How to be positive: How to overcome negativity

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If you feel yourself being more negative than you’d like to be, you’ve read the article about why people are negative and you’d really like to learn to be more positive, this article has been written especially for you. Here are a few suggestions to help you on your way to overcome negativity once and for all.

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Step 1 to overcome negativity: Awareness

The first step to overcoming negativity is awareness.

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Most of us listen to and act on our thoughts and feelings without really being consciously aware that we’re doing it. It’s like a little voice in our head which influences us, yet most of the time we don’t even realize that we are handing over so much power to this little voice, letting it influence us. What’s more, we don’t realize that this little voice in our head is not entirely us. Afterall, if we can observe the voice, then there is another part of us; the observer part that is able to notice the little voice in our head. The key to overcoming negativity is spending more time developing the observer part of us and learning to give less weight to the judgemental little voice inside us.

To develop the observer part, practice observing your thoughts and your words in a very conscious and deliberate way. If you make an effort to take note of your thoughts and your words, you’ll begin to catch yourself mid negative thought. Bear in mind that as you’re catching yourself out during negativity, it may feel as if you’re suddenly a lot more negative than before, and this may be a little distressing, but this is just an illusion caused by your new awareness to any negativity that had been there all along. Catching yourself being negative is already a huge step forward towards overcoming negativity. The more you exercise this skill of conscious thinking and conscious speaking, the less inclined you’ll be to be negative.

If you sought out this article specifically to find ways to overcome negativity you’ve probably already started this step of noticing the voice of negativity in your head.

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Step 2 to overcoming negativity: Accept responsibility for your negativity

The next stage is to accept responsibility for your thoughts and feelings.

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No-one can force you to think something or feel something. Ultimately, the only person responsible for allowing a thought or a feeling to pop into existence is you. You’re the one who labels any situation as negative, and then allows the negativity to stick around and bug you.

No situation is ever negative until you decide to mentally label it as negative. Shakespeare put it well when he said: “Nothing is bad or good, but thinking makes it so”.

Once you accept responsibility for all the negative labels you’ve stuck on things, you’ll see that this realization puts you in a position of power. It means that you can choose to see things in a more positive light just as easily as you chose to see things in a negative light. It’s just a matter of choice and habit.

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Step 3 in how to be more positive: Make “overcoming negativity” a goal

When you make “overcoming negativity” one of your life improvement goals, it encourages you to take the task more seriously and helps you to stick to your intention. Keep your goal of overcoming negativity in mind and keep that intention active. Maybe you can write it down on a list of goals which you look at every day to remind yourself of your commitment to be more positive. Alternatively, you can write your goal on a post-it and put it in a place where you’ll see it often. It is known that people who set goals for themselves are more successful in achieving them. Having a positive focus point to concentrate on helps you manifest whatever you’re after.

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Step 4 in learning to be positive: Don’t resist the negative thoughts – Let them drift away peacefully

Don’t resist the negative thoughts. This may sound a bit strange at first: Shouldn’t you resist negative thoughts if you want to replace them with positive ones? The reason why the answer to this is “no” is because resistance of any kind always leads to pain and discomfort. When you resist negativity, it can create feelings like:

  • self-criticism (“I can’t believe my mind insists on labelling things as negative all the time! How could my mind be that destructive!”)
  • and guilt (“This must stop! Look at all the misery I’m causing myself and others!”)

Despite the false illusion that resisting negativity helps you fight it, resistance uses tools like self-criticism and guilt that only serve to create more negativity.

The best solution is to observe the negative thoughts when they come. Observe their presence. Don’t judge them. Just notice them and accept that they are there. Then let them drift away without allowing them to make any negative impact on you. Letting the negative thoughts float away is the most peaceful solution.

How do you actively help negative thoughts drift away?

You can do this by simply being very connected to the observer part in your mind, watching the little voice in your head without engaging with it, until you feel the little voice quietens and calms.

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Others prefer using visualization techniques. You can visualize yourself breathing out the thoughts or feelings into a balloon and then watching the balloon gently float away. Feel free to find your own imagery to help you with your visualizations. For example, if you prefer, you can imagine it being sucked up and away from you by a vacuum cleaner. Another visualization you can use is seeing the negative thoughts as a cloud that leaves your body and disappears forever into a black hole.

