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We all experience negative thoughts at some point – there’s no getting away from that. But do you ever get into “funks” where all you do is jump to the worst possible outcome? Or start saying or thinking things that are always on the negative side?
Negativity has this way of sneaking up on you, and it can be very mentally draining.
Choosing positivity and removing negativity will make your life feel more enjoyable and satisfying. You’ll reach your goals more quickly because you’ll be more excited and motivated.
For me, a downslide into negative thoughts tends to happen when I’m heading into a period of depression. If I can catch it early enough, I’m able to use these tips to get out of it. Let’s call it a negativity detox, if you will.
(I’m not a doctor, and I understand that this doesn’t work for everyone. My depression is very mild.)
Even if you’re not dealing with clinical depression, sometimes your thoughts just go there. So let’s learn how to get them out 🙂
It’s really simple to do a negativity detox, but it’s not always easy. When you’re intentional about making a change, though, it’ll happen with time and practice, and you’ll turn your life around for the better.
Are you intrigued by positivity and ready to eliminate negativity? All you need is the desire to improve yourself.
How to Remove Negativity from Your Life
#1 – Be Present
I know that I talk about this a lot, but it really is important if you want to live a happier life.
Think about this: If you’re having negative thoughts about a situation, it’s almost always about something in the past or something in the future. You’re either wishing you could have done or said something differently, or you’re worrying about something that may not even happen.
If you can stop your mind from wandering and stay in this moment, you’re more likely to be thinking positively.
#2 – Set Boundaries
Do you ever feel pulled in a hundred different directions? Or compelled to do something you don’t want to do, but give in because someone asked and you couldn’t say no?
You’re just trying to be a good person and do kind things, but agreeing to over-extend yourself to make other people happy only leads to burnout and bad moods.
Setting healthy boundaries for yourself is crucial for your mental well-being.
It’s hard to start saying no if you’ve been saying yes for a long time. But without healthy boundaries, you’ll feel so busy that it will lead to a negative mindset.
#3 – Watch Your Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is a trap that’s easy to fall into.
If you’re down on yourself because your jeans don’t fit anymore or feel like you don’t have the skills to do something, this is negative self-talk. Your subconscious listens to these things you’re telling yourself, and it starts to believe them.
This is incredibly damaging to your self-esteem.
When you catch yourself thinking those damaging thoughts, write them down. Then flip the statements into something positive and empowering.
For example, “I can’t do this” becomes “I can’t do this YET – but I’ll work on it.” Or if you’re having a rough clothes day, turn it around to being grateful that you have several outfits to choose from, even if they aren’t making you feel awesome today.
Once you get into the habit of uplifting self-talk, you’ll find that you’re happier and more positive.
Remember to be kind to yourself and remind yourself daily that you’re strong, confident, capable, and amazing – just the way you are!
#4 – Distance Yourself from Toxic People
Being around toxic people is bad for your mental health. If you can avoid them, you should.
This one can get tricky because the people that affect you the most with their negativity and toxicity can be immediate family members or close friends.
Relationships should lift you up, not bring you down. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, dragged down by a person’s negativity, or simply being treated badly, you should re-evaluate the relationship and decide if it’s worth trading your happiness to spend time with them.
Start saying no and setting up healthy boundaries.
On the flip side, you can seek out people who are positive and kind, and nurture those relationships. Focus your time and energy on family and friends who bring out the best in you. Surrounding yourself with kind, honest, loyal people is not only fun, but a great way to eliminate negativity from your life.
#5 – Stop Complaining
No one likes a complainer. If you’re in the habit of complaining about every little thing, think about why this could be.
Constant complaining feeds your negative outlook and causes stress, anxiety, and unhappiness.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally vent when you’re having a rough day – some days are hard, and you need an outlet!
What can you do to solve whatever problem it is that you’re complaining about? What changes can you make in your own life to make yourself happier?
Because, although you can’t always control your circumstances, you can 100% control your reactions to those circumstances. If you don’t like something about your life, rather than complaining, make it a habit to find something in the situation to be grateful for.
