Do you struggle with negativity? I think that may be a hard question to answer because we may not even know what we are! Why don’t you take the optimist/pessimist/realist quiz on Quizony and find out? Try to be as truthful as possible with your answers!
Why is negativity so damaging?
Here are a few sciencey thoughts, that I will try to explain as unscientifically as possible, that explains why negativity harms you, as well as your relationships:
- Being negative causes you to be more negative. The more you think negatively, the closer those negative synapses grow in your brain. So, the more you speak or think negatively, the easier it becomes for your brain. So, in essence, you are rewiring your brain for negativity. (This is also true for gratitude & positive thinking.) Your brain always takes the easiest way out. Think of driving to work; you generally take the exact same route because it is easiest for your brain! That’s why negativity perpetuates negativity.
- Negative people also make you more negative. The reason is, our brains practice empathy when listening and it “tries on the emotions” of others. So, even when someone else is being negative, their negativity still causes the same action in your brain as the person doing the talking.
- Negativity is bad for your health.
You see, the thing about all this negativity, of regretting, of pointless complaining about impermanent things that will always continue to pass —the thing is: it all causes stress. When your brain is firing off these synapses of anger, you’re weakening your immune system; you’re raising your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and a plethora of other negative ailments… interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on. – From Psychepedia
- You believe what you say. Researcher Rachel Terrill did a great TEDtalk about FRAMING your STORY. We all have a negative story or a positive story to tell. It’s all how we frame it. And, how we frame it, is what we believe about it. Here is the link to the TED TALK.
When we are angry, what should we do?
Sometimes we just need to vent, right? You’ve got to vent to make yourself feel better, no? Science actually has proven that not only does venting not help you feel better, it also brings down those around you. So, instead of fueling positive, healthy relationships, you are actually making both of you more negative in the process. (Venting is not the healthy communication of feelings)
- Take a Timeout. If it’s good for kids, it’s good for adults! We don’t encourage kids to vent and give in to their rage because it isn’t good for them or for the people they are around. Same for us. Take deep calming breaths, take a walk, etc. until you can communicate your frustration in a constructive way.
“What people fail to realize is that the anger would have dissipated had they not vented, moreover, it would have dissipated more quickly had they not vented and tried to control their anger instead.” – Jim Lohr, American Psycologist
- Communicate Reasonably. Yes, we have big frustrations, but the more reasonable you can be in your communication of your feelings, the easier it will be to come to resolutions with those you love.
- Exercise Gratitude. A gratitude journal is a wonderful practice. No ones’ lives are all peaches and roses, but we can be thankful for the little mercies and the silver linings on our clouds that make our lives more bearable.
- Understand that our hope isn’t only in this life. As a Christian, I know that this life will have hurt and trouble, but I have a hope for a tomorrow and a Creator that loves me, cares about my troubles, and helps me through them all.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have you read that book? It’s all about dealing with the little annoyances that end up making us unhappy and negative. And it’s true. Try to keep the “small stuff” in perspective.
Photo Credit: simplylivingbyfaith.tumblr.com
Struggling with negative feelings and/or negative people? Follow my Pinterest board on “Words to Live By.” Great encouragement, scripture & positivity for every day!
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