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Step 5 in how to be positive: Reach for a more positive thought

Since every event is neither negative nor positive unless you think and decide it is so, you can use the power of your thought to create more positive feelings by choosing to think about the event as neutral or positive. Consider alternative factors regarding the event to help guide your thoughts in a more positive direction. “Problems” can instead be labelled as “opportunities for growth”.

Examples of how situations which are often labelled as “negative” can be viewed in a new light:

  • Losing your job: Positive thought: This may give me the push I need to explore this other line of work that I’ve been wanting to try. Without my old job, I now have the opportunity to find the courage inside me to give myself a chance and explore something new.
  • Getting a divorce: Positive thought: This is an opportunity to let my heart guide me in life and for me to listen to my own internal compass.

Sometimes it may be difficult to reach for a more positive thought regarding a situation. In these cases, directing thoughts to a direction which provides some emotional relief moves you in a positive direction. Several people including David R Hawkins and Abraham Hicks have devised a scale that orders emotional states on a scale of increasing positivity. The diagram below shows an example of such a scale:

Whatever level you’re on, reaching for any higher level is an act of reaching for a more positive thought than the one you had before, and this can give feelings of relief.

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Step 6 in how to be more positive: Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the solution

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Always focus on what you already have rather than on what you don’t have. Focus on what you WANT rather than on what you don’t want. Regardless of the reality of the situation, imagine vividly with all your being, where you want to be. Live it, breathe it, smell it, taste it and feel it! The Law of Attraction states that we attract to us that which we hold in our mind and in our feelings.

The more you focus on what you want, and the more you successfully manage to really feel what it is like to be in a better place, the sooner you’ll get to that better place. No matter what happens, keep focusing on the positive. Keeping a focus on what you want can only lead to positive places that will produce buds of change that will grow into shoots of bigger and better things.

It’s so important to keep focused on what you want. Any thoughts that deviate from this positive direction will disrupt the positive flow. It’s human to have moments where we lose focus, but if this happens, simply notice it, accept it, let it go and get back to your positive state of mind.

At the most advanced level of positive thinking, you will reach a stage of having no doubt that positive things are on your path. You feel it with your whole being, that what you want is actually happening.

The Law of Attraction states that once you reach this state of complete and pure positive feeling that something will happen, with zero doubt, it does happen.

Supporting evidence that the Law of Attraction works in gaining positive things:

Here is one form of supporting evidence for the theory that strongly focusing, imagining and feeling the positive situation, works in creating the positive situation: Some of the highest paid professionals in the world are Hollywood actors. What do many of these highly successful actors have in common? A phenomenal skill for getting into certain roles and feelings. I believe it is no coincidence that these very people happen to attract such financial abundance into their lives.

How do you gain complete faith that your positive intention will come true?

  • Practice visualizing what it FEELS like to get to where you want to go. This will help you vibrate on the same frequency as your end goal which will help you attract it.
    If you have trouble getting your body to really feeling that positive state you want to reach, one technique you can use to help you get there is the Abraham-Hicks Focus Wheel technique. This method is explained very well in this video:

    As you watch  this video, focus on your feelings as the video progresses and you should notice a positive subtle shift in your attitude towards the statement at the center of the focus wheel by the end of the video.
  • If you feel resistance to a positive thought, visualize this resistance as a seed of doubt within you. Steve Pavlina, personal development writer and an experienced user of the Law of Attraction, suggests a helpful visualization exercise for this. He suggests you:
    1.) Visualize yourself taking this seed of doubt and throw it away into the trash, or black hole or where-ever you want to imagine, disposing of it.
    2.) Then visualize yourself planting a new seed of positivity in its place.
    3.) Visualize yourself caring for the seed, fertilizing it, watering it and growing it.

That’s it! If you follow these 6 steps you should see some fantastic results in gaining a more positive outlook. Be patient and kind to yourself. It is after all a process of letting go of old habits and adopting new ones and these happen at each individual’s own pace. So give yourself a chance! Soon that little voice in your head will be a whole lot more positive! :)

Related articles:
- Why are people negative?
- Feeling Down: Why do I feel bad?
- Why do I get jealous?
- Shunning and Social Rejection: Why do people socially reject others?
- Why do I get angry? And how do I deal with anger?

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About the authors:

This article was written by Li-Or with contributions from Spiritual Counsellor, Janice.

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