How to Flip a Negative Attitude: See the Problem and Act
Okay, I am not a negative person. I tend to view the glass as half full, as opposed to being half empty. But I was recently moved by the plight of a friend who quit her job over what now seems like kind of a “silly” reason: negativity. Yes, she quit a job because the people around her were negative and it was getting to her, affecting her health. So in the end, she quit. Well, this was 2014, and quitting a job then was tough.
Negative moods are amazing things. They can possess us like a demon and have such control over us, influencing how we feel. They can "drive" us to a huge extent. This can bring on things like depression, depraved behavior, or even suicide. People need help with becoming more positive minded in life.
Why do we feel “negative” sometimes? What causes us to become negative and "downbeat," and develop a mood of negativity? Or have you ever felt that sometimes it is normal to feel negative now and then? It’s often a way of telling the world that “hey, I am not okay” or possibly a more subtle plea for help. There are people who suffer negative moods and don’t know how to get beyond negative feelings. They struggle with it.
Some of us cope better than others. We tend to avoid negative people, have you noticed that? We move out of the family house if things get too stressful or negative, and sometimes we quit that job if things get too stressful or negative there. The work place is becoming more and more a place of stress and tension. Deep down, we steer clear of negative situations or stress. And that is normal. Sometimes things are too much for us, and we find ways of releasing the tension or stress. I have a friend who goes to bed at night and before sleeping, she bugs everyone with texts and calls – discussing all kinds of negative things, problems and worries, unloading on people, and then what does she do - hangs up and goes to sleep, having “exorcised her demons." (Yes, Cheeky Girl – get an answering machine!) Face it, some people just unload on us, and it can be a pain. We end up inheriting their stress and becoming more negative. Like something has been passed on to us. Sound familiar?
Negative moods should be dealt with and confronted simply and calmly. The negative mood we experience can be several things; it can be a consequence of chronic unresolved stress or a behavioural way of influencing people around us. Or Both. Due to the complicated nature of these emotions, some people may require a visit to someone who can help them professionally. (This might be the case when it comes to experiencing long periods of sadness, depression or hopelessness.) I think again of my friend who quit her job at the bank.
But it’s quite okay to feel negative once in a while. We have all had ups and downs at times, right? But frequent negative moods might be a sign that Stress is starting to have a damaging effect. Chronic negative moods can be serious if we ignore them, and they will lead to ill health, problems in relationships and losses in productivity. Amongst other things. A person deep in the well of negativity will think the world is a mass of fear and confusion. Sometimes the media take advantage of things like this, and will use it as a weapon for some purpose. Even politicians will use it – some EU countries counted on negativity to get the Lisbon Treaty rejected, for a while anyway. Politicians can get elected on a negativity ticket. It could be argued that negativity has some responsibility for the financial depression we are all experiencing. (I think it’s more complicated than this!) Perhaps, but it can’t last forever.
Negative Thoughts to Positive Vibes
Here’s the inside deal on negative moods. Negative mood is quite often magnified when we focus on our feelings, rather than focussing on the cause of the problem or its solution.
It gets to the point where – the more we try to focus on changing how badly we feel, we find it is more difficult to change those feelings. If we are not experiencing the normal adjustments in our everyday life (like sleeping on it or thinking it over or sharing a problem with a friend or getting a second opinion on something), then it’s time to get proper help and seek a professional opinion.
In actual fact, feelings usually follow, rather than precede thinking.
Read that sentence again. There’s a myth here that has to be debunked. It’s totally wrong and false to think that you must first feel good before you can do something.
Refocus your thinking, and your feelings will change.
Check this out. You actually have more control over your feelings than you have realized. Okay, yes, it takes effort and some work to find this out, but you will. Even little changes can result in an immediate difference in how you feel. Turning a negative feeling into a positive feeling is not easy. It’s not impossible either.
Are we talking about irrational thoughts here? Yes. They have little basis in reality. But little things now can become big things later. People will get bogged down by some feelings. But remember there is a flip side to most negative situations. Some have become kind of curious clichés, you will hear them in conversations.
“First rule of being in a hole – stop digging.”
“If you are the piggy in the middle – get out of the middle.”
“If at first you don’t succeed...”
You could fill a darn book with that stuff. Or an article here on HubPages, even. There is more than one way to overcome negative emotions. I know a guy who is terrific at poker, but he ridicules and provokes his opponents and makes them feel small and inadequate. They lose their concentration and start playing emotionally and forget to think logically. Bam! Big mistake. And what does he say to me afterwards: they are weak! Actually – he exposes their weakness. Why mention this here? Well, he knows a hell of a lot about negativity, that’s why.
How to Flip Negative into Positive Use
The actor Arnold Schwarzenegger used that gift to undermine his opponents in bodybuilding contests many years ago, before becoming an actor. He is a competitive person who knows how to find a weak spot and exploit it. He follows the traits of successful people and gained success by exploiting how people think and feel. He succeeded through exploiting negativity and irrationality. He is an example of someone who put those skills to good use later in life. These skills can be used in a variety of ways, it seems. It is all in how we use what we have...
How to not dis-empower yourself
Those irrational things are things we can combat, we may think we are a failure but when viewed objectively we may actually be a success.
The last thing we want to do when feeling negative is to discover the source of what is causing the negative mood. But actually, it’s the first thing we should do (perhaps after sitting down and having a nice cup of tea! Ok, that’s how I do it!). We feel there is little we want to do when we are down. But the solution is Action, not inaction. Even if we feel we can’t do something about it, it’s better to do something rather than do nothing. It’s important to do something. And I mean ANYTHING.
Yes, go for a drive, a run, a walk, exercise yourself, play tennis, maybe read a book or magazine, do a crossword, a Sudoku, knit – if you can do that! Draw, paint, visit someone, or call a friend. Seeing yourself in this position and then taking action is very important.
Two things I don’t recommend. Drugs and drink. They won’t help, believe me. They just prolong the agony, the pain, the angst...and remove what control you have over things. This is the equivalent of just giving in to it. Don't. Take positive action. And you don't have to deal with negative moods alone. It's okay to share your problems with others. They will listen. Even the ones with Answering machines.
Face your negativity with an objective mind, and you will see past that negative state of mind and feel the positivity that comes from facing the issue and taking action.
© 2009 Cassandra Mantis