We humans tend to focus on the negative. When I turn on the news, I find out how bad the world is. If I get 30 positive reviews for my book and one negative one, then the one negative one keeps me busy longer than 30 good ones.
Negativity gets our full attention. For the positive things our senses are less sharpened. This is also no wonder, because in nature This is how we protect ourselves from the dangers of the wilderness. This is anchored in our genes. But life is no longer so dangerous. We no longer have to flee from the saber-toothed tiger. Most natural dangers have disappeared from our everyday life. Now we live more securely than ever before – and still devote ourselves to negative things.
Thereby negativity is really … negative! It feels lousy. It makes us unhappy and sick. It fuels distrust of our fellow human beings. It keeps us from living up to our potential. And it reinforces itself: What we focus on becomes our reality. If you expect a lot of negative, that’s exactly what you get.
Reason enough to reduce the negativity in our lives. I’ve been working on this for some time, and I’d like to show you twelve steps you can take to Avoid a lot of the negativity in your everyday life.
1. Avoid the mass media
I recommend that you largely avoid the media. By this I mean news, talk shows, many documentaries, newspapers, most magazines and the corresponding online media. You work according to the motto "Only bad news is good news". And who can blame them? Bad news – dramatized on top of it – sells. These are all businesses that need to sustain themselves. So they only report about the problems of the world and inflate them even more artificially. And when actually everything is fine, then possible problems are conjured up. Consequently we see the world more negatively than it actually is.
But now ask yourself the following question: "How often has news changed my everyday life??" I bet as good as never. No matter how many crises and scandals there have been in recent years: they all had no influence on my life. I haven’t changed anything in my everyday life just because the media have made a problem big.
As a result, I (almost) only consume information that affects me personally. These are topics around my well-being, my advancement, my business. And I consume this information "just in time" – when I need it. I have cancelled magazines, I watch television only very selectively, I scan Spiegel Online only cursorily and I have also limited social media consumption (although more is possible here). I miss absolutely nothing. On the contrary, I feel better because I am confronted with less negativity.
2. Avoid negative people
You are the average of the people you spend most of your time with. If your environment consists of ambitionless people, you yourself lose your ambitions. If you surround yourself with blasphemers, you will blaspheme yourself. If your friends play the role of victims, you will soon become a victim yourself. That’s how it goes. The People around us influence our own mentality more than we realize.
Surrounding yourself with inspiring people is therefore an important step away from negativity. You need friends who have a positive attitude towards life. The rubs off on you and they make it easier for you to be positive yourself.
I recommend questioning relationships. If there are any that drag you down more than they benefit you, then it’s time to reduce contact.
3. Do not blaspheme
Blasphemy has a social function. This is how we learn something about people without knowing them well ourselves. So Protects us blasphemy from harmful people. But does it outweigh the disadvantages? The information is subjective anyway and should be taken with a grain of salt. But most of all (negative) blasphemy is based on anger. If you blaspheme, you have not expressed your anger to that person. In return, he shares his anger with everyone else. But this causes stress, because when you blaspheme you have to be afraid of being discovered. And for what? Nothing positive has ever come from blasphemy.
Who blasphemes, put yourself in a bad light, because I expect that sooner or later he will also bitch about me. If you blaspheme a lot, you will have a hard time building a network of non-blasphemous people around you. They want nothing to do with you.
So the first thing you have to do is stop. It’s quite hard. I still do it sometimes. But I’ve been trying to minimize it since I realized it was hurting me.
You can’t complain alone. When you realize that someone wants to bitch with you, do not get into it – even if you feel unkind in the moment.
4. Do not complain
There is always something to complain about: the weather, the traffic, the job, the boss, the politicians. After all my travels, it seems to me that we Germans are particularly good at it. It’s a little popular sport. But the problem with grumbling is: It doesn’t bring anything positive, but worsens our mood.
complaining is a habit and habits can be changed. In order to do this, we first need to realize that we complain a lot. A popular method comes from Will Bowen, who wants to create a Complaint Free World. According to this, you should put a bracelet around your wrist. Every time, If you catch yourself bitching, your bracelet has to change your wrist. This increases the awareness of one’s own bitching.
Our own version looks a little different: For a while, we imposed pushups on ourselves for every grumble we made.
No matter if you wear a bracelet, do push-ups or not: If you realize that you are grumbling right now, you can ask yourself how useful that is. As long as you don’t or can’t change the situation, complaining is useless. Instead, practice empathy For the people you’re unhappy with right now. Probably just doing their best to get through life well.
