Have you ever wondered why negative news spreads faster and farther than positive news? Why is it easier to sell bad news? Some suggest it is part of our evolutionary biology. Our ancestors had to be constantly alert for negative events to protect themselves from danger.
Whatever the reasons, one thing is clear: negativity is around us. The good news is that you can find positivity, no matter how dark your world may be. And in this article, I share my top tips on how to stay positive in a negative world.
Before we get into it, keep in mind that true positivity does not depend on external factors like your environment or situation. The entire world can be crumbling around you, but with the power of positivity, you can remain calm and happy.
1. Reframe How You Think
First things first, it is important to understand that staying positive or positive thinking is not the same as being in denial.
Instead, positivity is acknowledging when things don’t go as expected and quickly recognizing the negative thought patterns that typically follow temporary setbacks. The key here is to catch your inner self-talk before it drags you down.
Here’s the thing about self-talk:
It is louder than any other voice because it is in your head. And when it constantly spews negativity, your entire outlook is negative, regardless of any external positive activity you do.
In other words, the first step in staying positive in a negative world is reframing your thoughts. Once you get a hold of this, other techniques will be much easier to implement.
2. Expect Good Things
Desiring something doesn’t necessarily mean you expect it to happen.
Read that again!
Desire is just a strong feeling of wanting something ― a wish, if you would. On the other hand, an expectation is a strong belief that something will happen.
For example, no one wants to have a bad day, but that doesn’t mean everyone actually expects to have a good day.
We usually start our day anticipating problems, and that negative expectation attracts matching experiences.
Expect things to turn out well, whether you’re starting the day, venturing into a business partnership, applying for a job, going on a date, or simply hanging out with friends.
Remember, you possess powerful attraction energy and can use it to create positive experiences regardless of widespread negativity.
3. Live Consciously
We are creatures of habit; most of our thoughts and actions run on autopilot, and that’s mostly a good thing.
However, living on autopilot can become detrimental when caught in a negative loop. That’s why you must take steps to live a bit more consciously every day.
Learn to slow down. Here are a few ideas to help you live more consciously.
- Become more aware of your breathing.
- Savor your food when you eat.
- Notice your surroundings when you walk around your neighborhood.
Want more ideas? Check out the mindfulness challenges in this post. They will help you live more consciously and develop your positivity muscle.
4. Give Yourself Some TLC
It takes a lot of courage and self-will to have any semblance of success in a world where you’re constantly bombarded with doubts, pessimism, and obstacles.
Instead of joining external forces to pull yourself down, why not give yourself some tender loving care (TLC)?
Talk to yourself nicely like you would a dear friend. Practice self-compassion instead of self-criticism. Create alone time to be just by yourself, no phones, partners, kids, or friends ― just you.
Alone time is great for meditation or quieting your mind. If meditation sounds too “out there” for you, try sitting in silence for a few minutes whenever you observe your alone time.
Not sure if you invest enough time into caring for yourself? Take this self-care quiz to find out.
5. Cut Down the Number of Negative People in Your Life
Reducing the time you spend with negative people is one of the most crucial things you can do when learning how to stay positive in a negative world.
Negative people will drain you no matter how well-meaning they are, regardless of who they may be (friends, relatives, or colleagues).
Don’t hang around them!
If you can’t avoid them completely, make sure to limit the time you spend with them. No doubt, humans are social beings who crave connections. But you must carefully choose whom you connect with, as the wrong people can influence you negatively.
In a nutshell, surround yourself with uplifting individuals if you’re looking to keep your energy up. And as much as possible, stay away from people who consistently drag you down.
6. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
The benefits of physical activity and healthy nutrition are well documented. Along with those, a healthy lifestyle includes getting enough sleep and reducing screen time.
One more thing, staying sober is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. That means going easy on alcohol or eliminating it completely.
An unhealthy lifestyle is linked to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. You simply can’t be in a poor physical or mental state and not throw your doors wide open to negativity.
That said, how does a healthy lifestyle help increase positivity?
When your mind and body are in great shape, you are more likely to have a positive outlook on life.
For example, instead of drinking to “drown your sorrows,” you are more likely to keep challenges in perspective when you follow a healthy lifestyle.
7. Do Nice Things for Others
Sometimes, the easiest way to feel great about yourself is by being a channel through which positive energy flows to others.
Doing something good for someone improves their mood and reduces your own stress levels.
But that’s not all.
It can inspire others who witness the good deed.
Don’t wait to have something big planned. Good deeds don’t have to be something big. You can give a warm smile to a random stranger, give hugs to people you know, give nice gifts, or freely give your time and energy by volunteering.
8. Express Gratitude
Make it a point to find things to be thankful for every day. Doing this shifts your focus from all the things that aren’t currently going so well in your life and channels your attention to the things that are working out.
I recommend getting a special journal to keep a record of the things you are grateful for on a daily basis. You can do this in the morning or evening. The most important thing is being consistent.
Make a list of three or more things you are grateful for every day, big or small. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve written the items before.
The aim is to hold your attention riveted on all the positive things going on in your life so that it drowns the noise of negativity. Remember to review your list from time to time, so you immerse your mind in positivity.
9. Have Fun, Lots of It!
True happiness is free and comes from within. No doubt, external factors can influence happiness, but it originates from inside of you.
What has any of this got to do with staying positive in a negative world?
It means you can maintain a happy disposition regardless of what’s going on around you. And one way to enhance your happiness is to have lots of fun.
Stop putting off something fun until the “right time.” And let go of the not-so-helpful notion that having fun requires spending lots of money.
Anyone can afford fun!
And you don’t need to spend a dime to have fun or be happy. All you need is to open your mind to see opportunities for fun.
10. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Lastly, understand that you can’t erase negativity from around you, no matter how hard you try (in fact, you shouldn’t even waste your energy in that regard).
Things will happen seemingly out of the blue to put you off balance. But don’t sweat the small stuff when life throws you a curveball.
You will hardly split hairs on everyday annoyances if you strongly believe everything is always working out for your highest good.
Remember that excessive worrying is a sign you are giving negativity a foothold in your mind, which can lead to blowing things out of proportion.
Learning how to stay positive in a negative world requires consistent practice, regardless of the techniques you apply.
Negative self-talk will not instantly cease just because you reframed your thoughts once. And your negative friends won’t all disappear just because you spent a few hours with uplifting people.
The point is the techniques I’ve shared in this post aren’t magic bullets; they won’t shield you from negativity just because you practice them once in a while. To harness the power of positivity and maintain a positive attitude, you need to make these practices part of your life.