5 Ways to Remove Negativity From Your Life

5 Ways to Remove Negativity From Your Life

If there was one word on this planet that killed more change, it would be the word ‘No.’ No, I don’t have the energy to launch a new business. No, I don’t have time to write a novel. No, I’m not smart enough to learn Chinese.

It can be hard to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes,’ especially if we ourselves are the sources of our own negativity. It’s possible, though, if we work to eliminate the sources of our self-doubt and indecision.

1. Forget What Others (Might) Say

Oftentimes, we tell ourselves ‘no’ because we think our father/sister/best friend might not approve of our actions. First, it’s crucial to remember that we live our own lives, regret and all. Just because someone else tells us not to do something, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Ask yourself why your father/sister/best friend would say ‘no’ and see if reasoning stands up to real scrutiny.

On the flip side, we tend to use our family and friends as easy excuses. If we imagine someone close to us might say ‘no,’ we often won’t bother to explore further. I remember in college I really wanted to study abroad in Japan, but felt my father would disapprove. When I finally worked up the courage to tell him about my aspiration, he became more excited than me. Had I believed in my imaginary dad, I would have missed out on one of the most exciting adventures of my life.

2. Hang Around Positive People

Being around people who have already learned not to tell themselves ‘no’ can benefit you. These positive thinkers will encourage you to try new things, follow your dreams, and motivate you even when you yourself want to avoid trying something new. They can also teach you to pinpoint your worst ‘no’ telling habits to avoid them altogether.

3. Stop Complaining

I’ll be the first to admit that I like to complain – my family, my workplace, whatever. Complaining, though, puts our mind in a position to make more excuses. We are not in charge of our destiny, our situation is. The next time you catch yourself complaining, stop immediately. Think instead of how to solve your problem and then try fixing it. You will be amazed at how small successes can breed a positive outlook on life.

4. Try Something New

A lot of negativity originates from the idea that we can’t do something we’ve never tried before. If you are always trying new things, though, you realize that the world is full of things you’ve never done. Start a new hobby by hopping over to Meetup.com and find a group of people doing something fun in your area. The more you challenge yourself to do new things, the less you will tell yourself ‘No, I can’t do that.’

5. Devote an Hour a Day to your Goals

Everyone, no matter who you are, has dreams and goals, but most people think they don’t have the time to pursue them. Even if you are raising six kids and have two part-time jobs, though, you can always find at least an hour in your day to devote to your passion. How do I know this is true? Because my mom finished college this way, by tackling it a small course at a time over several years. Devoting time to your goals will boost your self-esteem and give you the courage to say ‘yes’ to more goals.

Remember, you never regret spending time doing something positive, but you might regret denying yourself. Try squashing a few negative habits in your life just for a week. You may surprise yourself.

Photo by Fenanov

Deborah Fike

Deborah Fike is the Director of Educational Outreach for Spotkin, an educational games company that marries fun with learning.  She’s also the founder of Avalon Labs, which provides marketing consultations and writing services for start-ups and online businesses.   She carves out a significant portion of her time to raising her two younger daughters.

21 Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Deborah! Isn’t it amazing how many reasons we can come up with not to do something new? I especially like #4 – so often we’re afraid to try something new because we might fail. We ask “What if I can’t do it?” So what if we can’t – wecan just try something else.

    Melinda

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  2. If each of us stopped complaining we’d all be living our dreams. I think changing that one thing would make all the difference in the world. Partly because there’s an excuse in a complaint.
    Nice job.

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  3. I always find it more fun to be learning and trying than hiding and lying to myself.

    Live the life you want to live.

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  4. An awesome post you have here about life! I always have fun in discovering new things in life. And it’s good to know that life is just so wonderful… They say that Live Life to the Fullest!

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  5. Great stuff here, Deborah! It’s #2 that’s probably hit me well. Somehow, I’ve always been thankful for being surrounded by people who believes in me, appreciates who I am and what I do and makes me laugh. The last one is so important, I guess. For me, laughter just colors the atmosphere with positive light, anytime, anywhere.

