I’m sure you know them—those times when everything seems to go wrong. At work, you fail to meet an important project deadline. Being left to hold the baby, you end up working lots of overtime. Stressed and tired from the work and the pressure, you come home to your spouse’s silent reproach because, once again, your kids have gone to sleep without getting to see you. On top of that, you learn that your tax return isn’t nearly what you thought it would be. And while it’s the last thing the both of you need, all the overwhelm leads to a massive argument with your partner. And instead of getting some much-needed sleep, your thoughts keep you up, tossing and turning all night. The following day you turn on the news and inject more negativity. Back at work, you feel stressed and tired before you even get started.
When it rains, it pours. Being caught in negative thought loops lowers our vibration, and in turn, we attract even more negativity. But even if you aren’t a spiritual person, you may agree that you can’t draw from an empty well.
Negativity is toxic
We’re surrounded by negativity everywhere we turn. Whether on social media, the news, or the conversations, we overhear or engage in. The effects can be pretty toxic. Negativity interferes with our working memory and decreases our performance. Mere exposure to rudeness reduces our ability to process and recall information. We withdraw, stop communicating and cease being helpful to others with dysfunctional and aggressive thoughts and actions skyrocketing.
How to break the vicious cycle
So how can we thrive when we seem to be drowning in negativity? Thriving is a psychological term to describe the state in which we experience both a sense of vitality and learning which has proven to boost our confidence, health, resilience, and ability to focus. At the same time, we get less distracted and stressed.
- It starts with little things. Adopt a proactive mindset and consider what you can and can’t change. Focussing on what you can actually change will make you feel more positive and in control.
- Pay attention to what you ingest and what you expose yourself to. Look at what you read, which media you consume, and what music you listen to. Who do you spend time with? Who do you look up to? Negativity can seep into our pores through these sources. So make simple choices away from negativity towards more positivity. Surround yourself with those that make you feel better.
- Watch what you say out loud. Verbalizing a negative thought is ten times more damaging to our sense of thriving than the thought itself. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about your feelings. Call it what it is rather than catastrophizing it. But also be careful in selecting who to talk to.
- You can also break the negative thought loop through exercise, even when you have no time. As little as 20 minutes of walking, running, or meditation can reset our minds and will decrease our stress level. Make sure you get enough sleep and develop a healthy sleep routine.
- Instead of dwelling on negativity, look at the good things in your life and practice gratitude. Start your day by being grateful for the roof over your head, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, your partner, your children, your friends etc.
You may not be able to stop the flow of negativity around you, especially not from one minute to the next, but you can resist its toxic effects by making smart choices about who and what you surround yourself with, the mindset you adopt, and how you clear your head through sleep and exercise. Not only will you benefit from those changes, but those around you will too. 😉