There is a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs in humans. We can get into a rut in our lives where we pseudo-thrive off of negativity. It seemingly feels good in the moment, but it actually leaves us haggard and undernourished. The unhealed pain-bodies that live inside of us demand more and more, and they nibble off every piece of gossip we gather. The feast at the news hour, and they dessert on TV shows filled with conflict and fear.
When we find ourselves in this place, it is a red flag that something needs to change. We all have access to an inner-parent, and when we use this facility, we lead better lives. There is a part of our human nature that, like a child, seeks to over-indulge itself in sweets. I refer to this part of myself as my “small self”.
This is the self that wants to take the easy route, makes excuses, gets easily irritated, becomes angry, and then proceeds to make the greatest speech you’ll ever regret.
The phases of life where I’ve allowed this small self to be the leader have ended up being some of the darkest, unfulfilling phases of my life. Additionally, in my profession as a life coach, I’ve witnessed this same truth in thousands of clients. Humans who allow their small selves to lead, get further away from everything they seek in their lives.
Decreasing negativity in your life begins with stepping into the role of your inner-parent, taking control of your small self, and making choices from your cortex. This is not an easy task, but as I’ve said before, being human is hard, and as Glennon Doyle has coined, “We can do hard things”. This is your opportunity to do what is right, over what is easy, and reap the rewards.
The second step is rest.
This sounds simple, but for many of us living in the middle of America’s hustle-worship culture, it is an act of rebellion to rest.
Rest includes sleep, which the National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise for healthy adults is between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Rest also includes downtown where we release stress, calm our bodies, and allow our minds to power down for a while.
Intentionally choosing to surround yourself with positivity is another key element to decreasing negativity in your life. This includes things like:
People — Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, lend you knowledge, and help you learn from your mistakes will transform your life. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Music — Positive music and inspirational lyrics create a far superior mental soundtrack than a continuous stream of complaints, criticisms, self-limiting thoughts, or depressing and sad lyrics. You can search Spotify for positive playlists that others have made, or make your own filled with music that uplifts your soul.
Books — Books on strength, personal power, enlightenment, or self-help can be good resources to help you change your outlook.
TV Shows — This NY Times article discusses a new wave of social science research that shows us how the quality of shows can influence our thinking and cognitive abilities. If you’re unsure where to start, Oprah’s compiled this list of feel-good TV shows.
Likewise, choosing to fill your inner self with positivity is critical to creating a positive life. This includes things like:
Meditation — Studies show that meditation increases your levels of feel-good chemicals, like endorphins and serotonin. It increases your capacity for happiness and reduces your propensity towards negativity. If you’re new to meditation, check out the Insight Timer app for your smartphone.
Affirmations — Positive affirmations are based on widely accepted and well-established psychological theory, and they are simple. Just choose a statement and repeat it to yourself. If you’re looking for ideas, check out this list by Emily Torres, or this video of success affirmations by Ray Lewis.
Focusing on the solution — Focusing on the solution rather than the problem will allow your mind to open up to new ideas and ways of thinking, and will result in you feeling more empowered and positive.
Gratitude — Psychology Today shares that in recent studies, including a 2010 study published in Clinical Psychology Review, gratitude lowers levels of depression and suicidal ideation, and has been linked to fewer toxic emotions, like resentment and envy. As Big Mouth’s Gratitoad says, “Gratitude takes practice”, so start with where you are at, and build your gratitude from there.
Finally, activate more love in your life.
Love is one choice that everything in life always come back to. It is one of the most powerful tools that we have.
Osho said, “Love deeply. It is not a question of relationship. Love is a way of life. Be loving — to the trees, to the animals, to the birds, to the rocks, to the pebble. It is not a question of to whom, it is a question of your heart throbbing with love. It has nothing to do with the object of love, but with the subjectivity of love. Then suddenly you have the Midas touch; whatsoever you touch becomes golden. Small things in your hands become extraordinarily beautiful. Your actions, ordinary actions, start having the quality of the extraordinary. Then whatsoever you say is poetry and whatsoever you live is music. Even while you are asleep your energy is in celebration.”
Every human being has the power of choice, but not all of us use it to create our lives. If you are looking to create more positivity in your life, or you are seeking a way to take back your power, might I suggest the most powerful thing on the menu: Choice.