Your perspective shapes your reality. You’ve probably heard it before, and if you’re a negative person or self-described “realist,” chances are you’ve ignored it. While it’s true that you can’t control what happens to you, the fact remains that you have complete control over the way you respond to problems life throws at you. Here are ten ways negativity is ruining your life and a few easy ways to stop it.
1. You self-sabotage.
Often, a large part of negativity is a negative image of yourself, or low self-esteem. The offshoot of this is that you correctly predict — and create — your own failures. Here’s a challenge: Make a list of things you like about yourself and things you do well. If you really need a reminder, create some daily mantras.
2. You feed anxiety, bitterness, cynicism and anger.
In short, negativity breeds more negativity. According to research on neuroplasticity, your brain is in constant flux as neuronal connections shrink or grow based on your environment and perspective. Here’s the good news: You can train your brain to better regulate your emotions, including negative ones.
3. You hold grudges and never move on.
As the saying goes, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else — you are the one who gets burned.” And it’s true. Directing negative emotions toward someone who no longer has a place in your life only harms you. Drop the negativity and move on.
4. You paralyze yourself.
When negativity has a deep hold on you, your ability to make decisions and take risks is drastically reduced. Because you’re so afraid of failure, you never even try. Do yourself a favor: Take risks. Dive into your life. Do something that scares you. Otherwise, you aren’t really living, are you?
5. You bring down others.
Negativity spreads like the plague. There is a difference between confiding in someone and venting from time to time versus only ever talking in negative terms. Don’t be a downer, because …
6. You push away good people.
Negativity isolates you because you push away the people that make your life better. Love and connection make the world go ‘round! Don’t you want to be a part of that? Stop taking good people for granted and put your time and energy into the right relationships.
7. You attract negative influences.
Pessimists know other pessimists when they see them, and they only bring out the worst in each other. Look at the closest people in your life. Are they making it better or worse? Weed out the bad ones and welcome the good ones.
8. Your health suffers.
Often our society treats mental health and physical health as two separate entities, but they are undeniably connected. While it’s difficult to prove an exact correlation, research seems to show negative thinking and stress hurt your body. It’s also a lot harder to eat healthy and go to the gym when you can’t see the point of anything and don’t care about your own wellbeing.
9. You forget to enjoy the little things.
You complain about a rainy day but don’t even notice when the sun's out. You have road rage but never thank the universe for when you hit a ton of green lights in a row. You notice everything wrong with other people but never celebrate what’s awesome about them. Sound familiar? It may sound corny, but you could benefit from taking up a gratitude journal. Experts swear by them, but there’s a right way to do it.
10. You waste away your life.
It sounds dramatic, but it is absolutely true. Life is far too short to focus on the negatives and ignore the positives. Do yourself a favor: Change your perspective. It’s everything.