In this episode, host Carolyn Rivera sifts through all the negativity we have in this world. She discusses negativity by differentiating negative thinking to bullying. Moving past that, she then talks about how to shift your own mindset off of the negative and create a positive atmosphere around you. Finally, Carolyn shares her insights on how you can help others do the same.
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Negative World, Negative Thoughts; Can We Change That?
We talked about the power of choice. We said that every day on average we make about 70 decisions. Some of those decisions are great ones, some may not be so great. It’s how you handle those consequences that make it or break it for you. I asked you to think about and determine how you yourself act. Do you let a decision destroy you? You have the power. You can choose not to let it destroy you. Do you let it define you? You have that choice. You can decide. Are you going to let one bad decision push you into never making another decision again? To lose yourself confidence because of that bad decision or do you let it strengthen you?
If you learn from your mistakes, you become more powerful than you realize. Knowledge is power. The act of continuously learning makes you unstoppable. Don’t we all want to be unstoppable? That’s what I want to be. I want to be unstoppable. We’re going to shift gears a little bit. We’re going to talk about negative thinking. We live in a world of negativity. I’m not a negative person but all you have to do is put on the TV and turn on the news. What we see televised are natural disasters. There’s pain, suffering, fighting and people talking bad about other people. In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to sift through all the negative around you and keep a positive attitude. Keep that fire in your belly that’ll keep you moving forward.
We’re going to talk about how to shift your own mindset off of the negative and create a positive atmosphere around you. We’re going to give you ways to not take things personally. It is not always easy but it’s your choice. You can make it. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I turn on the TV. I put on the news and see what’s going on around the world. I’m looking to see if there are any dangers lurking in the wind that I need to worry about. That’s not why I put on the news but that’s what I get. Some people watch what they see on TV which are real-life events happening every day and they begin to worry. They begin to feel unsafe.
It’s taken to the extreme. There are some people who are afraid to leave their house because of all the danger that is outside their front doors. That is a terrible way to live. That’s a jail sentence, to be stuck inside and scared to go out in the world. Scared to experience new things, but we’re not talking about the news. There is negativity in how people think. Some people are those that see the glass half empty, the walls are caving in. They’re the people that love the words “I can’t.” I can’t do this, I can’t do that or I will try. You won’t try. You can’t try, just do it. Make it happen. Think about it. Determine what type of person are you? Are you someone who worries all the time? Are you someone who thinks that bad things will happen? Are you someone who doesn’t think that something good can happen to you or will happen to you someday?
If you answered yes, to any of those questions then you need to read this episode. I’m going to give you specific things to do to change your mindset because that’s what’s holding you back. Your mindset is your biggest enemy. You yourself have the choice. You yourself can think about ways in which to see things differently, to see the positive. It’s like looking through the lens of a camera. When you change the lens, other things appear. You are looking and all of a sudden you put a wide-angle lens on the camera and what happens? You can see things to the right of you. Now, you can see things to the left of you. You have that power. What are you going to do with it? There are different types of things that cause negative thinking. We’re going to talk about all of them. You yourself are creating a path of destruction for yourself and that is all going to change because you have the power. I want to make sure that when you think of things, you change that mindset from the negative to the positive.
I mentioned that some people are negative or have a negative outlook. I want to make sure that we’re all using the same definition of what we mean by negative. If someone is a bully or they’re hurting you in some way, they are not negative. They are just plain mean and toxic to your well-being. For those people, you need to stay far away from them. You need to make sure that they are out of your life forever because they’re not good for you. They’re hurting you personally and that’s not what we mean by negative.
