do it and don't even realize we are doing so. But has it gotten to the point where others have criticized you for being negative?
If so, then this is a habit that can severely hamper your social standing. The truth is, being negative won't get you very far.
The more negative you are, the worse you will likely feel, which just starts an ugly cycle.
If you are worried that your negative attitude is affecting you, then you can start working on strategies to reverse that.
In this article, I will show you 37 strategies you can implement to stop being negative.
(Side note: One simple way to stop being negative is to build the "right" mindset. To learn how, I recommend checking out this book that will help you learn how to create calmness in your life and eliminate negative thinking.)
But first, let’s talk about negativity—specifically, how it can hurt both your personal and professional life.
What Is Negativity?
Negativity is an overall attitude that one may have about something, whether it is actually a problem or not.
Negativity refers to a certain way people can see things, a label that people can put on what they see, and a way of describing one's feelings about what they see.
The problem here lies with people's minds. Our minds have a tendency to default to the negative, and to look at things in negative ways. This means that people often expect the worst unless they are able to think positively.
People who are negative are always skeptical of suggestions, and tend to reject any advice.
While this is used as a survival mechanism to be able to find what is wrong in a situation and shield oneself from danger, this is not a healthy way to live life and develop connections with other people.
Do you see the glass as being half empty or half full? If you tend to think in a positive way, you will always see the glass as being half full, because you are looking on the bright side of things.
But if you see the glass as being half-empty, you are focusing on the weaknesses of the glass rather than its strengths.
Whenever a challenge comes up, a negative person will default to predicting a negative outcome before it has even happened. Being a negative thinker is also referred to as being a pessimist.
Where Do Negative Thoughts Originate?
Negative thoughts are often the product of established patterns that are related to our belief systems. This could be about a variety of things, such as self-esteem, productivity, finances, relationships, a career, or anything else.
If you want to understand where your negative thinking comes from, there are several things that you should consider.
Do you find that you complain a lot, or are often sarcastic?
Do you blame other people and never accept blame yourself?
These may be some factors that lead to negativity.
Some others include:
One important thing to know is that when you are around negative people, you will become more negative yourself. Negativity tends to be contagious.
The Effects of Negative Thinking
When you have negative thoughts, your brain gets into fight-or-flight mode. This stress response was great for people who lived many generations ago and had to be aware of natural predators, but in our current culture, it is not necessary for survival.
Having chronic stress is detrimental on people's health, both physically and mentally. It impacts one's overall well-being, even if that person does not realize it.
If you live in fear, you may also miss out on possibilities because you are holding yourself back.
Constantly being in a negative emotional state can even lead to eating disorders, including both over-eating and not eating enough, which both can further impact one's health.
This can lead to weight gain or weight loss that happens quickly and in ways that at harmful to your vital organs.
Being negative also influences those around you, including your friends, co-workers, family, and children, who can then grow up to be negative people themselves.
Constant negativity also creates low self-esteem, and can often lead to unhappiness or depression.
If you are unable to see the positive aspect of things, or you fail to have faith or trust in anyone, you are putting yourself at risk for leading an unhappy life.
This will cause you to live without any peace of mind because you will be in a constant state of conflict.
How to Stop Being Negative: 37 Steps to Stop Negativity in Its Tracks
It is important to stop living with negativity. It can impact your overall health, and even the health of the people around you.
Furthermore, if you are constantly thinking in a negative way, people are not going to want to be around you because they will notice how much you tend to bring them down.
If you allow yourself to drain your life of joy and happiness, you will be missing out on the best things that life has to offer. If you are wondering how to stop being negative, look at the following steps to start making a change.
You want to surround yourself with as much positivity as you can, which will require you to stay away from negative influences.
You have the power to pick and choose whom you spend your time with. You should consider your options wisely in order to get the best outcome.
1. Who in your life is negative?
Identify the negative people in your life who may be bringing you down. Specifically, think about how the people you are spending time with make you feel.
2. Distance yourself.
Put some distance between you and any friends, family members, or co-workers who you think may be contributing to your negativity.
Limit the amount of time you spend with them, and make sure to monitor your feelings when you are around them so you can know when it is time to leave.
3. If they are family, you can simply reduce the time you spend around them.
Maybe limit your time with certain family members to just holidays and birthdays if you find that they bring you down on a regular basis.
