“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin
We often don’t realize just how impactful our thoughts and words are. Here are five practical ways to recognize negativity and take the steps to being more positive:
1. Be honest with yourself – To fix the problem, you must first recognize the problem. Think 5 things right now, or think back to 5 things you said or thought today. Were you complaining? Were you talking about something you dread or hate? That is negativity in action! There’s a difference between venting/expressing yourself and being negative.
Ask yourself: what is the purpose of you expressing this thought, opinion, or event? If you aren’t trying to get a solution, or aren’t just getting it off your chest, it’s probably doing more harm than good.
2. Catch yourself in the act – Once you know what exactly negativity is in your own thought process and words you can begin to replace it with positivity. However, in order to do that, you’re going to have to recognize when you’re speaking or thinking negatively.
If you aren’t able to catch yourself in the middle of a thought or sentence, pick some type of marker or milestone, like every hour, or every time you get up to refill your drink. Then, once that marker hits, use it as a reminder to consciously think back to things you’ve been saying since the last marker. Have they been good or bad words? Where can you improve?
3. Use positivity – Being positive can be an easy, natural, and learned art, but you have to start somewhere! Be positive on purpose. Take the time to think or say out loud positive things, maybe while on your drive to work or while doing your morning routine. For example, say that you’re thankful for your job, that you love your kids and/or your spouse/partner, that you’re thankful for your home, or that you love having friends close by. Creating a mentality of positivity will make going forward much easier.
4. Being positive in the face of negativity – Bad things are going to crop up in your life. While positive thinking won’t magically fix all your problems, it will change how you handle them. You have every right to be upset or irritated any situation, but if your natural reaction is to then speak words of positivity and encouragement to yourself, you are setting yourself up for MUCH greater success. Temper the bad with the good: “I got a flat tire on the way to work! Great. Just what I needed. But I will get it figured out; it’s a necessary thing and I can handle this.”
5. Practice – Begin recognizing your negative thoughts and taking hold of them; speak positive things, even when you’re frustrated or mad (remember, venting is okay!); make it a purposeful practice to say and think about things you love or are thankful for, even just simple, nice observations, like how nice the weather is, or how good the rain is for the ground. The more you do it, the more natural it will come to you.
About Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender, which includes 10 free Peace and Balance tools.
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