Happiness Is a Mood, Positivity Is a Mindset: How to Positively Deal With Negative Information and People
During your lifetime, you may encounter many forms of bad news and negative information. For example, you may experience job loss, a relationship breakup, the death of a loved one, or any other upheaval that life throws at you. No matter what the bad news is, it can be devastating, jarring, and can turn your world upside down.
Receiving bad news can have an instant effect on your body, both physically and mentally, and can cause your fight-or-flight response to kick in. Your adrenaline may start pumping and your mind may race to several worst-case scenarios in seconds. Everyone responds to tension and trauma differently, but fortunately, steps can be taken to tackle the mountain ahead. These steps can help you to deal with bad news, adopt coping mechanisms, and make the situation less traumatic.
Understanding positive thinking and self-talk
Positive thinking means approaching unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think about the best, rather than the worst. Positive thinking often starts with self-talk, the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative, with some self-talk coming from logic and reason, while other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of a lack of information.
If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you are likely an optimist, which is someone who practices positive thinking and looks on the bright side of life.
The health benefits of positive thinking
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression and lower levels of distress
- Better psychological and physical wellbeing
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations. This reduces the harmful effects of stress on your body. It is also thought that optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles. This is as a result of more physical activity, following a healthier diet, and not smoking or drinking alcohol in excess.
Focusing on positive thinking
The good news is you can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice as you are creating a new habit. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive way:
Identify areas to change
If you want to engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about. This may be work, your daily commute, or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach more positively.
During the day, stop and evaluate what you are thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
Be open to humour
Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humour in daily life. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
Follow a healthy lifestyle
Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break it up into 10-minute chunks of time during the day. Exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.
Surround yourself with positive people
Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
Practice positive self-talk
Do not say anything to yourself that you would not say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with what is good about you. Think about things you are thankful for in your life.
How to cope with negative information
- Accept your negative emotion
Receiving concerning news can trigger a seemingly endless spiral of negative emotion. When confronted with negativity, it can be tempting to try and resist acknowledging the dark emotions to protect yourself. Attempting to avoid your negative emotion can cause you more stress than confronting it head-on. Embracing darker moods, instead can help you to feel better in the long run and improve your mental health. Our approach to emotional reactions is essential for our wellbeing. Individuals who accept negative emotions without trying to change them are better equipped to deal with stress.
2. Repeat exposure to the news
Many people who encounter bad news enter an “avoidance mode.” This involves attempting to shut out everything in your mind that is associated with the unwelcome news. Most of the time, avoiding the situation at hand leads to you thinking about it more. Fighting the urge to think about your bad news can lead to tension in your stomach, shoulders, and chest. Plus, a distraction from completing tasks, chronic stress, digestive problems, and lethargy. Your brain is more able to deal with negative news than you might realise. It is by processing and digesting experiences that you can let them go and move on. By having repeat exposure to bad news, you will feel freer to continue your day without adverse effects, and be in a better mood.
3. Reframe your thoughts
Reframing the way you think about the bad news can help you to view the situation in a new light and improve your overall perspective. While you can’t always be in control of your life events, you can use a technique called cognitive reframing. This alters your reaction to the things that happen to you and the way you view a situation. The idea of cognitive framing is to find a more positive interpretation of an expected adverse event and view the bright side. For example, if you just lost your job, instead of focusing on the mistakes that were made, look at the situation as an opportunity to try new things. Creatively explore different work alternatives that might be more fulfilling.
4. Learn to overcome adversity
Being rejected for a job, or being belittled by a superior are a few situations that may cause disappointment or a sense of failure. While everyone will experience these setbacks at one time or another, some are better at dealing with adversity than others. Some individuals crumble at the first hurdle, while others have the resilience that enables them to stay calm when under pressure. Acquiring resilience and overcoming adversity involves working on your thoughts and behaviours. Expressive writing, like a journal, is known to help release emotional stress.
