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Detoxify Your Life: Eliminating Bad Habits Effectively

Eliminate Negative Thinking: Learning To See The Bright Side Of Things

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There are people that inspire us to plod on through life’s challenges with a smile on our faces, urging us with encouraging words and have faith that our inner strengths will help us fight difficulties along the way.

And there are those who spend time and effort telling us not to take risks and to stay in the sidelines, instead. These are people who’d rather be on the safe side of things and, though curious about what success might bring, would rather not throw the dice.

The former are the types of people we want to associate and hang out with. The latter are the ones we should steer clear from. They are the negative thinkers.

Negative thinkers are not just the people who refuse to take the extra step forward for fear of failure. Negative thinkers can also be those who complain a lot about how sad and unfortunate their lives are, those who bear down on other people’s successes, those who like pulling people down and making others as negative as they are, and those who always make excuses for their ill behaviour instead of making improvements.

Some Cheese With That Whine?

People who constantly whine about their day everyday are total downers. Statements like, “My boss always picks on me and makes me do a lot of things”, “My parents are always telling me to go get a job, when they know I’m busy with other things”, or “Why do these things have to happen to me, of all people? Why not them?” are staples in a whiners favourite dialogue book.

Imagine having a workmate who always sighs heavily in between tasks and slouches a lot, who always grumbles about not getting paid enough to do his job, not getting enough attention from the big boss, etc. Doesn’t having a person like this beside you pull your mood down, too? For instance, you come into the office in a cheerful mood because you’ve recently found out that somebody’s going to be treating the staff to some ice cream that day. You head over to your work station and greet your workmate, “Hi, good morning!” and then this workmate responds with a deep sigh and mumbles, “There’s never anything good to my mornings.” Now isn’t that a real day damper, or what?

Negative thinkers are like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh stories. Eeyore seems to be always seeing the wrong side of situations and have very low self-esteem. While the other characters in the story don’t really pay him no mind and just go about their usual business with their respective cheery attitudes (Tigger, in particular), it is usually not so in the real world – in our world. In the real world, when you are greeted with a damper line, you are almost always dragged down with it. In the real world, when we have friends who have nothing better to do than complain about everything, we tend to sink with them.

Crab Mentality

Negative thinkers can be like crabs in a basket. When one of them near the basket’s opening, some of them tries to drag it down so they can go up. This process can go on for all eternity. Ultimately, nobody really succeeds, unless an external force tips the basket over and every one spills out.

This is probably where the negative term ‘crabby’ came from. Crabby people don’t like seeing other people succeed or happy. They will almost always say or do something off-putting to dull down another person’s mood. Such people are the ones who tell you, “You can never do it”, “You’d be better off somewhere else, that job’s too complicated for you”, or “Somebody else can do it better than you”.

Crabby people take pride in discouraging other people from doing what they want. Not just because they are a little envious, but because if placed in a similar position, they would also back down because of fear of responsibility. Often negative thinkers fail to step up to the plate and prefer to be wallflowers because they don’t want to be held accountable for whatever outcome. While they also do anticipate a good chance of success, the mentality that failure is also very possible hounds them more.

I Know It’ll Turn Out Bad

Negative thinkers focus on the bad side of things, even if they haven’t even seen the bad side yet. They are incredible forecasters and fortune-tellers. They always assume that more dire things will come out of every situation, and that such dire things will always douse whatever good results from it.

That’s why negative thinkers rarely participate in any activity. They don’t like to draw attention to themselves because they always anticipate that events will turn sour. So when something incredibly good comes out of the situation they have been trying to wheedle themselves out of, they end up feeling more depressed and negative than before. Negative thinking is always followed by regret, whether the outcome is good or not. However, despite the knowledge of this, these types of people would still rather move where they have total control, even at the expense of a greater sense of happiness and well-being. Negative thinkers don’t plunge in because they hate blind curves.

Protecting Yourself Against Dampers

How you perceive yourself and your coping abilities are what drives you to reach for what you want out of life. Ask yourself now: “How do I approach the unfamiliar? Do I take a step closer to find out what it has to offer, or do I simply turn around and try to forget about it?” “Whenever a task is given to me, do I keep a forward-looking attitude and tell myself that I can pull through it nicely, or do I heave a sigh and tell myself to just go through with because it will turn out weak, anyway?”

If your answers lean more to the first questions of each set, good for you! Keeping the spirit alive even in tough conditions will definitely pull you through sanely and in one piece despite the outcome. However, if your answers were more of the latter, you might have a problem. If you continue being negative, you will never get anywhere.

