Knowing how to stop being negative is a powerful internal skill to have.
When properly implemented, it allows a person to take the good out of any situation and reject the rest that is negative.
Misery might love company, but the power of positivity can be just as influential if it is allowed to shine.
These methods will help you to cast aside the darkness of negativity for good so you can focus on positive thoughts.
#1. Label Each Negative Thought
Being negative is a habit which develops over time.
There are numerous reasons why it may start, but eventually this habit programs the mind to accept negativity as a “normal” part of life.
In order to create positive thoughts, it becomes necessary to break this bad habit.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to begin labeling each thought and statement you create as either “positive” or “negative.”
This process allows a person to begin identifying which situations trigger negative thought patterns.
Depending on the severity of the negativity, you may discover that you’re even turning positive situations into negative situations because of this bad habit.
This is the spiral that must be stopped.
Now here’s the difficult part of this process: to be forgiving.
When negative thoughts are experienced and labeled, a natural reaction to this situation is to “feel bad” about it in some way.
Negative self-talk, regret, guilt – they might all appear.
This is the negativity cycle trying to reinforce itself against the changes you’re attempting to make.
Label a negative thought. Forgive yourself. Have the courage to take the first step forward. If you can do this, then you can begin the process of stopping negativity in its tracks.
#2. Avoid Intimate Negativity
Because misery loves company, there’s a good chance the negative energies you’ve had are influencing the thoughts and choices of others.
There’s also a good chance that someone within your intimate circle has negativity that is influencing you.
Once you’re able to identify your own negative thinking patterns and avoid them on a consistent basis, you must begin doing the same thing in others.
Negativity is like yawning. It’s contagious and no one really realizes that they’ve caught the bug.
It’s important to avoid intimate levels of negativity because the people in this circle have the most influence on your individual thoughts and choices.
This doesn’t mean you become a hermit and live in a cave at the local park. It does mean that defeating negativity must sometimes be a group effort.
This must be a gentle process. It can become easy to judge others while trying to avoid their negative energy. “I’m not being negative, but they are, so I’m just not going to be around them.”
Don’t be that person. That’s actually a negative thought!
Instead turn it into a positive situation. Encourage the person being negative to participate in a positive activity.
The power of positivity is just as contagious as the power of negativity.
#3. Push the Negative Focus Away
There are numerous activities that can help you push away negative thoughts.
Meditation is one of the most effective methods because it helps your mind be able to get organized.
Meditation is like a file cabinet for the mind. It allows you to get organized, find missing thoughts, and lock away the ones that have a negative influence on your life.
Meditation has numerous ways it can be practiced.
You can sit in the lotus position and focus on your breathing.
You can think of your loved ones and wish them happy thoughts and blessings for their day.
You can even just sit in the shower, shove the negative focus away for awhile, and allow your mind to structure itself under the power of positivity.
There are several other similar practices that can help you figure out how to stop being negative as well.
For those who have a religious emphasis that is important to them, prayer can be an incredible tool.
Others may use forms of Yoga, martial arts, or other physical activities.
Even writing your thoughts down in a diary or journal can liberate the negative thoughts from the mind.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure the focus of your activity is clear: you’re pushing the negative focus away so you can keep positivity active in as many moments of the day as possible.
Over time, this will break the cycle of negativity’s bad habits.
#4. Own It
A friend of mine has 4 children in his home and they’re all 6 years old or younger.
To describe his life as chaos would be a compliment. He’s also exposed to a very negative behavior every day that every child tends to practice at some point when there is trouble afoot: “But they started it!”
Negativity has the tendency to blame others for our own personal actions or decisions.
Maybe someone else did start something, but we allowed ourselves to be in that situation in the first place.
Negativity says that we are the victim. Positivity takes responsibility for our actions.
If something happens, own it. Don’t try to deny it, blame it on others, or shove it under the bed.
Negativity says that we can hide something and eventually it will go away, but this is a lie. It won’t go away.
It will just fester and rot until it becomes a massive, steaming pile of negative energy that wants to drag us into the deepest pit of despair that can be found.
Admit when you make a poor choice. Own your wrong decisions. This gives you the opportunity to learn from them so they don’t get repeated in the future.
#5. Source the Sarcasm
Sarcasm can be an intensely funny method of communication.
It can also be one that has a cornerstone which is deeply rooted in negativity.
That’s not to say everyone who offers a sarcastic comment or joke is trying to drag you into their cycle of negativity.
Maybe you have a sarcastic sense of humor. This doesn’t make you automatically negative.
It is just a fine line to walk sometimes. Many sarcastic comments and jokes have bitterness as their source.
Sometimes there’s a little bit of jealousy in the recipe. This is why it is important to source the sarcasm.
Ask yourself this: is the purpose of your comment to drag someone down?
