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 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 was 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 it 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 the 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 torturing yourself with it.

Making assumptions about others’ stories can inject 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, but it also constantly feeds negativity into my mind.

What you can do:

  • Avoid gossiping; the less you talk about other people behind their backs, 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 face value.

2. A Black-and-White View Causes Negativity

When I was young, my worldview consisted of 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.

A black-and-white view of life exposes us to negativity and 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 that are important to you.
  • Recognise that what’s important to you may not be so to others, and vice versa.
  • Respect others’ core values.
  • Understand that compassion and empathy are about 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 catastrophes 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 about 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 loved one, or went through a divorce, loss can become unbearable.

I’ve had my fair share of losses since 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 a councillor if you struggle to cope with grief.

5. Life Problems Cause Negativity

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

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

As things 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 it is 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 hours 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 letting 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 movies.

What you can do:

  • Make a list of what causes you to worry.
  • Next to each item on the list, tick if you can control it 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.
  • If you’re worried about the outcome because you can’t control it, write it 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 attention by pulling an emotional string on our minds.

The heartbreaking stories of accidents and crimes sell, grabbing people’s attention.

As the demands for tragedy and fear soar, more news coverage of them is available on every network.

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

What you can do:

  • Reduce time watching / reading News.
  • Avoid excessive use of social media.
  • Notice your reaction to news or 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 everything personally, life can become tormenting.

You can get hurt by 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 supporting actors, not the other way around.
  • Do your own thing and seek approval of your own, not others’.
  • Keep yourself busy doing fulfilling, satisfying, and inspiring things.

9. Complaining Causes Negativity

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

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

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 the status quo to improve our lives.

Living on autopilot accumulates bad habits that lead to a bad lifestyle, poor health, and terrible relationships.

Staying in familiar territory long enough with no progress gnaws at us and raises negativity in 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 that negativity is something we can control.

Identify what causes your negativity the most, and with the 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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