It’s not unusual to have negative thoughts entering our minds from time to time…Am I good enough? Will people like our products? Will people like me? Why can’t I get that raise? Why can’t I get promoted? Why is the waiter soooo slow?
Left unchecked, negativity can steal thousands of hours of productive time and leave us feeling unfulfilled, empty or useless. I’ve a close family member who will find fault in everything in any situation leaving him feeling frustrated and sometimes even angry. Believe me, when you have to deal with a customer like him, you’ll just feel like running far, far away.
The first step is to catch yourself whenever you start talking negatively.
No matter how successful we are and how many goals we’ve achieved, we tend to focus on that one negative comment or incident. We dwell on the customers that are committed to making every seller feel miserable or at least making things tougher than it should be.
Negative thinking is basically in our DNA. We usually remember the bad things and forget the good. That’s what makes us natural complainers, (especially in Malaysia!).
Did you know that negativity can actually affect our health? Negativity and the stress that accompanies it have also been seen affecting certain stem cells that cause changes in the brain. Rather than doing damage, it strengthens certain connections (at least in mice) and facilitates the fight-or-flight mechanism, causing another feedback loop. Sure, you need that, but too much of it will just get in the way. It increases the risk for mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, will shorten your life, and will just make you weaker in general.
So what can we do when we notice negative thoughts lingering around?
- SHIFT YOUR FOCUS– This might sound impractical but it usually works to help us focus on the good. Make a list of good stuff that happened to you this week or something good you did for someone. Distract yourself, get yourself dancing or reading or just chatting with a friend about how their day has been
- FOCUS ON SOMETHING POSITIVE FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS- We tend to brush off good experiences and compliments. So instead of going “Aww that’s really nothing”, relish these memories and soak in the positivity
- CREATING AND DESTROYING- If your negative thoughts are linked to a specific strong emotion like fear, anger or jealousy, try letting them all out in writing. Use a pen and paper, and really express all of that pent up negativity. You can then choose a way of destroying this paper, symbolizing your commitment to moving on. For example, you could tear it up, crush it into a ball, burn it, or scribble over it.For those who aren’t as keen on using words to express themselves, artistic endeavours can have a similar impact. For example, you could sculpt a representation of your negativity, or paint it, and then destroy that (or change its shape).
The point of this technique is just to get some kind of physical representation of your negativity so that you can banish it in some satisfying symbolic way.
So it’s time to share your comments below! Has negativity ever caught you off guard? What have you done to overcome these thoughts? Tell me below!