Or is the purpose of your comment to ultimately lift someone up?
It is far easier to speak of someone in a negative light today instead of promoting the positive energies that they happen to have.
Let’s face it: our world today is orientated on results.
The more you’re able to do is an indication of how important you are as a person.
Ultimately we’re all seeking a way to have our existence validated.
Don’t let your energy tear people down. Don’t let the energies of others tear you down.
#6. Chase a New Dream
Here’s a fact we often don’t want to admit to ourselves: as we get older, we often abandon the dreams we had in our youth.
That friend of mine with 4 kids? His dream was to be a professional athlete. He stopped that dream because he made the choice to raise a family instead.
When we make this choice, it inevitably comes with a sense of grief.
We are choosing to abandon something that was important to us. Now we’re left with one of three choices.
#1. We can continue chasing that dream anyway and risk harming those around us.
#2. We can find a new dream to chase.
#3. We can allow negative energy to remove all hope.
With the encouragement of his family, my friend received a couple of professional tryouts after being out of his sport for almost 8 years. He was the oldest person out there. What he discovered while doing this was quite profound.
Sometimes the greatest dreams we can chase aren’t the ones from our past, but are instead the ones we haven’t even discovered we have yet.
Now my friend coaches others in the sport that he loves.
He gets to engage his kids in the sport that he loves. He’s funneled his energies into chasing a new dream that has more depth than the original dream that he couldn’t accomplish.
This is what we can do in all areas of our life. It is important to continue finding and chasing dreams because this is how positive energy fills the world.
#7. Enjoy the Sunshine
Winter brings out a number of different types of negative energy all at the same time.
The reason why is pretty simple: humans are attuned to the energy that the sunlight gives.
Sunlight exposure on our skin even produces a needed vitamin. We need the sun for more than just warmth.
We need it for our very survival.
Getting some sunshine is an easy way to start driving the negative energy away.
Of course you’ll want to have the right level of sunblock on to protect your skin – who wants a sunburn, right?
Give yourself 20-30 minutes of sunlight in some way every day and document how you feel afterward.
This doesn’t mean you need to go tanning or expose yourself to sunlight lamps.
If you have a sunny day, find a book and sit by the window for awhile.
Take a break from your work to take a stroll outside, even if all you do is go around the building a couple of times.
Of course you might find a cat trying to hoard in on your sunbeam. That’s ok too – the purr of a happy cat combined with sunshine is a life-changing moment.
#8. Focus On One Task Only
If you go into your average interview, you’ll be asked a question similar to this more often than not: “How well do you multitask?”
Multitasking is a good skill for employers. It’s also a good fuel source for negative energy.
If you want to know how to stop being negative, then focus on just one task at a time.
When you switch from task to task, it takes the mind about 15 minutes to get back to full productive speed.
If you switch tasks just 4x in one day, then you can lose up to 1 hour of full productivity.
That’s time you can never get back, which causes regret, which creates the fuel the negative energy spirals love to feed upon.
Create a to-do list. Put the most important tasks that need to get done at the top of the list.
Then just work your way down the list, one task at a time, and you might just be amazed at how much work you can actually get accomplished in this manner.
This also applies to our personal lives.
Between soccer practice, school activities, work responsibilities, family chores, meditation, religious studies, and whatever else may be going on in life, we must tackle each task on its own.
Otherwise stress enters the picture with regret for not getting things done as we should and this forms the foundation of the negative bad habits as well.
#9. Define Your Purpose
This is what I like to call the “deathbed test.” Every moment we have is an opportunity. It is a chance to define our purpose in life.
When you’re in your last moments on this planet, are you going to have these regrets?
“I wish I had watched more Fox News than I did.” or
“I should have purchased that popcorn popper that was on sale.” or
“I wonder how the pink roses would have looked, but I bought the yellow roses instead.”
Of course not. Our last moments are defined by the time we get to spend with close friends and family as we transition out of this world. This is our purpose.
Far too often we allow ourselves to be defined by news, politics, religious positions, and other labels that we use to define ourselves.
Those labels disappear when we disappear. What is left is the impact we’ve left on those we love.
How do we make an impact?
By spending time with them. By laughing. Crying. Hugging. Cheering. Holding hands. Having coffee together.
These are all things that provide positive energy. These are the moments that negativity can never, ever touch.
These are the moments we can choose to create every day if we keep our purpose in the forefront of the decisions that we make.
Knowing how to stop being negative is just the first step of the process.
You must also be willing to implement these ideas.
There must be a desire in place to change negative energies into positive energies.
Don’t allow yourself to be satisfied with the darkness of negative energy.
Embrace the light of positivity.
Take the good out of everything you encounter and the world will become a very different place.
Read next: How to Stay Positive in a Negative World