A negative person is different. They have a different outlook. Some negative people consider themselves to be realists. Telling it like it is, they don’t see themselves as negative at all. They feel like they should be sharing all the possibilities of what could happen in any situation. For them, they’re almost like this contingency plan. They’re looking at the what ifs. In their minds, that’s not negative. Let’s look up in the dictionary and define what negative means. Webster defines it as marked by absence, withholding or removal of something positive, something unfavorable.If you learn from your mistakes, you become more powerful than you realize. The act of continuously learning makes you unstoppable. Click To Tweet
When you look at that definition. They’re taking away the good, they’re taking away the positive and that’s what negative is. It’s not something that’s feeling good. These people that have these negative thoughts are skeptics. They’re people that maybe sad inside. They’re people that may feel hopelessness for some reason. Although it may be difficult at times, we need to help these people. We need to help these people find their way. We need to help them feel hope, to feel something positive. It’s not necessarily that people are born to be negative. Everyone says, “That’s their personality. They’re born with that trait. They have that negative personality trait,” which I don’t think it is that.
They might have had a tough time maybe because of a breakup that they can’t seem to find their way. Maybe they lost their job and they can’t figure out what they’re going to do next. Maybe they have a sudden illness and can’t figure out why it happened to them. They’re coming up against challenges that seemed unsurmountable. It could be that they were deceived by someone close to them. They may have lost a loved one and they can’t seem to get over it. There are many different things that could be inside their minds blocking their happiness and blocking their link to positive thinking.
Most of the time the negativity comes from an event that happened and causes the individual to lose hope, give up on their dreams and live through the days rather than live for new experiences. If you step back and think of the people who you call negative, can you think about something that suddenly caused their outlook to change? Do you see some changes in their behavior that may not have been visible before? Do you see that they’re against trying new things? These are the telltale signs of someone with negative thoughts. These are the signs that people have a mental block that won’t allow them to see all the positive things around them.
Let’s talk turkey. Everyone has moments in life when we feel bad, we feel hurt and we feel vulnerable due to situations that we encounter. I’ve been there, you’ve been there. I’m not saying that you’re never going to feel that way because you will. Sometimes, it’s difficult when you’re dealing with people like this because the negativity can bring you down. The point is, you have the choice to either let it or not. You have the choice to decide how you handle the situation, how you handle your reaction to the negativity. Remember, the power of choice is yours.
As I was researching the topic, there are different points of view on this subject. They all depend on who the negative person is. One is, rid yourself of these people all together because consistently negative people can harm your well-being. This of course is much easier said than done, depending on who it is. Another point of view is that these people need your help. They need your support. We’re going to talk through this issue. The way that you evaluate your situation and determine what you should do. It’s not a one size fits all, it’s not like I can just say to you, “Do these four things.” You have this magic wand, I’m going to wave it and it’s done. The negativity is gone, you’re going to feel great. Everything’s fine. Every situation is different. It’s an individual decision to make.
You have to take an inward look at what you’re dealing with specifically, it’s not easy. It’s difficult to do but it’s necessary to help you through it. There’s no way to get around it without taking an inward look. Without understanding yourself and understanding what your capabilities are. What is it that you can do to help this other person? If the person is you, if you are the one who is having negative thoughts. You also have to take an inward look and determine, are you happy with the way things are going? Are things working the way you think they should be working? Do you need to do something different to make things better?
Those are all the types of questions that you need to ask yourself. You can’t change until you do. There’s no option for things getting better until you make those changes. Until you take that inward look. We defined negativity. We all have the same picture in our minds. Negative people see things different from the way we see things. Before we talked about the approaches to dealing with people who are negative, I wanted to look at how the brain plays a role in negativity. I wanted to talk about the brain’s role. First, to shed some light on the subject. I didn’t realize this and so I wanted to share it with all of you. I am not a doctor, I’m not proclaiming to be. I’m not saying that I have all the answers and I thought I would share some of the research.
The brain is wired to highlight potential threats for all of us. It’s a protection mechanism, that’s built into us. When people are feeling stressed about something, it triggers a response to them that there may be a potential threat around and you need to be cautious. Stress puts your body in a heightened state of awareness. The purpose is to keep you out of harm’s way, which is great. The brain works, it gives you this trigger. It tells you, “Red alert, something bad may happen.” That keeps you out in harm’s way. That’s that protection mechanism.
