One thought or feeling, or a comment made by someone else. That’s all it takes to find yourself in the realm of negativity, and have your thoughts plagued. In recent times, I’ve found myself veering on this side of the beam more than I should. Only because I’ve been quite hard on myself. I’ve had quite a number of down times that, I would admit, have been debilitating and unhealthy. I don’t want to say it’s normal for this to happen, but as Alison Ledgerwood said, “our view of the world tends to tilt towards the negative.”
We’ve all been victims of these distasteful/unpleasant thoughts, and it is entirely up to us to decide what to make of such a situation. It takes work to see the upside, and as cliché as it may sound, instead of wallowing/basking in the negative thoughts, I always choose to find ways to snap out of them regardless of how difficult it may pose to be. Certain things have helped (and are still helping) and I wanted to share them so that we can help each other overcome this:
Find a vice
Find something that ignites the positivity in you. It could be as little as cooking/baking, writing, reading a book, watching movies or TV shows, exercising, taking a walk, drawing, painting, or as big as taking a trip. Find anything that you enjoy doing and helps take your mind off things, and do it. This would in turn be more or less a safe space for you when you find the negative thoughts trickling.
The art of yoga is one I find to be very helpful. This can certainly tie into the previous tip, but I wanted to highlight it because of how helpful it can be. Being able to connect with your inner self, and surround yourself with positivity is all it could take to rid yourself of any such negativity.
Anytime I practice yoga, I’m in a different space and I find that practicing, especially hot yoga, as early in the morning as possible is best because it allows you to start your day on a positive note. In doing so, you have no room for any sliver of negative thoughts.
Go for a quick workout session
Again, this ties into the point of finding a vice. But, if working out isn’t something you do regularly, that’s okay. Go for a quick workout session regardless. Reason being that you’ll be focused on something else. Be it trying to nail a certain exercise, lifting a certain weight, doing a certain amount of cardio or competing with someone without them realizing; your mind will be off the negativity. At the end of it, you’ll possibly feel tired, yes, but you’ll have a surge/burst of energy that will help motivate you outside of your workout space.
Question the thought
Ask yourself, why am I having these thoughts? Should I be taking them seriously? Regardless of your answer to the first question, your answer for the second should be along the lines of “well, no, I shouldn’t”, “never” or “not today Satan” (all jokes). You most definitely shouldn’t take the thoughts seriously because they usually show their faces when you are vulnerable. You’re overwhelmed by all the goings-on in your life, focusing on a tiny mistake you may have made, or even just having a bad day. Questioning the thought will help you realize that just because one thing went wrong, or didn’t go according to your plan, doesn’t mean everything else is wrong.
Listen to someone else speak
One thing I’ve found invigorating is listening to someone else speak. Wise words from your favourite individuals, motivational speakers etc make a big difference. Even listening to someone you may know share a similar experience. TED talks are usually best for times like these. Take this talk by Alison Ledgerwood as an example. She discusses how we as humans tend to focus on negatives in certain situations, and goes further to do suggest some ways to overcome the negativity.
Find motivation, even where there is none
Depending on the gravity of the situation, when these thoughts show up, it would feel like all hope has been lost. Or, certain things (even the wrong ones) are not worth doing at all. Don’t let these thoughts hinder you. Find a way to make the situation a positive one. Ask yourself questions like:
What is one good thing about the situation?
What can I learn from this?
What can I do differently?
Change environment, if you can
Do you usually spend most of your time in a particular space? In more ways than one, your environment plays a big role in your daily activities, therefore, your thoughts. Taking a short, and inexpensive, trip or even a big one can definitely help you snap out of the negativity. Even if not an actual trip, a sleepover at a friend’s, trying a different spot in your home, visiting places other than the ones you go to on a regular basis, all count as changing your environment.
Talk it out
“A problem shared is a problem half solved.”
It doesn’t necessarily have to be that you have a problem, but talking things out with your confidant is definitely worth it all. You don’t have to bear the burden all by yourself and bottle up. Because, more often than not, things only get worse when you do. And, you’ll find that voicing your thoughts will give you a different perspective. Also, don’t forget to share the good news while you’re at it!
Be grateful, always
Being grateful for the littlest of things in your life can go a very long way. Gratitude serves as a reminder of the things you’ve been fortunate to be provided with, and the situations (whether good or bad) you find yourself in. At the end of the day, life is a learning experience. So, find gratitude in everything you possibly can and you’ll begin to feel positive again.
Take some time out to focus on someone else when you feel down. Help bring positivity into someone else’s life. Listen to someone talk about what’s going on in their life, and help them figure things out and be kind. In doing so, you can begin to feel better and a lot more positive.
Peace and Love.