10 Ways to Control Negativity

Understanding the cause of perpetual negativity is half the solution to overcome negative thoughts.

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.

– Zig Ziglar

Given the chance, we would all like to have a positive mindset that lets us do everything better.

But not everyone is successful in adapting positive thinking.

Having experienced how differently positive thinking and negative thinking affect my behaviours, I thought I’d share my experience with you and help you control and eliminate negativity in your life.

The easiest way for me to see the big difference between the two is how I start my day.

In positive thinking mode, I’m already out of bed without an alarm clock, singing while taking a shower and plotting my day with anticipation.

In negative thinking mode, I’m buried deep under the bedcover and keep telling myself 5 more minutes… for the sixth time, wishing the day is over.

Positive thinking makes me do things good for my mind and body while negative thinking corrupts my mental and physical state.

If you’re harbouring negativity that makes you difficult to get up in the morning, read through the below list of what causes negative thinking.

Identify what contributes most to your negative thinking, break the cycle and control your negativity by applying suggestions outlined.

You’ll find that negativity is something you can control, which helps you do everything better.

10 Ways to Control Negativity

1. Assumption Causes Negativity

When someone tells you a story about you, your life or your family, you try to assume what others didn’t say but wanted to say.

You end up creating an imaginary world and torture yourself with it.

Making assumptions on others’ story can inject a huge negativity into your mind.

I used to do this a lot. I’d look for a hidden agenda beyond what I heard, creating all kinds of stories. Not only does it make me paranoid about what others say, it also constantly feeds negativity into my mind.

What you can do:

  • Avoid gossiping: the less you talk about other people behind their back, the less you assume.
  • Avoid sharing too many personal things with people you don’t know well.
  • Listen more than talk.
  • Talk about ideas, not people.
  • Take things at a face value.

2. Black and White View Causes Negativity

When I was young, my worldview comprises either right or wrong.

I was stubborn with my views. I was quick to judge. I was unforgiving towards those who were, in my eyes, in the wrong.

Because of our limited life experiences, our perception is narrow when we’re young, but we don’t know it.

Stumbling on our feet a few times, we gain wisdom. We learn that life is more grey than black and white.

Black and white view of life exposes us to negativity with tons of things we can’t agree on. We become less tolerant and understanding of others and their ideals. We only see what we want to see and dismiss other possibilities to learn and understand others better.

Black and white thinking makes us negative and narrow minded.

What you can do:

  • Know your core values: things important to you.
  • Recognise what’s important to you may not be so to others, and vice versa.
  • Respect others’ core values.
  • Understand that compassion and empathy are knowing the difference in values, not right or wrong.

3. Catastrophic Thinking Causes Negativity

Bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean the end of the world.

Throughout history, we’ve learned to live through one bad thing after another.

Our experiences are lessons to better equip ourselves for future events.

Whether on a global scale or on an individual level, we learn from our own (and others’) mistakes to advance ourselves.

If we look at life’s challenges as catastrophe every time bad things happen, there’s no option but to give up the moment it arises.

Everything becomes meaningless. We become properly doomed and exist in perpetual negativity.

What you can do:

  • Think about what you can learn from bad things or mistakes.
  • Read about inspiring stories: achieving success through grit and resilience.
  • Write about your own personal experiences overcoming difficult situations.
  • Write about personal traits and skills you gained through hardship.

4. Dwelling in Loss Causes Negativity

Whether you alienated a friend, lost a love one or went through a divorce, loss can become unbearable.

I had my fair share of loss since in my early 20s. Each time, I felt like I couldn’t get over it. But it’s true that time is medicine.

Every time I feel upset, I listen to Jealous by Labyrinth.

It’s hard for me to say, I’m jealous of the way you’re happy without me.

– Labyrinth “Jealous”

Labrinth - Jealous (Official Video)

I have comfort knowing that my loved ones are happy, and we’ll meet one day.

What you can do:

  • Accept what you feel.
  • Write about the wonderful things about your loved ones.
  • Write a list of positive things since divorce, for example.
  • Talk to close friends, family members or councillor if you struggle to cope with grief.

