Control Negativity

Who wouldn’t leap at the chance to cultivate a positive mindset—that magical frame of mind that somehow makes everything we do just a bit better, a bit brighter?

Yet the truth is, not all of us find it easy to embrace the power of positive thinking. It can be a tricky beast to master.

Having personally navigated the tumultuous seas between positive and negative thinking, I’ve decided to share my journey. 

My hope is to give you a helping hand in steering clear of the stormy waters of negativity that can cloud your life.

The Dawn of Mindsets: Controlling Negativity vs Embracing Positivity

For me, the starkest contrast between these two mindsets is evident right at the crack of dawn.

On a day painted with the vibrant colours of positivity, I’m up and about before the alarm has a chance to squawk. I’m belting out tunes in the shower, plotting my day with a sense of eager anticipation.

But on a day shrouded in the murky greys of negativity? You’ll find me burrowed under the duvet, hitting the snooze button for the umpteenth time, wishing I could just fast forward to bedtime.

Positive thinking nudges me towards actions that nourish my mind and body, while negative thinking seems to have a knack for mucking up both my mental and physical wellbeing.

Breaking the Cycle: Controlling Negativity in Your Life

So, if you find yourself wrestling with a cloud of negativity that makes it a Herculean task to even get out of bed, take a gander at the list below. 

It’s a rundown of things that can stir up negative thinking.

Identify what’s fueling your negativity, break free from the vicious cycle, and reign in the darkness by trying out the suggested remedies.

You’ll soon realise that controlling negativity isn’t an uncontrollable beast. In fact, once tamed, it can pave the way for you to truly excel in all you do.

10 Effective Ways to Control Negativity

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

Zig Ziglar

1. How Assumptions Contribute to Negativity

Ever find yourself filling in the blanks when someone shares a tale about you, your life, or your loved ones? 

Reading between the lines, crafting an alternate universe, and then letting it gnaw at you from within?

Guess what? Making assumptions can inject a hefty dose of negativity into your psyche.

I confess, I used to be quite an expert at this. I’d search for hidden meanings, spin elaborate narratives, and end up feeding my mind a steady diet of negativity. 

It not only made me paranoid but also kept the negativity ticking over.

What you can do:

  • Practice active listening: Instead of filling in the gaps, focus on what’s being said.
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions: If in doubt, ask for clarification.
  • Challenge your assumptions: Always question if there’s a factual basis for your assumptions or if they’re products of your imagination.
  • Practice mindfulness: Being in the moment helps to reduce the tendency to create imaginary scenarios.
  • Reflect on past instances where your assumptions were incorrect: This can help you realize the unreliability of assumptions and their potential to breed negativity.

2. Controlling Negativity: Overcoming a Black-and-White Mindset

Back in my salad days, I saw the world in stark contrasts—either black or white, right or wrong.

I was resolute in my beliefs, quick to pass judgement, and unyielding towards those I deemed to be in the wrong.

You see, when we’re young, our life experiences are relatively limited, and consequently, our perspective is narrow—although we might not realise it at the time.

As we trip, stumble, and get back on our feet, we gain wisdom and realise that life isn’t simply a matter of black and white—it’s a fascinating palette of greys.

A rigid black-and-white view of life leaves us exposed to negativity and a myriad of viewpoints that we struggle to agree with. 

We become less tolerant and understanding of others and their ideals. 

We end up with our blinkers on, only seeing what we want to see and dismissing opportunities to learn and comprehend the world around us better.

Black and white thinking can trap us in a cycle of negativity and narrow-mindedness.

Here’s what you can do to break free:

  • Get to know your core values—those principles that are truly important to you.
  • Understand that what matters to you might not hold the same significance for others, and vice versa.
  • Learn to respect others’ core values.
  • Realise that compassion and empathy aren’t about determining who’s right or wrong. They’re about recognising and appreciating the diversity of values.

3. The Impact of Catastrophic Thinking on Negativity

Let’s face it, life has a knack for throwing curveballs our way. But remember, a setback is not synonymous with the apocalypse.

Human history is a testament to our resilience—we’ve faced adversity time and again, and yet we’ve persevered.

Each experience, good or bad, offers invaluable lessons that better prepare us for the future.

Whether we’re talking about global events or personal incidents, we learn from our own missteps (and those of others) to progress and grow.

However, if we perceive every hardship as a catastrophe, we’re left with no choice but to wave the white flag at the first sign of trouble.

Life suddenly seems devoid of meaning, and we find ourselves stuck in a quagmire of negativity, feeling thoroughly doomed.

Here’s how you can combat catastrophic thinking:

  • Try to glean lessons from your misfortunes and mistakes.
  • Immerse yourself in inspiring tales of individuals who transformed their lives through sheer determination and resilience.
  • Pen down your personal experiences of triumphing over adversity.
  • Reflect on the skills and personal traits you’ve acquired through overcoming hardship.

4. Control Negativity by Managing Loss

Loss is an inescapable part of life—be it the end of a cherished friendship, the death of a loved one, or the pain of divorce. 

These losses can weigh heavily on our hearts, making the world seem a bit darker.

I’ve weathered numerous storms of loss since my early 20s. Each time, I felt like I was stuck in a state of perpetual grief. 

But you know what? 

Time truly is the great healer.

Whenever I’m feeling low, I turn to the song “Jealous” by Labrinth. It’s a soul-stirring tune, and there’s one line in particular that always tugs at my heartstrings:

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

Labrinth - Jealous (Official Video)
(Labrinth’s ‘Jealous’ – A soothing anthem for those grappling with loss and a reminder of the importance of controlling negativity)

This phrase, tinged with longing and sorrow, is a poignant reminder to me that even though I may miss my loved ones, it’s comforting to know they’re happy—and that someday we’ll meet again.