Let’s say you’re hiking and you’re near a cliff and you’re probably slightly stressed in that scenario. Your brain is telling you, “Watch out because one wrong move and you could go down the mountain and that’s probably not going to be fun. You have to be careful, this could be dangerous.” That’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. In stressful situations, your brain is telling you to either fight or flight, to protect you. You’re either going to fight against this person or run like hell. Your brain is giving you the trigger to understand when to do that. The issue is, that anxiety is different. Anxiety isn’t natural for all people. We all are anxious at times and that’s normal. Anxiety still triggers the same stress emotions that stress does. It enhances your speed, reflexes, heart rate and your circulation all of those same things happen to you when you’re anxious.
Anxiety works a little differently. Anxiety is more of this internal response while stress is more of an external response. Anxiety, because it’s internal could last a lot longer than stress. Think about this example. Let’s say you’re a public speaker or maybe you’re a singer. You’re trying out for American Idol. You may feel anxious about getting on stage to deliver either your speech or sing your song in front of a crowd, that’s maybe double of anything that you’ve ever talked in front of before. Your brain is triggering that there could be danger ahead. There’s no potential danger. There’s no threat that you should be concerned about. It’s all internal. It’s a fear that you personally are having to get on that stage and speak or get on that stage and sing. Your brain is impacting your thinking and your decision making in negative ways which affects your emotions, it affects your impulses.
Have you ever seen somebody get on stage and freeze? That’s caused by extreme anxiety. They’re standing there, they just can’t get the words out. They can’t start singing because all they can see is the audience ahead of them. They can’t get through it. It’s their own personal fear. It’s one that they put on themselves because it’s not real, there’s no danger there. That’s one example. If you are in a constant state of anxiety, you’re anxious even in scenarios where there’s no real threat. The brain still works the same way. The brain doesn’t realize that you’re not in harm’s way. In that case, you’re stressed for no reason which can cause you to be more emotional. The biggest issue is that only one-third of the people that have constant anxiety ever receive treatment. Research shows that 40 million adults have frequent anxiety issues. Isn’t that crazy? Anxiety can be debilitating. It’s unbelievable.
This was something I read that to me was shocking. Not only does the brain play a role in anxiety, healthy eating does as well. Let me tell you, I did not realize that at all. I’m sure most people have heard about probiotics. I didn’t understand how powerful they are. It may sound crazy but your gut and your brain work in tandem. Having a healthy gut also plays a big role in how you feel emotionally. Probiotics can reduce stress and anxiety. It’s impressive. You need to think about what are the things that you’re putting in your body? Are they healthy? I’m not a doctor, I am bringing this to light because it links to how somebody may see themselves. It links to how somebody is feeling. We may not be able to understand those negative thoughts that they’re having.
We have an understanding of how the brain can play a part in negativity. We talked about some of the things that may be causing people to be negative. Let’s get down to it. What do we do about it? How do we handle it? It doesn’t make it easier for us to handle somebody with negative outlooks because we defined it or because we understand what causes it. It doesn’t make it easier for you personally to deal with it if you are the person with those negative thoughts. What can we do? First, let’s talk about it from the outside looking in. Those people who are dealing with people with negative thoughts, negative thinking. Seeing things from a glass half empty standpoint. It is still difficult because we see things differently. It’s tough because we can’t relate to how they see things.
The first thing to do is to look at who is the person that is constantly negative. Is it somebody who is close to you? Is it a close friend, family member or work friend? Is it somebody who is an acquaintance? Let’s start with the easy stuff. If it’s somebody who is an acquaintance, walk away. You barely know them. They don’t have a long history with you. There is no reason to continue that relationship because it is doing you no good. If it’s somebody who is close to you, then you have to make a choice. You aren’t going to just walk away from a strong relationship. I’m not telling you to do that. That would be a last resort. That would only happen if the negative thinking became so harmful to the relationship that the total relationship was damaged because of it. Something that you just could not live with any longer and that would be the only option.When something negative happens, you have the choice to decide how you handle the situation. Click To Tweet
The issue is, often negative people don’t even realize that they’re being negative. They don’t realize how a pessimistic outlook can affect other people. They’re probably not going to change because of it. To them, they’re just sharing their thoughts. They’re sharing the what ifs. They’re sharing things that could potentially happen. In their mind, it’s not negative at all. If this sounds like you that you have this type of a relationship, then there are a couple of things that you can do. You can’t change someone else’s attitude. What do you have control over? You have control over your own.