Chances are, if you feel this way about a family member, there are other people in the family who feel the same way.
4. Don’t feel guilty about cutting negative people from your life.
You have to do what is best for you. The positive effects this will have on your life will outweigh the negative.
5. Don’t argue with the negative people, or get drawn into their drama.
Just decrease the time you spend with them. Fade out.
Do not engage in problems that are stemming from negativity. Instead, keep your positive attitude and walk away.
6. Like attracts like.
If you want to be positive, surround yourself with positive people. They will help you maintain your happiness. Make some new positive friends.
Not only will they make you feel good, but they will also rub off on you. Remember, you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so make sure those people are positive.
Try to emulate their positive attitude. When you act positive long enough, you begin to become positive.
7. Take up a new hobby.
Find a hobby that other positive people enjoy. This way, you can meet some like-minded people who enjoy doing the same things that you do.
Having a hobby is actually quite good for you in many ways. Discover the: surprising benefits of hobbies.
Recite Positive Affirmations
You can use positive affirmations to re-frame your method of thinking and change your attitude about life. Affirmations are short, positive statements that will encourage you to focus on your goals while getting rid of your self-defeating beliefs.
8. Re-program your mind.
Here are some examples of affirmations that you can use:
- I can let go of small things.
- I can always find a silver lining.
- I will start looking at the glass as being half-full.
- I am in control.
- I will replace criticism with compliments.
9. Adopt an affirmation habit.
Take some time every day to repeat 5-10 positive affirmations. You can do this however often you feel like you need to, but make it a point to stop at least twice a day to take the time to do this.
Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Thoughts
What are some of the negative thoughts that you commonly have? Think about how you could possibly replace these thoughts with positive ones. Create a positive spin wherever you can.
10. Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive.
Let's say that you always dread waking up in the morning and getting out of bed. Turn that around into looking forward to waking up and starting a new day.
11. Recognize when you are falling into negative thinking patterns.
Some signs that you are falling into a negative thought pattern include limiting your thoughts to black-and-white beliefs without considering anything in the middle, trying to predict the future, making over-generalizations, and catastrophizing small events.
12. Make the effort.
Changing your negative thoughts to positive ones requires a conscious effort.
To eliminate negative thoughts, you need to recognize them and actively replace them with positive thoughts. This is similar to replacing former beliefs that don't benefit you with ones that do.
Practicing gratitude is a huge factor in overall life satisfaction. It is important to realize how grateful you are for the things around you and stop to appreciate the small things in life. Actively practice gratitude in order to stop being negative.
13. Do this regularly.
People who practice gratitude on a regular basis by stopping to reflect upon the things they are thankful for have more positive feelings, get better sleep, are more compassionate, and have stronger immune systems.
14. Remind yourself of what is good in your life.
These may be small things that someone wouldn't normally notice, like the pretty flowers you pass on your commute to work or the fresh foods you have available to eat.
Remind yourself of how privileged you are, even if you don't always feel that way,
Want to create a daily routine filled with quiet, self-reflection?
If so, check out Effortless Journaling -- How to Start a Journal, Make It a Habit, and Find Endless Writing Topics.
With this book, you can make the journaling habit a part of your daily routine.
15. Get a gratitude journal and write three things you are grateful for every morning.
Your gratitude writings could be written on toilet paper and the theory behind gratitude will still work. You don't "need" fancy gratitude journals.
BUT... they do make the process easier. Check out the best gratitude journals to help you in the process of daily gratitude journaling.
If you start your day off with gratitude, you are setting yourself up to practice gratitude for the rest of the day. It also helps start your day out on a positive note.
16. Stop complaining.
Where does complaining get you, anyway? Nowhere. So just stop it!
17. Tell someone you love them.
Whether it is someone who you say this to all of the time or someone you have never said it to before, go ahead and tell people how you feel.
18. Don’t gossip or listen to anyone gossiping.
Gossiping is toxic. Don't get wrapped up in it, or involved with other people who enjoy this negative activity.
19. Say “Thank You.”
If someone does something nice for you, no matter how small it is, tell them that you are grateful.
If someone holds the door for you or lets you into their lane in a traffic jam, either say thank you or give a friendly wave and smile to show your gratitude.