    Of course, these people I hang around with aren’t the ones to just “create” the world I want to see. They’re the ones who point out my mistakes, if only to correct them; argue their stand, even if it runs against my ideas, if only to open my eyes to other people’s wisdom; and they’re the ones who’d say my hair looks horrible or my hours at the internet are sinful. But the thing is, their honesty, no matter how brutal, are signs that these people who love me want my negatives to be positives. There’s no pretense from them, and it matters a lot to me.

    It helps that I am 100% certain they mean well, even with their brutal expression of love. It has made me better. 

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  6. Action taking is the key term. No matter what you are tired of, nothing will change unless you start moving forward. And as it is said in the post, you need to try before you can say that something is impossible or unachievable. Never stop believing!

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  7. 6) Take the focus off yourself and help others. It will make you feel good (positive) about yourself and make others feel good about you. Every moment you interact with people is an opportunity develop unique relationships and create shared experiences.

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  8. Hi Peter,

    I just stumbled into your blog, and I love this post. All great advice that I’ve used … and also forgotten too many times to talk about. :)

    Your blog is a fine parallel to one I recently started called Up From Splat; it’s about how to get back up when life slams you down. So I’m happy to have found your site–its a great resource.

    I’d add another to your list and that’s to shift the focus of 2 little words we use too much to stop ourselves: “what if.” We come up with a great idea and then say, “What if they don’t like it or what if I make a fool of myself or what if I lose money.” Instead, we need to ask, “What if I exceed my wildest expectations or what if they love it or what if this leads me to something even better?” :)

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  9. Awesome post! I’d say #2 for sure. That has been a life changing experience for me and it’s a great reminder how we’re the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with! Great post! Sharing this out….

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  10. Really Good Stuff! I like number 5 the most, being focused on our dreams and goals is so important yet most of us forget to go after them everyday. When we make them important they become a reality.

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  11. I like your #6. Helping others is a great way to put a positive spin on the world and see how you can affect change.

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  12. I would like to add positive self talk as a way to avoiding negativity in life. Whenever I feel down and the answer to all my questions seems like a big “No”, I give myself a self pep talk. I start talking about the things that I have been able to achieve in life which gives me more confidence and slowly the negativity goes away and my questions are answered with a positive “yes”.

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  13. Great bits of advice, thank you.

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  14. Nice, simple tips. I’m on a productive drive at the moment and negativity is something that could hold me back sometimes, useful. :)

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  15. Awesome! I realized that I’m doing all of these things. I’m just sitting around FINDING negative things that go on in my life, and finding reasons to be upset. They’re easy tips but that will make a huge difference. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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    • Glad you found it helpful, Kelsey. I find myself slipping now and again, so it was a refresher for me to write it down and reference it myself.

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  16. I think you make some great points but I believe that NO is a powerful word that we all need to learn and use far more often. I think we say yes too often to what others want for us that we are too busy and run down to say yes to our goals and dreams.
    The word NO for me is actually a positive word that keeps me focussed and more efficiant in achieving my dreams and living a great life.

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    • I completely agree that you should say “yes” to things that mean something to you (and not to someone else). Saying “no” to someone else can be quite positive for your own aspirations. Great point!

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  17. FANTASTIC!!!
    I Really loved! tht’s so awsome I must Say! everyone should try it if they need to :)

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  18. sun shining on the sea
    hearing raindrops hitting the window
    spring’s wind
    WAAO:::: WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD THIS IS :)
    sings of POSITIVITY :)
    When world is full of positive sings then why do we think so negative….feel the happiness from taking things positive…. our life is a bundle of problems..every day we face a new challenge a new problem but we are not supposed to give up..
    that’s what i call a great battle between negative thoughts and positive thoughts :)

    Reply

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