5. Life Problems Causes Negativity

Drowning in debt, weight gaining, addiction, staying in a toxic relationship, failing to achieve goals or messy home environments all breeds negativity in a vicious cycle.

The longer we keep the life problems, the more self respect and trust we lose along with confidence.

As thing get worse, we start believing that things will always be bad and thus negative thinking becomes our norm.

What you can do:

  • Make a list of life problems you’re facing or things you want to improve on.
  • Pick the most important one that’ll make a vast improvement to your life when sorted.
  • Write a list of small goals to achieve the above.
  • Focus on this one goal until complete and work down other life problems on the list.

6. Worry Causes Negativity

Whatever causes you to worry, you need to know that worry is not a solution.

Worry causes an endless loop of negativity in your mind.

I’d worked on eliminating worry for a long time and have finally succeeded fully.

Guided meditation that I found on YouTube turned out to be the most effective tool that sealed off worry from my mind. It’s two hour long, and I listen to it before bed every night, falling asleep to it.

I’m sure my subconscious mind is soaking up the messages and let them do the magic.

I feel grounded and have a sense of calmness. I also concentrate better when I write, exercise, read or even watch motives.

What you can do:

  • Make a list of what causes you to worry.
  • Next to each list, tick if you can control or put X if you can’t.
  • For worry you can control, write down a solution. Even the smallest action plan gives you a sense of control and calm.
  • For worry you can’t control the outcome, write them down on a piece of paper. Tear it off and bin it.
  • Practice meditation. If you struggle with keeping still, try guided meditation and focus on the voice.

7. Bad News Causes Negativity

Media coverage constantly fights for people’s attentions by pulling an emotional string on our mind.

The heart-wrenching stories of accidents and crimes sell, grabbing people’s attention.

As the demands for tragedy and fear soars, more news coverage in them is available in every network.

It distorts a sense of reality. It portrays that death in fire, flood, random crime or freaky accidents is normal. Evil and bad things are prevailing than good, putting us in a perpetual cycle of negativity.

What you can do:

  • Reduce time watching / reading News.
  • Avoid excessive usage of Social Media.
  • Notice your reaction to News / Social Media: “am I being informed or am I being drawn to drama?
  • When you hear or read something interesting, take the time to do some research to have a balanced view.

8. Taking Things Personally Causes Negativity

If you have a tendency to take things everything personally, life can become tormenting.

You can get hurt from things that have nothing to do with you. You harbour negativity for no reason other than your wild imagination.

Taking things too personally invites negativity.

What you can do:

  • Know your worth, what makes you tick or what you enjoy doing.
  • Live your life as the main actor and let others be support actors, not the other way around.
  • Do your own thing and seek approval of your own, not others’.
  • Keep yourself busy doing things fulfilling, satisfying and inspiring.

9. Complaining Causes Negativity

Successful companies don’t consider a customer’s complaint as negative. It’s an opportunity to change and improve goods and services they provide.

In our personal life, complaining is the expression and recognition of the areas we are not happy about in our life.

Whether it’s our job, personal space, relationship, career or financial situation, complaining is feedback demanding our attention.

Complaining without meaningful action to rectify the situation manifests negativity.

What you can do:

  • Pay attention to how many times you complain each day.
  • Identify what areas of life you’re complaining about the most.
  • Take action to rectify the situation you’re complaining about.
  • Make a list of what you’re grateful for each day.

10. Staying on Auto-Pilot Causes Negativity

The moment the lure of comfort sets in, we tolerate lots of things that are not good for us.

We accept things as they are and avoid challenging status quo to improve our lives.

Living on auto-pilot accumulates bad habits turning to bad lifestyle, poor health and terrible relationships.

Staying in a familiar territory long enough with no progress gnaws at us and raises negativity of our current lives.

What you can do:

Final Thoughts

Since positive thinking will let us do everything better, we should avoid negative thinking at all costs.

The good news is negativity is something we can control.

Identify what causes your negativity the most and with small steps outlined in this post, free yourself from negativity and allow positive thinking to do everything better than negative thinking ever will.

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