Remember the saying “It is better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all”? This applies here. Positive thinkers continue on with the challenges, even as trials spring up along the way; because they believe that even if they do not get what they want, they will still be able to benefit from the lessons learned during the journey. On the contrary, negative thinkers already expect to fail even before starting. Some of them are forced to take a step forward, but while still harbouring negative thoughts in the process, while some never do so, at all.

Out With The Bad

Negative thinking is dangerous. While it won’t usually lead to serious medical conditions, it ruins lives and relationships. Most people do not like hanging out with such people because they bring clouds to their otherwise sunny days. As a result, negative thinkers are often loners. They go to the movies alone, they eat in restaurants by themselves and usually have nobody to talk to about their problems (because they also have the habit of not trusting others). Most negative thinkers are hermits. Instead of taking the risk and learning about others and, in turn, baring themselves, they’d prefer to just stay quiet and unnoticed.

If you find yourself manifesting any of the above behaviours, you should seek to change your ways. Man is a social animal, as Aristotle said. And by social, it is meant that you increase your participation and contribution to those around you and to society as a whole. It is not in a human being’s nature to be reclusive. Hence, thinking negatively and not taking responsibility even for the slightest things is against your natural makeup.

Here are some things you can do to overcome negative thinking.

  • Be aware of your propensity for thinking negatively. Single these thoughts out one by one and examine why you harbour such ideas in your head. Avoid judging yourself in the process; just let your thoughts flow and try to understand the whys. Once you become more attentive about the negative emotions they cause you and other people, the easier it will be for you to face them. The less you will become consumed by such ill thoughts, the less you become depressed.

  • Acknowledge that no success is too small. Be it just arriving to work 5 minutes earlier or finishing one task of a number for the day, applaud yourself. This will help motivate you to move on with the next tasks at hand with a better and more optimistic attitude. Give yourself a prize for every job done well. It doesn’t have to be a major reward. A short walk around the block or a nice cup of brewed coffee is enough. The important thing is you’re focusing on the positive.

  • Stop looking for something that isn’t there. In short, if the negative is not there, it really isn’t. Focus your attention to what needs to be done and the potential success that will result from it, instead of looking for loopholes and possible ways you might fail. So when you walk into a room and people suddenly stop talking, don’t think it’s about you. They could just be talking about something they are embarrassed to let other people know.

  • Learn to trust people. Or at least give the benefit of the doubt. Not all people are out to sabotage you. Stop thinking that everything people around you do has something to do with you. Just go on with your business and dwell on things that YOU should do. Stop minding other people. (But don’t be indifferent.)

  • Look for the positive side of things. Always focus on the good on every event. If it’s raining, avoiding thinking about your nice shoes getting wet. Instead, think about how cool your room is going to be when you finally go home and rest. If your boss keeps asking you to help him out with late-night presentation cramming sessions, don’t think that he’s out to torture you again and ruin your social life. Instead, think that you must be doing something really good for him to want your opinion and assistance on crucial office matters.

  • Change who you hang out with. If your friends are also negative thinkers, try to avoid them for a while and notice how good it feels not to have people breathing down your neck for a change. If you hang out with like people, the more likely you will sink lower into your depressive state. However, if you go with people who look at the bright side of things, you will always be motivated to do more and always to do better. Good friends are those who encourage you to take chances on big things. Bad friends are those who tell you cannot do it even before you have even tried.

Making The Change

You’re now on your way to making one of the biggest changes in your life – being a positive person. It’s an uphill road, but the rewards will definitely overpower any negative thoughts you might have harboured along the way. Start small and start slow. This isn’t a race to see who becomes happy first. The important thing is you’re starting to see the silver lining amidst the dark clouds you’ve created for yourself – and that you’re nearing it as the days progress.

Learn to take responsibility for your actions. Accept the fact you are your life’s driver and that you can’t point fingers at somebody or something in case something goes awry. With this mindset in place, you will be able to better cope with challenges, because you cease relying on other people to catch you. You become stronger and more prepared to face life – because you have happiness building up within and you know that with it growing inside you, you can face anything thrown at you.

Life doesn’t bring us anything we can’t bear. We all have the capacity to deal with the trials hurled at us. Keep this in mind always.

Once you understand that you control how you think and act, nothing can stand in your way, not even other people’s negative thinking and discouragements. Only then will you be able to make positive changes in your life.

Smile. The world is your playground.

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