Negativity ages you.
Negative thoughts are repetitive, unhelpful thoughts. They directly cause unwanted or unpleasant emotions like anxiety, depression, stress, fear, shame, etc.
We have all felt them!
Occasional visits of the negativity monster is one thing and pretty common for most of us. Honestly, occasional visits is not actually the problem. It can motivate you to achieve goals or change something about yourself that is no longer serving you. Negativity becomes, well negative, when you spend most of your time in a chronic negative state — it spikes your cortisol and leaves you in a constant state of fight and flight.
Negativity becomes that nagging voice in your head saying that something is not good enough; that something about you may not be good enough.
When negativity overtakes you, it goes way deeper than just your thoughts — it penetrates every cell in your body. It causes a distress in your body and robs you of vital energy. This in turn raises your stress levels and your stress hormone, cortisol. It is the chronic stress and fatigue placed on the body that causes aging and breaks us down, one negative moment at a time.
Somedays can feel like we are drowning in a pool of negativity, but there are things that you can do to help you change your mindset. Your mindset determines what thoughts you allow into your awareness. Positive or negative — you have chosen what to focus on. It is as simple as that, but it does not always feel so simple. What can you do to pull yourself out of negativity and stop the train to Downer Town before it actually arrives?
Steps To Lift Your Mood
1. Become aware of your symptoms of negativity. When you start to get stressed, or feel any emotion, your physical body reacts in certain ways. For me, my shoulders tighten up, a lump forms in my throat, my breathing gets shallow, and I get a pit in my stomach. My mind starts to race and I become hyper-focused. What are your initial symptoms that stress and negativity are entering your world? This is where it begins, but also where it can end. If you know how your body reacts, then you can respond in ways that can shut down the negativity or signal you to make other self-care choices so you don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole of negative thinking. Knowing what your body is trying to tell you is key point #1. Master this and you will be way ahead of the game.
Action Step: For 3-5 mins, think of something that causes you stress or feels negative. As you replay the scenario in your mind, notice how your body responds and what the body is trying to tell you. Scan the body from top to bottom, front to back. Write everything down that you notice.
2. Think gratitude. When you recognize your symptoms, immediately replace it with thoughts of gratitude. Gratitude is tied to the emotion of love and love is the highest energetic emotion. Negativity and love can NOT live in the same moment. Shifting your thoughts to thoughts of gratitude will better pull you in the direction of positivity. Doing this as much as you can throughout your day (even if you are not stressed) leaves less time to feel angry and critical and negative. Inundate your day with gratitude and feel how it changes your energy and your mindset. You can say it, write it, journal it — just express it!
Action Step: Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. Have this available for when you need quick reminders of what you are grateful for and how it makes you feel.
3. It’s all about perception. Focus on what is good rather than what is bad. At first it may feel like denial or deception, but it is learning how to to teach yourself that there are other perspectives available to the same situation. It forces your mind to open and see something different because everything — EVERYTHING — has a sliver of silver-lining in it. Learning to see the glass as 1/2 full is not denial or deception. It is self-preservation and makes life feel a whole lot different.
Action Step: Think about one thing that you recently looked at as bad or negative. Putting on your new perspective shades, what was the silver-lining in that situation? What could have changed if you saw this situation differently.
4. Post keywords. Post keywords wherever you can. Having key phrases or words in your immediate environment can help to remind you to change your perspective. This is especially important if you are making new changes or behaviors. Post them everywhere that you spend the majority of your time so that your focus is consistently being redirected back to positive changes.
Action Step: Create one or two key words or phrases and post them on the background of your computer, your smart phone, and/or on postcards on your desk, bathroom mirror, and refrigerator.
5. Change your inner circle. You are who you spend the majority of your time with. So choose wisely! Surround yourself with people who think how you want to think and act how you want to act. And, if they don’t, either sever the relationship totally or limit your time with that person.
Action Step: Draw a circle on a piece of paper. On the inside of the circle, write down all the people that you would like to spend more time with or surround yourself with. These people can be living or dead, famous or your next door neighbor — being in your inner circle doesn’t mean you have to physically be near them. You can surround yourself in their books or YouTube videos or writings. You can connect in from afar. Your inner circle can be a beautiful mix of virtual and personal connections! On the outside of that circle, write the names of people who you need to limit your time or sever ties completely. Practice getting closer to those inside the circle and further away from those outside the circle.
6. Develop a mindfulness practice. Train the brain to slow down so you can recognize the good that is going on around you. Sometimes getting caught in negative situations is because you were not mindful of it happening in the first place. That is easy to do in our fast-paced society. Learning to slow down and be more mindful helps you to recognize, but it also helps you to be less reactive to negativity.
Action Step: Set aside 10-15 minutes to be mindful. This can be done through a meditational practice or simply by being observant to your surroundings — what you see, hear, smell, etc. Ideally, do this everyday, but if that is too much to start, start with 3-4 days a week and build from there.
Learning how to change your mindset and focus to what you want to be involved in rather than simply by default can alter your health dramatically. And, it can take years off of you!
Did you know that stress ages you? Here is my morning routine to slow the aging process (and make you happier and more energetic!). Click the link below!
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