Effective Ways to Banish Negativity

Negative emotions are destructive to your health. Especially if you allow them to multiply and consume your every waking moment. Left untreated, negativity can lead to depression, ruined relationships, lead to alcohol and substance abuse, financial problems, health problems, and even death. Once you get into a pattern of negative thinking it can be difficult to break.

These unpleasant feelings become routine. Studies have shown that your attitude, whether positive or negative has a dramatic effect on all areas of your life including how fast your body heals after surgery.

A study published in the American Journal of Critical Care found that depressed patients, regardless of age and sex had the worst post-surgery outcomes. They had more complications and took much longer to heal than patients with a more positive attitude.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to reduce negativity in your life…

Seek Professional Help

If you are struggling with depression, addictions, debt, or other problems you should seek help from the appropriate professionals. Help is available. Much of it free. You don’t have to do it on your own.

Depression is treatable. Problems with substance abuse, gambling or debt are also treatable. Talk to your family doctor. They can treat any medical issues you have and refer you on for further counselling. They will also hold you accountable and act as a barometer of your progress.

Find and Emulate a Role Model

The most successful people in the world have role models or people they look up to who have influenced their lives. Have you heard of the saying misery loves company? The same is true for successful, happy and well-adjusted people. They seek out those that inspire them to reach new heights and avoid those that drag them down.

You should do the same. Find people with goals who are positive and support you in your ambitions. Find somebody you admire. Look up to. If they could do it, so can you.  

Change Brain Pathways

If you’re currently stuck in a negative thinking pattern it’s because that’s what you’ve built. Whether you meant to or not. Patterns and habits are formed by repetition until pathways are forged. Just like water flowing down a mountain. The good news is that you can create new pathways in your brain.

It will take some time and you’ll need to interrupt the flow of negative thoughts. One simple technique is waking up each morning and listing five things you are grateful for. Another technique is to imagine how your role model would see a situation from their positive lens. Then you do the same.

Use Meditation to Your Advantage

Meditation is a powerful technique practiced for centuries by many people from scholars to monks. Entrepreneurs to world leaders.  It’s a technique that helps focus your mind on what’s truly important in the here and now. It helps you relax and think clearly. It allows you to visualize possibilities and create a marvelous new future.

Meditation also increases productivity and decreases stress. It improves health, relationships, and helps people find a connection to nature and the universe. Numerous studies have found that an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program will allow you to experience these benefits of meditation. 

Raise Your Ambitions and Don’t Settle

Many people sell themselves short. They settle for a job they don’t like. A relationship that’s unsatisfying or abusive and live every day in drudgery on auto-pilot. Never or rarely experiencing any joy. You have to want and be hungry for a better life.

Raise your ambition. Don’t give up. Stay on the path and don’t let your past traumas or experiences dictate what you should strive for. Keep your vision in mind and don’t settle for anything less. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t. Instead honor your ambition and strive to succeed so that one day you can thank your heroes.

Live Purposefully Every Day

Success and happiness do not happen overnight. They happen one precious moment at a time. They accumulate and build upon each other. Every day is a new opportunity. Live every day with intention. Intend to do something on purpose to bring happiness and success into your life. Then do it.

Don’t let life happen to you. Don’t be a passenger who’s only along for the ride. Choose the roads you want to travel, the experiences you want to have. Take charge of the direction of your life so that you can truly enjoy it. Live every day with more intention. Each morning is a second chance. Take it!

Don’t Fear Rejection

Everyone at one point or another in their life has had the unpleasant experience of being rejected or severely hurt by another person. Whether by your spouse, your parent, sibling, friend or co-worker. Everyone has been hurt by another human being. Rejection is a painful emotion and can shatter your self-esteem and confidence. It can make you hesitant to take risks or follow your dreams.

Let’s face it. Rejection hurts. But it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Not forever. Statistically speaking, the average person experiences deep rejection by 7 individuals in their lifetime. However, that same person is supported and accepted by at least 1000 other people. Rejected by 7, supported by 1000. Don’t let the fear of what those 7 people are going to say, stop you from trying. They are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Refocus and Commit to Your Dreams

Take a close look at your life, your dreams, your goals. Imagine how good you’ll feel once you’ve achieved them. Use as many of your senses as you can. Touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. Feel your dreams come alive. Refocus and recommit to making them happen.

If you’re having trouble staying committed to ridding your life of negativity then look outside of yourself for motivation. Find something or somebody to fight for. Whether it’s your spouse, your children, or to help those in similar or worse situations than yours. Somebody somewhere needs you right now. Find out who that is and commit to that.

Greg Dorter, RP

Greg Dorter, RP

Greg has a master's degree in counselling psychology and is a registered psychotherapist in Ontario where he's been practicing with individuals and couples for 15 years. He specializes in evidence-based treatments such as CBT and mindfulness, and produces a variety of online self-help content you can find on (youtube.com/c/MBCTOnline) and twitter (@GregDorter).