When somebody that you love is beginning down a negative path, they’re thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Hold your tongue, don’t join in. Don’t get yourself down into that negative place. You have that choice, you can control yourself. What these people need is some encouragement. In the instances where there is a possibility that something has happened in the past. An event or a trigger that has caused them to lose their way or to lose their self-confidence or just to not feel a 100%, encourage them that things will get better. Don’t do it in a demeaning way, then they’re not going to see the value in it. You have control of your own attitude, that’s what you can affect.
If you find somebody, your friends your loved one going down that rabbit hole of doom, change the topic. It’s not worth it. If you know of a specific topic that is going to cause that, change it. Don’t talk about it. The last thing is don’t take it personally. This is not about you. They are the ones that are having those bad feelings. It may seem that they’re only negative to you but they don’t mean to be, it’s not what they’re attempting. They don’t see themselves as being negative.
Those are some of the ways of dealing with somebody who is negative. Let’s shift gears, let’s say you are the one who is having these negative thoughts. Here are a few tips for you to do yourself to help you through this tough time. I always say you are who you think you are. If you are constantly thinking of yourself as a failure or that nothing is going right, then that is what will happen. You are who you think you are because that’s what you begin to focus on. You have to begin to change your mindset.
If you’re worried or concerned about a situation and you’re thinking about what could go wrong. Think about it from another angle. Imagine it going right. Imagine what it would feel like if it went right. Remember those feelings. Remember how good it feels when things go right. You can see yourself smiling in that scenario. Remember, thoughts are just thoughts. If you’re having negative thoughts, nothing comes out of them until you take action. Change your thoughts to positive thoughts. The mind is powerful. It is a muscle and it remembers things that you train it to remember. If you start your day with a positive message and you begin to train your mind to look for things that can go right, it will always look in that direction. You have the power to change your own mindset. If there are deeper issues, then seek help. If you don’t help yourself, nobody else will help you.
It’s A Dose of Life Served Weekly. Let me hear your stories. We’ve all dealt with negative thinkers and we might have been categorized as one ourselves. I want to hear from you. I have my first guest. What is your name? Where are you from?
I’m Bruce and I’m from South Carolina.
Thank you for joining. We are talking about negative thinkers. Are you dealing with a negative thinker or do you have negative thoughts yourself?
I will tell you, I’m a mixture of both. I know negative people in my family and friends. For the most part, I would say overall. It’s probably me personally trying to overcome my own negative thoughts about life and stuff that I struggle with sometimes.
Tell us about why you are having these negative thoughts. Have you had an event that has caused you to have some of these thoughts happen?
Probably let down several times from my friends or girls I was talking to or your family problems or issues and overtime you get callous to life and how many times over and over you get disappointed by people. That you get to the point where you feel like at every turn something is about to happen that’s going to be bad. You look forward and when things are good, you’re waiting for it to turn to the bad because that’s what it usually does. You’re always looking at the bad and it sometimes overcomes the good. Sometimes it never comes to good, just bad. Sometimes you don’t give people the benefit of the doubt. You assume that they’re going to ditch you or kick you to the curb when they might end up being good friends with you.
If you’ve been let down before on more than one occasion, then you’re always looking for that let down. Even when things go right, your mind is going, “When is that shoe going to fall or something happen?” Are you working on ways in which to change your thoughts?
