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A Challenge to Living Happier: Negativity

Last week I was leading a group of women who get together once a month to talk about Living Happier.  The topic of our discussion was joy and how to add more joy into our lives.  As we went around the table discussing this concept it came out that most of us although we would describe ourselves as positive and ‘glass is half full’ people in all honesty, we had a default setting of negativity.  Meaning that when we really had awareness around our thoughts there were a lot of negative thoughts dancing around in our heads.  Such as ‘ugh, i am so tired’, ‘another day at work’, or ‘I hate my ___ (fill in blank, job, life, relationship).’, and in reality when we really noticed the thoughts and assessed our lives they weren’t true.

I know this is true for me, and in all honesty, I am embarrassed to admit it since I write a live happier blog and all.  But I notice that my first unconscious thought is usually negative.  The beauty is that I NOTICE that, I am aware that my mind has a tendency/default mechanism to go to the bad space as I lovingly refer to it.  And because I have built this awareness I can usually catch myself before I am too far down the rabbit hole.  I also surround myself with people who even if they have this tendency are trying to live happier lives, they are trying to stay positive.  In this culture, we have a propensity towards the negative, we tend to awfulize whatever is happening.  From the news media to the talks at the water cooler most people just want to hear about the drama/or the negativity that is happening.  Many times this negativity/drama energy becomes like an addiction it is a way we can escape what is really happening in our lives.  We can get stuck in the cycle of bitching and complaining about life and causing drama along the way rather than really standing up and making changes in our lives for the better.

Bottom Line:  We really have the world working against in our quest to live happier.  So we need to step up our game.

1. BE AWARE if you have a tendency towards negative thinking and catch yourself as quickly as possible in those thoughts.  Don’t allow them to spiral out of control.  Check their validity and I promise that most of the time they are more out of a place of default then based in actual reality.  If they are based in actual reality–notice and allow yourself to feel what comes up don’t shame yourself in to feeling positive. Pay attention if these negative feelings are there to tell you something, maybe you need to make a change or a shift in your lifestyle.

2. LIMIT the DRAMA.  Drama is addicting, it is easy to get sucked into. So notice the people and activities you surround yourself with.  If drama is a regular part of these events then step away.   By decreasing the amount of drama and negativity you surround yourself with you will be less drawn to that way of life.

Any other tips you have for fighting the negative default setting?  Is this something you struggle with?

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