"Thank you" is more than about acknowledging kindness. It makes you feel better and another person feel better. It is a true win-win, and can even be instrumental in deepening casual relationships.
Discover more about how "Thank You" can be advantageous.
20. Express yourself.
Tell people the positive feelings that you experience. This will help spread the joy to the people who are around you.
Take Control of Your Life
Feeling like you are in control is a big factor in staying positive. You realize you can make your own choices and your life can go however you want it to go.
Make your own decisions about what you do with your time and who you spend your time with.
21. Stop mind-reading.
Making assumptions and trying to read other people's minds will result in an acceleration of the fear that already exists in your mind.
It can increase your anxiety and lead to a sense of panic. It is important to remember that your thoughts are only thoughts—they are not real circumstances.
Finally, never assume that someone is doing (or not doing) something because of you or something you did.
22. Stop watching the news.
There is way too much negativity in the news. Spend your time watching something more uplifting—or, better yet, get involved in a hobby that makes you happy and gives you a sense of purpose.
23. Set goals.
Make your goals small but achievable. Having goals is inherently optimistic because it allows you to continue to have faith that you will accomplish things that are out of the norm.
24. Stop multitasking.
Do one thing at a time, and do it well. When you try to multitask, you are not doing anything really well—you are just doing a lot of things to get them crossed off of your to-do list. If you want to be productive and succeed, pay attention to one thing at a time.
25. Do things that have a purpose.
When you finish doing something, you want to feel like you have accomplished a task. Do things that have a purpose, such as volunteering or getting some exercise. There are a lot of things you can do to give you a sense of purpose.
26. Don’t think about the past.
Ruminating is not a healthy thing to do. Try to live in the moment rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
27. Get more done.
The more productive you are, the better you will feel. Do your best to use your time wisely so you can be efficient in the work that you do and stop wasting time on things that do not benefit your life or lead you to your ultimate goals.
Your body needs appropriate rest to rejuvenate itself and recover from the day. Make sure that you sleep on a schedule so you are not trying to play catch-up with your sleep after a long week.
29. Eat healthy.
Eating healthy will make you feel good inside and out. This will help you stay positive and feel good about yourself.
Exercise increases endorphins, which will naturally make you feel good and be positive. Try to get moderate exercise at least five days per week for 45 minutes each day. This will help stop negativity.
31. Reduce your social media time.
Not only is your time being wasted on social media, but you are also probably spending a lot of time comparing your life with the lives of others.
Spend as little time as possible on social media, and, if possible, remove it completely.
32. Live your life, not theirs.
Don't worry what other people are doing or what they have in their lives. Live your life as best you can, and don't try to be someone else or compare yourself to others.
33. Stay clean and organized.
Living and working in a tidy area makes a huge difference in your stress. Clean up your space, putting away anything that you don't use on a daily basis and leaving a lot of clear space so you don't feel overwhelmed by a mess.
34. Make a “to do” list.
If you feel overwhelmed in your life, write down everything you need to do. Not only will this help you have a visual representation of the things you need to accomplish, it will also make you feel really good as you are able to cross things off your list.
35. Cut things out of your life.
If you participate in activities or events that you don’t enjoy, don't spend your time doing them.
Leave as much time as you can to do things that you really enjoy doing so you will spend less time dreading things or wishing you were somewhere else.
36. Say “no” more often.
Don't feel obligated to do things that other people want you to do. Only say "yes" to things that you have time to do, and things that you actually want to do.
37. Remove physical clutter from your life.
Clutter inevitably makes you feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Spend some time each day getting rid of physical clutter and giving yourself the free space that you deserve.
Generally, your mind can produce two categories of thoughts—positive and negative. Your thoughts influence your emotions and change how you feel.
Positive thoughts make you feel good.
Negative thoughts make you feel unpleasant. It certainly takes some practice to stop negativity and start having a positive outlook on life.
But if you are able to change your perspective on things, you will be able to live a more fulfilling and purposeful life. Start with the steps mentioned in this article and see what changes they make in your overall well-being.
Finally, a simple way to stop being negative is to build the "right" mindset. To learn how, I recommend checking out this book that will help you learn how to create calmness in your life and eliminate negative thinking.