Tips on How to Stay Calm
& Positive in a Negative World
from our Angel Messenger Creative Team
You don’t have to look far for negativity. In fact, you don’t have to look for it at all. Negativity shows up just about everywhere without any invitation. And with so much negativity coming into your life, it’s easy to feel dark and discouraged. But there are ways to keep all this pain from extinguishing your inner joy and calm. In short, there are ways to stay positive in a negative world.
Different forms of negativity
Negativity isn’t picky. It shows up in real life as we develop negative thought patterns, or share our time with negative people who drain us of our precious, positive resources.
Negativity prevails in the online world when it comes to news reports and social media feeds. They mostly focus on the worst things happening around the world.
But why is negativity so prolific? How did it get so out of hand?
Negativity is addictive
Whether we like it or not, our brains are hard-wired for negativity. That’s because the brain is far more sensitive to negative news than to positive news. In some studies, researchers found that there’s a big surge of electrical activity in the brain when individuals watch negative images and news.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, this was necessary for people’s survival. But today, this brain-bias works against us. You see, our early ancestors needed a brain that reacted strongly if a bear attacked (or something equally threatening). For them, it was a matter of life or death.
But having our brains go crazy for negativity doesn’t help us anymore. Instead, it’s hurting us. And our poor brains can easily get addicted to this negative overload.
The truth is, you probably have no idea that you’re hooked on negativity. But to be fair, it’s something that happens below our conscious awareness. And to make matters worse, our brain physically changes due to our thoughts (something called neuroplasticity), making negative thought patterns a bonafide part of our brain’s daily processes.
Negativity helps our pain body to survive
Many of us have developed negative thought patterns and belief systems. As Eckhart Tolle teaches, we accumulate pain all our lives – so much so, that we each have a pain body. And we all unconsciously seek pain over and over again to keep this pain body alive.
Somewhat like our early ancestors, negativity and survival are closely related. For them, hypersensitivity to negative stuff saved their lives. For us, negativity can be a way to keep our pain body alive.
So, even though we can feel very distressed about the negativity in the world, we’re often the ones creating negative news stories, too.
This happens when we choose gossip over silence. Or, blame rather than responsibility. When we have a need to be right, rather than admitting when we’re wrong. When we prefer to be a victim, rather than an empowered individual. When we retell painful stories rather than release them and write new ones.
As you can see, negativity isn’t just something “out there” in the world. It’s something that we’re all interacting with every single day.
So, the best way to create positivity in a negative world isn’t just about condemning the negativity surrounding us. It’s about stepping outside of our own vicious cycle – and stop creating it ourselves.
When we talk about defending ourselves from negativity, we’re as much referring to outside sources of negativity as we are referring to our own personal battles with it.
So, let’s discuss ways in which we can overcome our own negativity, and then we’ll look at ways we can protect ourselves and limit our exposure to outside negativity.
How to be positive, calm and quiet instead of being negative
It’s easy to think that the world needs to stop being so negative. But this is actually a way to deflect responsibility and blame others. We cannot change other people. In fact, the only person you can and should change is yourself. By working to create more positivity in your own life, you already start to reduce the negativity in the world.
- Start a gratitude practice
When you choose to focus on what you’re grateful, you retrain your brain to look for the good. Since your brain isn’t used to this, it might not be easy to break your old thinking habits. But even just beginning and ending your day with three things you’re grateful for – however big or small – is a great way to train your brain to think positively, and to create new neural pathways.
- Mindful breathing
Breathing with mindfulness can calm the mind and reverse stress, and if you’d like to try a very restorative breathing technique, alternate nostril breathing is rejuvenating while also creating stillness.
- Positive affirmations
The queen of positive affirmations, Louise Hay, has many wonderful phrases that you can use to replace negative thought patterns. But her affirmations don’t just sound inspiring. They can actually be unsettling as you start to see positive ideas starting to replace your typical negative thoughts. Just take some of these powerful affirmations as an example:
“I am beautiful, and everybody loves me”
“I forgive myself for not being perfect”
“Only good can come to me”
“Life supports me in every possible way”
As you read those affirmations, how did you feel? Did you feel resistant, skeptical or unsure? If so, it’s just a sign that your brain is still hardwired for negativity, but you can override that and start to create positive pathways with simple affirmations like these. Affirmations really do affect your life either for the good or not so good, depending on what you are affirming.
Meditation can strengthen your mental health, relieve feelings of anxiety and help to cultivate more empathy. This can help you recognize when you’re thinking or feeling negative, and allow you to make a conscious choice to be positive instead. Download a free meditation and check out an easy article on how to get started meditating if you need some help.
- Spend time in nature
Green therapy or ecotherapy is how researchers now identify the powerful, therapeutic effects of Mother Nature. In fact, taking a walk can reduce depression. And when we don’t spend enough time outside, our mental health suffers. And since we’re faced with so much negativity in our world, it’s crucial that we take active steps (literally!) to protect and strengthen our minds.
How to protect yourself from outside negativity
We just discussed how we can increase our own positivity and combat the negativity, which our brain loves so much. But what about external sources of negativity? How do we protect ourselves from all the negative noise?
- Don’t take someone else’s negativity personally
In the little book, The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz reminds us that we should never take anything personally. So, whether someone says something positive or negative: don’t take it personally. That’s because it’s not about you in the first place. According to Ruiz, it’s about the other person. So, let it go and be free of someone else’s negativity.
- Limit your exposure to negativity via social media, news outlets, etc.
It’s impossible to avoid all negative news and information, but you can control how much of it you consume. One way to cut back is to begin and end your day without your smartphone, internet or radio. This will give you time to focus on the positive, practice gratitude and fortify your mind against the day ahead.
- Seek out positive people
Negative people are in everyone’s life. It’s inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time with them. Instead, set healthy boundaries for yourself so that you make space for positive people. This way, negative people won’t be able to drain all of your peace and quiet from you.
- Trade consumerism for minimalism
To still our minds and feel good, we often resort to buying things. It gives us a quick boost of dopamine and makes us feel better, but only temporarily. Instead, see if you can focus on what you have (and be grateful for it), rather than finding quick fixes for your feelings of unrest.
Laughter has proven health benefits. In fact, it can release endorphins, which give you a sense of well-being and can even relieve pain. What’s more, laughter can reduce stress and strengthen your immunity. So, let yourself laugh to cultivate more positivity.
Is it selfish or irresponsible to be positive in a negative world?
Being positive is all well and good, but is it selfish or irresponsible to be positive in a world full of suffering and negativity? On the outset, it might seem unfair to be happy when wars, tragedies, and natural disasters are wreaking havoc all over the world.
But this guilt suggests that you think there’s something wrong with being positive. And there is nothing wrong with being positive. In fact, positivity, like negativity, is contagious and can spread. So, your acts of positivity, however big or small, are how you can make a helpful impact on the world.
Consider these bright ideas:
- A lighthouse is exactly what a ship needs to find the port
- We use lights to brighten dark areas of our homes
- A friendly person is more uplifting than an unfriendly one
No one would think that the lighthouse is selfish for burning brightly, come rain or come shine, to help a ship find it’s way. And we don’t think lights, lamps, and candles are cruel for being bright when everything else is so dark.
And when you think of those people suffering, remember that your suffering isn’t what’s going to make them feel better. Instead, it’s your joy that will, making your positivity a gift rather than a selfish act.
So, the next time you feel dark and discouraged, remember that you can always cultivate light and positivity even if the world seems negative.
Much Love & Angel Blessings,
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