Attitude is everything. A small but very powerful statement. Your attitude about work, family, friends, eating, can drastically alter how your relationships. Negative and pessimistic attitudes impact more than just your relationship, they impact your mental wellbeing, your physical wellbeing, and have a drastic impact on your life.
Research has shown a link between emotional vitality—characterized by enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance and a substantially reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
Negativity spreads much in the say way a contagious cold does. Scientific research reported on in Wired states, “feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease.”
Negativity also affects our ability to think clearly and restricts our memories. “Negativity compromises the effectiveness of the neurons in the hippocampus, an important area of the brain responsible for reasoning and memory.”
People like to surround themselves with like-minded people. And if you are constantly emitting negative thoughts and outlooks, the only people you’ll attract will be others doing the same. And your chances of getting out of this cycle becomes increasingly difficult.
Once you start to recognize the patterns, it can be easy to spot negative trends toward others. But negative thoughts and attitudes towards yourself are more detrimental to your life because self-negativity often goes overlook and unchecked.
There is a link between positive thinking and effective stress management. Researchers have found several health benefits to positive thinking:
Positive thinking and an optimistic attitude isn’t walking around with your head in the clouds ignoring any potential pain or negative thought. It is about dealing with these negative circumstances in a productive way.
The first place to start when it comes to living a more positive life is looking at self-limiting beliefs and negative self speak.
Self-speak are the thoughts you think to yourself throughout the day. It’s what you told yourself about the outfit you tried on this morning, it’s what you said to yourself as you headed into that big meeting. It’s what you told yourself as you rejected that phone call from your mother.
Self-limiting beliefs are the negative thoughts we have and tell ourselves during self-speak. Like how that outfit was unflattering because your torso is too short and too flabby in that shirt. Or how you’re totally unprepared for this meeting and you’re boss won’t like your findings. Or how you’re mother is just going to nag you on all your life choices for the week so you can’t even bother dealing with her right now.
These negative thoughts that we say to ourselves limit our potential. If you say something enough or hear something enough times, you will start to believe it. You will start to embody that trait. And it is so easy to fall into that trap with negative thoughts.
Like many things, the first step to letting go of limiting beliefs is by recognizing you are doing it.
Take stock of everyday occurrences that bring negative thoughts. This could be your daily commute or strained relationship with a coworker.
By identifying small areas that bring you unhappiness and negativity, you can slowly start to focus on each instance. What makes your commute so bad, your relationship so strained? In what ways do you contribute to it? In what ways can you help change the situation?
Throughout your day, take a pause and do a quick assessment. What is your current mood? What has caused negative thoughts so far and can you find anything positive about them?
Some bad situations aren’t as bad as they seem and often offer up some very humorous moments. Finding aspects to smile or laugh about will help reduce the stress and worry you feel. Humor will also help you find the postive aspects of the situation and help stop the self-blaming cycle.
There is a big link between physical exercise and mental wellbeing. Exercise emits endorphins, reduces stress, and can be a great way to work out some frustration. And I’m not talking about kickboxing. Even a 15-minute walk can clarify your thoughts, release those endorphins and get you on your way to a better attitude.
Your environment can be a huge stressor and cause for negativity. Your environment is more than just your physical surroundings. People are a large part of your environment and it’s important to fill those surroundings with positive people. Back to the saying about like-minded people. Being caught up in a negative spiral will only inflame if you’re around those who feed the fire. Finding positive people to be around will help remind you to look at the positive aspects of a situation and they won’t add fuel to your negative fire.
The last and perhaps most important way to end your negative thoughts starts with you. Yes this will sound cliche but it is very true “don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else.” However simple that may sound, when put into practice, can have a profound impact on your attitude, outlook, and life.
Change never comes easy, but focus on one step at a time, one situation at a time, and you’ll start to feel a difference.