Gratitude has a miraculous ability to shift your energy from negative to positive.
#6 – Get Outside
Studies show that being outside can boost your mood, therefore reducing negative thoughts. It also helps lower blood pressure, improve immunity, and reduce stress, among other things.
Go for a hike. Sit on your porch or deck and read a book. Take the kids to the playground.
As far as ways to reduce negativity, It doesn’t get much easier than this!
#7 – Read Personal Growth / Self-Help Books
I love reading. I love all books – biographies, novels, memoirs… But one genre that has more benefits than any other is personal growth.
I’m always in the middle of at least two books at a time, and one of them is always is the personal growth genre.
When you’re putting positivity into your brain in the form of books (or even podcasts or TED talks), positivity comes out in the form of your feelings, words, and actions.
Self-help books will motivate you, bring positivity into your life, and help you change into the person you want to be.
#8 – Practice Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is so important when it comes to eliminating negativity from your life.
There are obvious things to be grateful for – having a home, loved ones who care about you, maybe a job, maybe your health and the health of your family…
A lot of times, though, we forget those big, important things because we have so much fluff running around in our heads that consume our thoughts.
It’s important to make time to stop and think about these big-picture things when you’re stressing about something unimportant.
A habit of intentionally practicing gratitude will bring positivity into your life.
#9 – Take Responsibility for Your Life
This one’s hard. Because although you can’t control your circumstances 100% of the time, you can control them the vast majority of the time.
And this kind of responsibility is stressful.
It’s so much easier to blame external factors when things aren’t going your way, but if you want to get rid of negativity, you have to take responsibility.
You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control your reactions.
When something unfortunate happens, before blaming someone or something outside of yourself, ask yourself if, perhaps, you did or didn’t do something to cause it.
Resist the temptation to defend yourself. Focus on your own life and your own actions, and OWN IT. Personal responsibility is key to releasing negativity.
Acknowledge that your life is your responsibility, and be accountable for it.
And then figure out how you can do better next time.
#10 – Stop Comparing Yourself with Others
Comparison is perfectly normal, but it’s usually a liar.
On social media, our friends and other random people we follow seem to have perfect lives, perfect kids, perfect homes, and perfect marriages.
But social media never shows the whole truth. It doesn’t show the work it took to get where they are. In the case of the beautiful homes, it doesn’t show that the kids went through and wrecked the place 15 seconds after the photo was taken.
It also doesn’t show that the person posting is waiting for likes and comments because they’re insecure and in pain, and likes and comments are what makes them feel valued and appreciated.
The simplest way to stop comparing? A social media detox. Or, at the very least, unfollow the people who make you feel like crap.
You’re your own person on your own path with different goals and dreams. Comparing yourself to another person will just make you miserable.
The moment you stop comparing yourself to others is the moment you’ll stop feeling like you don’t measure up.
#11 – Reframe
This has been a common theme throughout this post – if you’re thinking negatively, turn it around into something positive or something that you’re grateful for. In other words, reframe your negative thoughts.
When you shift the way you view a situation, you change its meaning. And that, in turn, changes your own thinking and behaviors.
Perspective makes all the difference when dealing with negative emotions or experiences.
#12 – Stop Looking Outside of Yourself for Happiness
If you aren’t happy with your life, change it.
It’s not healthy to depend on external things to help fill voids in your life. Nothing can make you “complete” – you already are a whole person.
You don’t need constant validation from other people to make you happy. You don’t need alcohol or shopping sprees to forget about life for a while.
Look for ways to boost your mood and bring out your inner joy and peace. Find solo activities that make you happy – learn new skills, start a side hustle, try a new hobby…
Nobody else can make you happy – it comes from within.
If it feels like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of negativity and unhappiness, you have the ability to fix it by cutting out the toxic thoughts, habits, and behaviors that aren’t serving you.
As your thoughts and actions become more positive, you’ll find that good things start automatically happening to you.
I hope that these tips will help you first become more aware of the negative energy in your life, then help you reframe and become a more positive person.
What negative thought are you going to reframe today? Leave the original thought and its positive switch-around in the comments!