With all the responsibilities that rest on my shoulders as a mom, wife, and entrepreneur, I’ve learned that I must diligently delete negativity from my life so that I don’t lose my sanity…again.
While it hasn’t been easy to pull off, making the conscious decision to remove anything negative has definitely been worth it. My stress and anxiety levels have dropped and I’ve been better able to focus on what’s really important: my health.
Because if you think about it, your health influences everything you do. If you feel stressed and anxious, you behave differently than when you’re relaxed and calm.
Well, at least I do.
And bottom line: choosing to delete some negativity from your life will change how you feel about life. Period. It will help you to retrain your brain to focus on the good things going for you, helping to break those habitual thought patterns that have got you sucked into being mentally hard on yourself. Before you know it, your negative self-talk will even change.
Here are 9 simple ways that you can delete negativity from your life so that you can feel better about your life faster:
1. Stop watching the evening news.
This shouldn’t come as a shock, but, from my estimates, about 99% of what’s talked about on the evening news (local or national) seems to be related to something negative, such as war, crime, violence, or disaster. I honestly cannot watch the local news without feeling my blood pressure rise! Hence, I’ve stopped watching it altogether.
2. Unfollow friends who always post or share negative stuff online.
You don’t have to unfriend someone from Facebook just because they post negative stuff on their wall (although you might want to reevaluate the need to keep them as a Facebook friend). If you don’t see want to see their stuff in your newsfeed, go to their profile and Unfollow them. Only the posts of friends that you follow will show up in your newsfeed.
The best part: your friend will never know.
3. Stop others from telling you bad news.
Literally: stop people when they start telling you something bad! Say something like, “I don’t want to hear this,” or “don’t tell me that kind of stuff.” If they continue to tell you more, stop them by reiterating your request: “I’m serious. I don’t want to talk about this. Let’s talk about something else, please.” Trust me, this works. I’ve done it.
4. Stop associating with people who pull you down.
Have you seen the Disney movie “Inside Out” with your kids yet? Remember Sadness? Do you have friends that are like Sadness, always pointing out the negatives that could go wrong when you try and tell them something you’re excited about? If so, it’s probably best that you limit interactions with those people. It’s kinda hard to keep a chipper and positive attitude when hanging out with someone like that who drains your energy and pulls you down.
5. Pay attention to the type of radio or television programs you listen to.
Please stop listening to gossip morning shows on your way to work! Find a station that actually plays music during your morning commute instead. Or, better yet, play a CD or playlist from your iPod. Or subscribe to Pandora (my personal fav). Also, think about what types of television shows you regularly watch. Are they dramatic or funny? Funny is more positive than dramatic. So as tempting (and addictive) as it is to watch a marathon of Law and Order: SVU, try not to. Okay?
6. Change your magazine subscriptions.
Stay away from The National Enquirer type or Pop culture magazines that want to talk about how fat someone is or gossip about who so-and-so is dating now. Stick to more positive subscriptions like Breathe Magazine, Live Happy, or O Magazine. You’ll find more useful and practice articles to read in those types of magazines and can use the tips you learn to further reduce stress and anxiety.
7. Don’t Google medical symptoms.
Nothing will make you more paranoid than Googling a condition or symptom you (or your kids!) have. If you are wondering about something, it’s best to just call a doctor. Plus, if you are ever given a diagnosis about something, don’t Google that either, unless you want to make yourself feel worse about what’s going on. Seek out support groups instead. Your doctor is the best resource for referring you somewhere that will offer you positive support.
8. Pay attention to how you speak to others (and yourself).
You can do all of the above, but if the words you speak carry a negative tone, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Start viewing things from a glass half full perspective and pause before you speak to be sure that what you’ll say reflects the type of person you want to be. Do you want to be seen as someone who’s condescending? Do you want your kids to think you’re a dismissive parent? Practice using more loving words and tones when you speak to others. A positive result of this will be earning the respect of those around you. Remember:
“And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner” (Luke 6:31)
9. Reduce the urge to yell and scream at the kids (or your spouse).
This probably could go under the last tip about paying attention to the way to speak, but screaming doesn’t necessarily involve words! If you find yourself getting frustrated about something and want to yell, try biting your tongue (not literally, of course, but if you must) and count to 5 to give yourself time to cool off. Then, instead of shouting obscenities, say, “I’m angry right now and I need a few minutes to calm down.” Once you’re calm, continue the conversation.
Remember that you’re never going to fully be able to cut out all the negative crap that is thrown at you on a daily basis, but by using the tips above, you’ll be able to eliminate the stuff that you do have control over. My life has never been filled with much negativity, but if it were filled with all of the above, I’d have an anxiety attack for sure.
For the record, I’m aware that not everyone is affected by negativity in the same way and some people will insist that certain negative habits don’t stress them out. Regardless whether you think it’s harming your spirit or not, I highly encourage you to eliminate the stuff I’ve listed here. Try it for a few days or weeks. If anything, it would be a nice detox if you can’t permanently commit to these lifestyle changes.
And you may be surprised by just how relaxing this exercise makes you feel.
Do you have any other suggestions for deleting negativity from your life?
Please share your thoughts and stories below or over in Instagram and tag me @lifesparkwithlauren.