Negativity is all around us: In the news, on TV, in our home, in our environment, in our heads… Although we all want to be positive and have more positivity in our lives, we often don’t realize how much we are surrounded by negativity. It can be present in your life in very subtle ways and influence you without you even knowing.
Negativity drains your energy, it keeps you stuck and it’s certainly not good for your self-confidence (believe me). Negativity works like a downward spiral: the more negative you are and the more negativity you are surrounded by, the more negativity you will attract. If you have a bad day, it’s easy to find more things around you that make it even worse.
Have you ever been in a negative and toxic environment, but never truly realized how much effect it had on you until you moved into a different one?
Well, that’s what I experienced when I moved to the US last year. It was the change from my old environment into a new one, that made me aware of the negativity in my environment and how it was influencing me. They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But only in this case, I was happy that ‘it’, my old environment, was gone. It opened my eyes for the better.
Since then, I’ve been able to remove a lot of negativity from my life. And today I want to share 7 ways that you can remove negativity from your life as well.
I hope this article helps to open your eyes to the subtle ways in which negativity is present in your life. Let’s make room for the positive!
1. Pay Attention to What You Feed your Mind
We consume a lot of different information on a daily basis and for most of us it’s part of our daily habits: checking social media after waking up, watching the news while enjoying your cup of coffee in the morning or reading the newspaper on your commute to work. It seems so normal and harmless, but have you ever noticed how much of the information you consume is negative?
I never realized how much influence the exposure to all this negative information has on how we feel. If you just let it happen, it will eat you alive (just kidding, but it will keep you in that state of negativity). So be conscious about what you feed your mind and limit your consumption of negative information. What helped me is to be much more selective: instead of reading every single news article online, read the headlines and only click through to read the entire article if it really interests you. Change the channel, if the news stresses you out, or unfollow people on social media if they make you feel bad about yourself.
2. Be Careful About Who You Choose to be Around
Do you have a friend who is always complaining or gossiping about other people? Or perhaps you have people around you who do not believe in you or do not support you and bring you down? If you have those people around you, you may find yourself being dragged into the gossip and negativity around it too. It has a huge influence on how you feel and how you see the world, so you want to avoid it as much as possible.
Negativity is contagious, so pay attention to the people around you.
Ask yourself how the people around you make you feel. Instead of surrounding yourself with negative and narrow-minded people, surround yourself with people who believe in you, who inspire you and lift you up. I know how difficult it can be to distance yourself from toxic relationships that go way back. But eventually, letting go of these people will make room for new, inspiring people around you and will create more positivity in your life.
3. Stop Complaining and Take Action
We all need to let off steam and vent our thoughts sometimes, and that’s perfectly fine! But if you’re constantly complaining about everything, even the smallest of things, that happen to you on a daily basis, it’s time to make a change.
Complaining is easy and comfortable. It’s a coping mechanism to avoid pain or deal with difficult situations. Because let’s be honest: It’s easier to complain about something than to take action, right? If you complain a lot, you focus on the negative aspect of things. It keeps you stuck, because you’re so focused on the bad instead of the good, on the problems instead of the solutions, and on the limitations instead of on the possibilities.
So what is it that you constantly complain about? About how much you hate your job? Instead of focusing your energy on complaining about it, put it into finding a new job. Or do you complain a lot about the way you look? Ask yourself why you do that, turn inward and focus on loving and accepting yourself the way you are. Yes, it’s going to be difficult and yes it’s going to feel uncomfortable. But fighting through it and taking the action required will help you move forward out of that negative spiral.
Remember that no one is going to make things happen for you, you’re the one responsible for making things happen in your life.
4. Pay Attention to Your Own Thoughts and Words
Of all the negativity in your life, a lot of it is in your own head. We have thousands of thoughts popping up in our mind throughout the day. Most of them are negative and chances are that you’re not even consciously aware of all these thoughts. Try to pay attention to them and ask yourself: What am I telling myself? You’ll notice that a lot of times the same thoughts will come up. ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not sure if I can do it’ and ‘Why am I even trying, it’s not going to work out anyway’ were some of the thoughts that I noticed I often had. And they still pop up sometimes (hey, I’m not perfect;)).
The problem with these thoughts is that the more often you repeat them, the more you’ll start to believe them. They get imprinted in your head over time. These thoughts do not only have an impact on how you feel, but they can also act as limiting beliefs and hold you back from doing the things you want to do, from being the person you want to be and from following your dreams.
Tackling your negative thoughts is probably the hardest way to remove negativity from your life. It’s not something that you can do easily, it’s a process. It takes time to change the stories you’ve been telling yourself for so long. You have to be willing to dig deep and do the work from within.
The first step is always to recognize your thoughts. Then you can start making a conscious effort to train your brain to transform the negative narrative into a positive one. That will help you to change ‘I’m not sure if I can do it’ to ‘I can do it and I’m going to try’.
Know that you are not your thoughts, so don’t let the negative voices in your head kill your vibe.
5. Do it for You and Set Clear Boundaries
Let’s be honest: How often have you done something because you felt like you had to do it or because someone expected you to do it? Trying to live up to expectations of others or doing something because someone else expects you to do it? Probably way too many times. I am guilty of it too.
It can spur a lot of negative emotions in you, such as stress, anger and fear of disappointing the other person and not meeting their expectations. On the long term, it can get in the way of your own dreams and goals. Lately, I’ve been asking myself a question that I think you should be asking yourself a bit more often too: Am I doing this to please someone else or am I doing it because it makes ME happy?
To remove the negative energy that is the result of expectations of other people from your life, it’s important to set clear boundaries. I know that this is difficult, I still struggle with it too. But what has helped me is to shield myself from expectations and to not take them too personally. I try to remind myself that if people have expectations off me it’s their problem, not mine.
Stop living your life for other people and choose your own dreams and goals over those that other people might have for you. Do it for you!
6. Declutter Your Physical Environment
Similar to how people in your environment can have a negative impact on your life, your physical environment can also be a source of negativity. You know that feeling when your head is full and you feel tired and overwhelmed? I believe that clutter in your environment can have the same effect on you.
If your home is messy and disorganized, it can make you feel uncomfortable. I usually get that restless feeling where I just want to declutter and tidy up my entire house. That’s when I know I need to clear and transform the negative energy in my home.
A good cleaning spree is what helps a lot for me. Although I can’t really say I enjoy cleaning so much, I do love that feeling of a clean house that smells fresh.
7. Fill Your Life With Positivity
If you’re more positive and fill your life with positivity, you are going to radiate positivity and attract more of it into your life. Just like negativity is contagious, positivity attracts more positivity. And being more positive yourself is the place to start.
Say yes to positivity and actively welcome it into your life. Make conscious choices about what you do and who you spend your time with. Do more of what feel goods and that sparks joy. Start with yourself and the rest will follow.
Just one more thing…
Negativity is all around you, but eventually it is your own choice to either absorb it and let it take over your life or to reject it. I truly hope you choose the latter and that this article helps you to identify and remove negativity from your life. Make room for the positive and I promise you it will come your way.
I’m curious: In which way are you removing negativity from your life and making room for the positive?