Here are some strategies to help you manage the pain of loss:

  • Give yourself permission to feel your emotions fully.
  • Reflect on the beautiful memories you shared with your loved ones. 
  • If you’ve been through a divorce, try to list some positive changes or experiences that have occurred since.
  • Reach out to close friends, family members, or a professional counsellor if you’re struggling to navigate the choppy waters of grief.

5. Life’s Challenges and Their Influence on Negativity

Struggles like debt, weight gain, addiction, toxic relationships, unmet goals, or an untidy living environment can all create a breeding ground for negativity. 

This vicious cycle seems to tighten its grip on us with each passing day.

The longer we allow these issues to persist, the more we erode our self-respect, trust, and confidence

As the situation deteriorates, we may start to believe that we’re doomed to endure perpetual hardship. 

This mindset can turn negative thinking into our default setting.

Here’s a strategy to break free from this vicious cycle:

  • Make a list of the challenges you’re facing or areas of your life you’d like to improve.
  • Select the most pressing issue—the one that, once resolved, will significantly improve your quality of life.
  • Write down a series of small, achievable goals that will help you address this issue.
  • Stay focused on this primary goal until it’s fully resolved. Then, move down the list, tackling each challenge one at a time.

6. Worry: A Major Contributor to Negativity

Whatever keeps you up at night, remember this: worry is not a solution. It merely traps you in an endless cycle of negativity.

I’ve spent considerable time working on eliminating worry from my life, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve finally managed to do so. 

I found a particularly helpful tool in a guided meditation video on YouTube. It’s two hours long, and I listen to it every night before bed, often drifting off to sleep with the calming voice echoing in my ears.

I’m convinced that my subconscious mind absorbs these soothing messages, allowing them to work their magic. 

I feel more grounded, calm, and focused, whether I’m writing, exercising, reading, or simply watching a movie.

Here’s a strategy to help manage worry:

  • Make a list of your main worries.
  • Next to each item, put a tick if it’s something you can control or an X if it’s beyond your control.
  • For worries you can control, jot down a potential solution. Even a small action plan can give you a sense of control and peace.
  • If you’re worried about something you can’t control, write it down on a separate piece of paper, then tear it up and throw it away.
  • Practise meditation. If you find it hard to sit still, try guided meditation and focus on the guiding voice.

7. Media Influence: The Bad News Cycle and Negativity

The media are in a relentless battle for our attention, and they often win by tugging on our emotional heartstrings. 

Stories of accidents and crimes are particularly effective at grabbing our attention. 

As our appetite for tales of tragedy and fear escalates, so does their prevalence across all news networks. 

This can distort our perception of reality. 

We’re led to believe that death by fire, flood, random crime, or freak accidents is commonplace and that malevolence and misfortune overwhelmingly overshadow goodness and positivity. 

This perception can trap us in an unending cycle of negativity.

Here’s a strategy to help shield yourself from this onslaught of bad news:

  • Limit your news consumption.
  • Avoid excessive use of social media.
  • Pay attention to your reactions to news stories and social media posts. Ask yourself: “Am I being informed, or am I being drawn into drama?
  • When you encounter something intriguing or controversial, take the time to conduct your own research and form a balanced viewpoint.

8. Controlling Negativity: The Pitfall of Taking Things Personally

If you’re prone to taking things personally, life can become a tormenting rollercoaster ride. 

You might find yourself hurt by things that have no real connection to you, nursing negativity for no reason other than a runaway imagination. 

Taking things too personally is a surefire way to invite negativity into your life.

Here’s a strategy to help manage this tendency:

  • Understand your worth, what motivates you, and what activities you truly enjoy.
  • Live your life as the lead actor, with everyone else in supporting roles—not the other way around.
  • Pursue your own path, seeking approval from yourself first and foremost.
  • Keep yourself engaged in fulfilling, satisfying, and inspiring activities.

9. Complaining: A Common Source of Negativity

Successful businesses don’t see customer complaints as a negative. Instead, they view them as opportunities to evolve and enhance their products and services.

Similarly, in our personal lives, complaints act as a spotlight, illuminating areas where we’re dissatisfied. 

It could be our job, living conditions, relationships, career, or finances—complaints are feedback that cries out for our attention.

However, consistently complaining without taking any meaningful action to address the issue only breeds negativity.

Here’s an approach to converting complaints into constructive action:

  • Be mindful of how often you complain each day.
  • Pinpoint which aspects of life are causing the most complaints.
  • Take action to address the areas you’re complaining about.
  • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by noting down what you’re thankful for each day.

10. Autopilot Lifestyle: The Subtle Accelerator of Negativity

The moment we succumb to the allure of comfort, we start to tolerate things that aren’t truly beneficial for us

We accept things as they are and shy away from challenging the status quo to improve our lives.

Living life on autopilot can lead us to accumulate bad habits, which in turn may lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, poor health, and strained relationships.

Remaining in familiar territory without making any progress can breed discontent and sow the seeds of negativity in our lives.

Here’s a strategy to shake off the auto-pilot mode:

Final Thoughts on Controlling Negativity

The power of positive thinking enables us to perform better in all aspects of life, so it’s in our best interest to steer clear of negativity. 

The good news is that negativity is something within our control. 

Identify what triggers negativity in your life, and use the suggestions outlined in this post to break free from it. 

You’ll discover that positive thinking not only outshines negative thinking—it empowers you to excel beyond your wildest dreams.

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