For the most part, I would say I’m faith person. I like to pray a lot and read my Bible. Also, I try to wake up every day and think of all the things I have to be thankful for. Here in America, we have so much to be thankful for that sometimes we lose track of everything we had to be thankful for. Sometimes if you put yourself in an attitude of gratitude, sometimes the little insecurities that we have throughout the day don’t seem so big. When you realize that we have more than 90% of the world does. To put things in perspective, as far as like being thankful and grateful for what we have and even though we have problems, at the end of the day, we have a roof over our head, a car to drive, food to eat, water to drink and air to breathe. At the end of the day that’s what more than a lot of other people do. I’ve been trying to keep things in perspective.
That’s the perfect start. When you begin to look at all the things that are going right for you, that’s how you begin to shift your mindset. You had mentioned, that not only did you have negative experiences with friends and girls but you’ve also had them with your family. Tell me a little bit about that.
It almost gets to the point where when you go where those people are or in this case, I’m not going to say who it is. It’s someone that I see pretty much on a regular basis. Most of the time he’s on night shifts, I don’t see him a lot. On the weekends, when he’s up and around, you tend to try to avoid him and keep your conversation short. You don’t have to put yourself in a situation where they could criticize you or fuss at you or say something that might hurt your feelings. A lot of times, at least in my situation, I try to avoid it. You don’t want to put yourself in that lose-lose situation. They might be in a good mood but every corner they could do something to set you off. I’m cordial and I’m nice and I try to small talk. For the most part I try to avoid that person, those people in general if I can help.Thoughts are just thoughts. Nothing comes out of them until you take action. Click To Tweet
If you like the person and you’re close to the person, you’re walking on eggshells every time you have a conversation with them. You never know what they’re going to say to offend you and it becomes a difficult scenario.
You have to choose what you talk about. Sometimes I have certain things that I know I can talk about that aren’t going to cause arguments. I always bring those up for some reason.
That’s a great option. It’s important to understand what you can talk about with which individual. If you know that one specific topic is going to go down south fast with the person that you’re talking about, then avoid that topic. It’s not going to end well. You’re following the right process. Bruce, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are doing all the things that we talked about in this segment. You can begin to shift your mind towards positive thinking. You’re handling your friends and family that have those same issues in the same way. Thanks again. I appreciate it.
Thank you to Bruce for sharing. That was a great story. He’s doing a lot of the things that we talked about. We brought a lot of things to light. Negative thinking is such an important topic. Some people call it being real. Other call it detrimental to healthy living. There are two sides to this discussion. Some people that proudly call themselves the pessimists are just looking at the world and telling it like it is. Others come across negative. Some people have gone through difficult times and can’t seem to find their way and they can’t find their way back to the way things were. Since it’s impossible to get back to where things were, they feel anxious. This anxiety builds up and some people are innocent bystanders in the process. They are brought in simply because they have a friend or a loved one that has these negative thoughts.
No matter what the situation, it’s a tough thing to deal with. Remember, 40 million people struggle with constant anxiety. That’s a huge number. We talked about how the brain plays a role in negative thinking and that anxiety is all this internal factor. The anxiety can cause the same things. The same outcomes that happens if we’re under stress in a dangerous situation. We talked about the fact that the brain is a muscle with a great memory. The more we train it to think of negative thoughts, the more that it will do that. We have to change that. Take those negative thoughts out and train it to think positively. For those of us that are bystanders we shared some tips on how to deal with somebody close to you. If the person goes down the path of doom and destruction, change the subject. Don’t let yourself go down that same path. You have control over your own response.
Remember, don’t take it personally this is not about you. They don’t even realize they’re being negative. Be empathetic and help them through it. Lastly, if you’re the one that is having those negative thoughts remember they’re just thoughts, you can change them. You can begin to see things through another lens. Change that camera lens that we talked about if you change the lens your mind will change as well. This links back to the last discussion on the power of choice. Each of us is making a decision on what we will do in our own situation. We will allow the negative thoughts of others to affect us only if we choose to. Are you going to allow others to continue in the direction that you’re headed? You can choose. This show is all about you, the reader. Follow me on Instagram, @CarolynJRivera14 or go to my website at www.CarolynJRivera.com and share the topics that you want to talk about.
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