Everyone knows or works with someone who unendingly complains and exudes negative energy. You may have a colleague, family member or friend who fits the bill. The fact of the matter is that negativity is infectious and can spread like the plague. With this in mind, we need to examine strategies for dealing with pessimism and countering the rot, to make sure we keep looking at life through rose tinted, as opposed to gloom tinted spectacles.
Fear Based Thinking
Gordon Young of the Mondo Clinic, an advanced hypnotherapy and counselling practice, says that scepticism and negativity are a natural consequence of fear based thinking.
‘There are times when a healthy scepticism is appropriate – one might refer to this as ‘informed scepticism’. That is, you’ve investigated, spoken to people, read the research papers and come to the conclusion that there is not much evidence to support the premise. As research catches up to the anecdotal evidence supporting some modalities – what was once considered ‘fringe’ can become mainstream. Acupuncturists, hypnotherapists, and chiropractors were once viewed with scepticism until the evidence supporting these methods became overwhelming.’
Unfortunately scepticism is rarely informed. It is usually based on the cognitive boundaries of the sceptic. This is a phenomenon called cognitive dissonance, which can best be described as the process whereby people are likely to resist new information if it contradicts their prior or established knowledge.
‘It’s all about wanting certainty. We are less likely to feel comfortable when what we believe is being challenged. We start to see our beliefs as inseparable from us and anxiety can develop if new ideas are introduced that don’t fit in with our map of the world. This is where that sometimes stubborn, misinformed and seemingly irrational resistance can start to creep in. At the end of the day, it comes down to our need to avoid uncertainty.’
Tips for Dealing with Negativity
In light of the above here are some tips to help you deal with the doom mongers, sceptics and other negative forces in your life:
The enemy of negativity is definitely positivity, so make sure you are well armed with plenty of ammunition. The first positive tactic in your arsenal is to simply avoid the negative. This is very effective as pessimism is frustratingly infectious. It doesn’t take long to slip into the same frame of mind, and negativity can quickly spread to other areas of your thoughts and life. All that energy spent on maintaining that negative outlook is also going to drain you of the oomph that you need for your personal wellbeing.
2. Shut your mouth – don’t buy into it
If avoiding negativity is not practical then simply not engaging may be the next best tactic. A negative attitude or comment is often designed to elicit a response from you – which only adds fuel to the fire. So biting your tongue should have the opposite effect and halt the negative spiral in its tracks.
3. Empathy with the Devil?
While you may not agree with someone, having some compassion for a negative soul can sometimes help you to understand their thought processes. Negativity often involves limiting or eliminating choices or options, so understanding the method behind their approach can go a long way to possibly engaging the individual, and maybe finding some common ground.
4. Look After Yourself
A build up of negative energy can often lead to stress, which is an emotional drain and can be physically damaging. Make sure you also make the time to engage in regular exercise, which releases powerful mood enhancing endorphins – a great way of boosting your vitality, and will also help you to regain some much needed perspective on life. A balanced diet and adequate nutrition should also not be neglected, while meditation and breathing techniques are another great set of tools for maintaining your resilience, remaining centred and keeping negativity at bay.
What do you think?