Positivity Doesn’t Come Naturally, It’s Hard Work
People perceive me as a positive person, which I deliberately try to be, most of the time. When I find myself in an unclear or sticky situation, I try my best to be optimistic and think that the good outcome will happen. However, a positive mindset and attitude are often seen as a given.
Do you know someone who is always positive, optimistic, encouraging, or confident? And how often do you think that’s just the way he or she is? “Encouraging people seems so easy for you,” or “You look confident so effortlessly.”
It’s Hard Work
Well, let me tell you that positivity neither comes naturally nor easily, it’s hard work. And unfortunately, it is easy to end up in a bad mood when we face adversity. So, don’t take people for granted when he or she comes across the room smiling to cheer everyone up.
It’s already hard enough to stay positive when faced with our own problems. But it can get even harder when we’re also living through the everyday frustrations of the people around us, such as argues between co-workers, rough situations within the family, and gloomy complaints from friends or lovers.
“Negativity is basically laziness. It takes a lot of work to remain positive, but positivity always pays off.” – RuPaul
Emotions Are Contagious
Have you ever wondered why someone else’s moods can affect us so much? A recent study from 2017, found that teenagers who surrounded themselves with negative friends also found their moods to worsen over time, a process known as social contagion. Misery loves to have company, but in a room filled with misery, it’s important to balance our empathy with our personal desire to remain positive.
According to Kate Dow, Ph.D., a psychologist and certified wellness coach for women: “Scientifically, we talk about the mirror neurons in the brain that are purposely created so we can be empathically able to experience what someone else is feeling. The challenge is if you are a very sensitive person, that empathy becomes an open door to taking on other people’s feelings and not being able to have a sense of self to hold onto.”
According to Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of ‘Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days’: “We try to connect to people, and we do that first by picking up on how they feel and then bringing a level of understanding and support.”
“Emotions are contagious. We’ve all known it experientially. You know after having a really fun coffee with a friend, you feel good. When you have a rude clerk in a store, you walk away feeling bad.” – Daniel Goleman
Because we care for the people close to us, we make ourselves vulnerable to negativity. Therefore, it’s important to keep our sanity intact. Here are four pieces of advice to push you back into a positive direction. Some advice may sound harsh for the sensitive ones among us, but it isn’t when it comes to your own health.
1. Acceptance And Redirect
When you feel stuck in a negative state of mind, the first step toward a positive mindset is to consciously accept that you’re in a state of negativity. Acceptance is a huge plus because struggling against it will just drain your energy and makes you only more sensitive to drawbacks.
If you hear you friend frustrating over the new job and how everything is going wrong, your initial reaction may be to nod in agreement. That’s okay. Allow your friend to vent for a few minutes, but then you need to redirect. If someone is complaining all the time and you’re agreeing with them, you’re reinforcing that behaviour, and that may not be so healthy. Instead, offer an alternative way to look at solutions, such as discussing what’s going well in their life or any other events to look forward to.
Of course, this advice is only good for smaller irritations. If your friend is going through something life-changing, it’s good to let them talk about their feelings as much as they may need to.
2. Set Boundaries For Yourself
We only have so much we can give to people, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your needs are met. When we get wrapped up in the drama of friends and lovers, we often forget about ourselves. But if you’re at the end of your rope with the relationship, setting time apart could be what you both need to heal.
Focus on other activities you love or spend time with other people in your life. Not hanging out with them isn’t about being mean or judgmental. It’s self-care, and ultimately, it’s each of our responsibilities to ourselves.
3. Disconnect From Technology
Being connected at all times has its downsides. If you’re dealing with your best friend’s issues at night, you’re setting yourself up for problems. Try turning off your phone, removing social media apps, or even deactivating accounts until you’re feeling better.
According to Kate Dow: “If you don’t take a break, your brain and body are experiencing high-stress stakes constantly, and chronic stress can lead to getting sick.”
4. Reconsider The Relationship
If someone is bringing a lot of negativity into your life, or if you suspect they may be toxic, you should re-evaluate whether you want to spend time with them. It’s an extreme case, but at times, it’s necessary. Figure out how much this friend means to you and how important it is to maintain that friendship.
“There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it.” — William Gay
Think Positive And Work Hard
Even if you’re the sunniest person in the world, staying positive at tough times can still be hard work. Sometimes, problems can seem overwhelming which makes it so tempting to crawl under the covers and shut yourself away from the world. However, we will all go through many difficult situations in our lives, and we don’t want to waste our lives being sad.
In the end, we think positive not because it makes life easier along the way. It’s because of all the hardship that life brings, making it all the more important that we need to stay positive.
“Positive thoughts generate positive feelings and attracts positive life experiences.” – Mae West
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