5. Lie not
Lies are supposed to make our lives easier, but in reality they make it harder for us. You cause stress and guilt. If you lie, you can’t develop good self-esteem. Will always be worried about being discovered instead.
I don’t want to promote never lying again. This is not likely to work in a social community. But be aware Punish every lie with negative emotions will. That should be worth it to you to be honest more often. Even to yourself.
6. Do not compare yourself with others
We tend to compare ourselves with other people. We compare jobs, income, cars, attractiveness, relationships, intelligence, courage and much more. I understand that. I’m no different. Comparisons give us orientation in a complicated world. We want to know where we stand.
But I have learned that comparisons are unhealthy. You Make me unhappy, Charge me with guilt and gnaw at my self-confidence. There is always someone who has more money or brains and is more attractive or braver.
We always see only this one aspect and feel inferior. But a person consists of more than one facet. If we’re going to compare ourselves, let’s do it in all facets. That gives a much more balanced picture. But it would be even better to just focus on ourselves. Because self-esteem only comes from ourselves.
7. Improve your self-esteem
And that is already the next step. Negativity comes from low self-esteem. Those who do not consider themselves competent to lead a happy life and worthy of it, are more prone to negative feelings. Low self-worth invites feelings of envy, hatred, fear, anxiety, inferiority or helplessness.
I’ve been waiting a long time for my self-esteem to rise because of my successes. Or by other people. But I could wait for that today, because that’s not how it works. A feeling of Self-worth we can only give ourselves.
The way to get there is through self-acceptance, honesty, personal responsibility, passions and a healthy lifestyle. This is a topic of its own that we will certainly take up at Healthy Habits.
8. Do not invent problems
Do not deal with problems that do not exist yet. We humans are good at making ourselves Worry about anything to do. But 99 percent of our worries never become reality. You are useless. And as long as we can’t do anything ourselves, the other 1 percent is also useless. These are 100 percent useless worries!
The next time you find yourself constructing problems in your mind, consider whether you can actively do something about them. If not, go to the next step and accept what you cannot change.
9. Accept what you cannot change
Do you sometimes get irritated by things you cannot change?? Maybe it’s the weather. But maybe it’s something bigger that’s out of your control. Try to catch yourself thinking such thoughts next time. They are useless. We can only find our peace of mind when Accept things we cannot influence.
And if you’re worried because you don’t know what’s coming, think about what the worst case scenario might be. If everything goes wrong, what would be the worst expected outcome? Start making friends with it. Accept the Worst case. Take it as your reality. Then try to bring about steps for improvement. What can you do to get a better result than the Worst Case – which you have already accepted? It can only get better from here.
10. Live mindfully in the here and now
As you know, almost all our problems exist only in our heads. These nasty thoughts are based on experiences and information from the past and on worries about the future. But our life does not happen in the future and certainly not in the past but here and now.
The best way to prepare for the future is to To live a healthy life today and to do the best possible job. If you make an effort today, tomorrow can come quietly.
However, it is not so easy to detach ourselves in thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow. Our brain somehow always wants to keep us away from today. For me, meditation is a good way to practice mindfulness in the here and now. Just a few minutes a day is enough to get me off my thought carousel for a while.
11. Take responsibility for your life
Problems then work especially large if we let them flourish. And, strictly speaking, they not only seem that way but actually get bigger over time. If you are unhappy with yourself or your life today, inactivity will only make it worse. A grueling job will eventually lead to burnout. A small belly becomes overweight. A difficult relationship turns into bitterness.
You can only escape from this negative spiral if you Take responsibility for your problems. Free yourself from lethargy and say no to this development. No to the grueling job, no to the overweight and no to the bad relationship.
Responsibility is one of the most important steps away from negativity. Because the first ten steps require that you become active yourself. It is your responsibility to avoid negative media, avoid harmful people, don’t blaspheme, etc.
12. Use the Tetris effect for yourself
We get served up by life exactly what we expect. If we are surrounded only by negativity and expect it to stay that way, we get only negativity in return. In psychology, this is called the Tetris effect. In this case it runs against us.
However, if we concentrate on the positive sides of life, we will experience more positive things. This is also the Tetris effect, but used for us. I don’t even want to say more about this yet. For this twelfth point is a foretaste of the next article, which is about positive emotions.