5. Be kind to yourself
When you are facing bad news of any kind, it is vital to be kind to yourself and look after your physical and mental health. It can be easy to neglect your wellbeing in times of trauma. Focus on eating three balanced meals each day, rich in fruits and vegetables. Unhealthy eating behaviours have a significant negative impact on your mood. Mindfulness meditation enables you to focus on the present and offset the worry of waiting for news. Research has found that even if you do not consider yourself to be a mindful person, meditation can help to tame negative emotions.
How to deal with negative or difficult people
Remember that the way people act has nothing to do with you. Detach yourself from their frustrations and do not internalise them as your fault. They have their own things to work through, and that is on their shoulders to deal with.
2. Avoid blame
Do not blame, assume, or attack them. Telling people they should “stop being so negative” usually does not go well. Show this person the compassion and empathy you want them to show you. Do not let them walk all over you.
3. Respond calmly
Respond the way you would want them to talk to you. Avoid becoming passive-aggressive because that does not help anybody. If they are gossiping or putting others down, either change the conversation or walk away.
4. Be firm
Be firm with your boundaries. When someone does something that crosses a line, make it known. You have to stick up for your beliefs, your time, and your energy because otherwise, people will take advantage of these things.
5. Find the positive
Identify what gives you positive energy. This could be certain people, TV shows, books, or exercise. Seek these things out often, especially when you feel like others are draining your energy. And if someone else’s negative energy is compromising your happiness, walk away, even if that means forever.
6 Ways to practice positivity and optimism every day
- Guide your energy
Negative thinking attracts negative energy, and positive thinking attracts positive energy. If we go into a situation with a negative thought process then we are almost destined to have a negative outcome. This also applies to group thinking. When a collection of people together guide their mental energy for a positive outcome, the likelihood of their success is a lot higher. Their collective energy attracts positivity or negativity.
2. Connect with yourself
Life is a process of ongoing transformation spurred on by the interlinked qualities of curiosity, purpose, and courage. When you know yourself, you can act with confidence that is your own. The better we understand the nature of the world, the better we can move in the world. The better we understand the nature of ourselves, the better we can move within ourselves.
3. Practice visualisation
Visualisation refers to the practice of seeking to affect the world by changing your thoughts and expectations. Visualisation is a technique used by winners in all walks of life. Our minds have an enormous capacity to connect the invisible dots to guide us to strive for the impossible.
4. Slow down to move forward
Sometimes we need to slow down to move forward. Slowing down is a choice that can lead to a greater appreciation for life and a greater level of happiness. Being truly in the moment allows us to escape from adversity and conserve our inner energy. Living in the moment does not mean we do not care about the future. It means when we choose to do something, we focus on solely doing it, rather than letting our mind wander into the future or the past.
5. Read, write, watch
Inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone. Possibly through watching films that present life stories or inspire you. Writing allows us to consciously put these positive reaffirmations on paper to visualise our destiny. Writing is therapeutic for coping with adversity. It allows you to turn anger, fear, and disappointments into inspiration. It serves as stress relief when you try to turn negative into positive by expressing what you feel down deep inside.
6. Develop resilience
Positive people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during adversity. They develop a set of powerful mental traits. Resiliency begins with adaptability, acceptance, and gratitude. Success and happiness come from having the faith, courage and “letting it happen” attitude to cope with the harsh realities of life.
Above all, positive and optimistic people live by finding encouragement and resilience. They surround themselves with other positive people. And they inspire others despite their adversity. The more you give out positively, the more you get back.
You can make the world a better place by working on yourself. This involves becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your positive space. You can help people by fostering a sense of peace and spreading positive energy to help others deal with negative information.
Written by Lewis Bridges
WellBe is spearheading the way to a brighter future for corporate wellness. Our innovative portal is scientifically designed and tailored to each individual employee to improve their wellbeing. We specialise in a range of services from coaching and therapists, to meditation and reading materials. Our aim is to reduce workplace stress that costs UK businesses £42 billion per year. Get in touch with us by visiting our site wellbe.global for more information.