How to Stop Being Negative
(21 Things You Can Do TODAY)
updated: July 5, 2015
Anytime I decide to write up an article with a "generic" title, I have to make sure it's stuff that you probably haven't seen or realized.
This is Get-A-Life (GoodLookingLoser.com) and not an eHow content farm.
I'm a legitimate Douchebag well before I'm a "self-improvement guru".
At the same time, I purposely DO NOT read other articles on the subject because I try to write up EVERYTHING from my own life. So I don't know if this advice is elsewhere.
Either way, I legitimately hope this helps your life, it comes directly from my own life.
I used to be a negative person, way more than I even knew.
The same suggestions below can also apply to treating day-to-day depression.
Good Looking Negative Loser
I had a HUGE problem with negativity until I was 26 years old.
The ironic part is -
I didn't even know it.
Concerning this matter - ignorance isn't bliss.
Negativity can seriously lower your quality of life, prevent you from accomplishing your goals and even take years off your life by keeping a constant level of cortisol (stress-hormone) circulating in your veins. It can even make you fatigued and fat (again, cortisol).
Negativity is a beyond just a situational mindset.
It's an entire lifestyle. Not a healthy one.
The good news is, using a lot of suggestions below I was able to become a super positive person and reap the benefits.
Again, this article is written in hindsight.
I didn't even know I was a negative person and I didn't even realize I was using the advice I'm giving below.
I actually made this list in under 5 minutes. I have a tremendous understanding of my former negative/depressed/underachieving/full of shit self.
#1 ADMIT THAT YOU ARE A NEGATIVE PERSON
(and that it's negatively affecting your life...)
Just like Alcoholic's Anonymous -
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
I grew up in Washington DC.
The people in DC smile a little more than people in Philadelphia and New York. But not by much.
It's a goal driven, socially-cutthroat and high-stress city. Just that type of environment tends to produce very uptight, pessimistic and sometimes- straight up ANGRY people.
I was one of them.
It never occurred to me that I was a negative person.
I liked to think of it as "realistic" or "happy but never satisfied".
Starting 2007, I began listening to the stuff from the 'seduction community'. Unlike 95% of the stuff, the insights on positivity/negativity were useful and motivated me to make some changes.
It wasn't until I moved out west to San Diego, where everyone is smiling, playing or high, that I truly realized that I was a pretty negative person.
At first, I had a difficult time fitting in - everyone was always so happy and positive. It didn't take long to fall in love with the West Coast. One day sitting by the pool in Mission Valley at 11am on a Thursday Morning, I realized that my life was great. It probably always had been. I just never let myself realize it.
I thought back to my life on the East Coast (in DC and Florida) and how there was always one-more-something I needed to do to be happy (lift a certain amount of weight, be a certain weight, have a certain GPA, buy a certain item, hook up with # girls, etc.). I realized how many hours I spent in my head thinking "what is wrong". I realized how many hours I had spent with friends "venting" (just bitching about stuff and not doing anything about it) and listening to them do the same.
Those negative thoughts seemed far from my mind.
I had a long way to go, but it was a start.
Once you legitimately change your beliefs, you can change your thoughts.
Once you change your thoughts, you can change your feelings.
If it were only that easy though.
Advice like -
Just let it go!
Don't worry about that!
... is beyond pointless.
I'll see if I can help you though.
#2 IDENTITY NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS
(when you start to think negatively, take timeout and try to put the breaks on as soon as possible)
Negativity is the result of repeated thought patterns.
The majority of the time - you aren't trying to be negative, it just happens because your programmed that way.
Try to break these patterns.
After I realized I was a pretty negative person, through similar advice from various sources, I began to identify my negative thought patterns.
I realized that only I would turn a neutral situation into a negative one, but even worse - I'd often turn a positive situation into a negative one.
I realized (or was told, I don't remember) that negativity is indeed A THOUGHT PATTERN.
An involuntary, unconscious or automatic thought pattern.
Just like approach anxiety, negativity is a repeated cycle that causes a physiological and psychological response that is outside your control when you are in the moment (and somewhat afterward too).
Through excessive mental masturbation, I realized my specific thought patterns and vowed to break them.
The following are among the steps I took to break these patterns-
#3 RECOGNIZE OTHER PEOPLE'S NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS AND THOUGHT PATTERN
A big step to get a grip on your own negativity is recognizing negative behavior from OTHERS.
By identifying negative behavior when you see it, you'll slowly be less apt to demonstrate it.
You'll also not want to be around it because it's contagious.
I now have an ultra sensitive "negativity radar".
I can't stand to be around negative people.
So I almost never put myself in that position.
There is often direct connection between negative people, miserable people and unsuccessful people.
Sometimes it's all 3!
#4 DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM NEGATIVE PEOPLE AND THEIR TOXIC REACTIONS
A big part of beating negativity is not letting it start.
You may have to distance yourself from some of your friends and family.
I definitely did this and it was completely worth it.
Anyone that had tried to 'bring me down' more than 1 time, past or present, I stopped talking to with absolutely no notice. I simply deleted their cell phone number, Facebook and whatever ways that they'd try to contact me. I haven't talked to 95% of them since. Some were even "best" friends.
Once you become a positive person, you won't feel any excitement or comfort by chilling with negative people.
Try to replace them with positive people. It's really helpful if you have a friend (even if you don't know him/her that well) that is super positive. You can humbly ask them how and why they are so positive and gain some insight on their thought patterns.
Positive people love helping others, so don't be afraid to express your admiration for their emotional health.
If your whole group of friends is negative - even better reason to ditch them and do your own thing. You aren't going to change them. Every day you spend with negative people filling your thoughts from their insecurities is a step backwards. Whether you ditch them today or tomorrow is up to you - you eventually will have to distance yourself if you are going to be anything special.
#5 STOP BEING SARCASTIC
My 'sense of humor' has really changed over the past 5 years.
I laugh and smile at things that were previously not humorous to me.
I also don't laugh or smile at thing that previously were hilarious.
Sarcasm is often a form of negativity, even if its funny, it needs to be limited.
"Wow this steak is great." :rollseyes:
"Shelly's party was really fun. I hope she has another one." :rollseyes:
People once thought I was the most "hilarious" person and would always laugh at my sarcastic jokes. For 2.5 decades it reinforced and rewarded my negative sarcastic thought patterns.
I broke this very easily, I simply just stopped making sarcastic remarks and caught and corrected myself when I did.
Negative people tend to have a sarcastic sense of humor. The reverse is true as well.
Not always, but sarcasm tends to come from deep-seeded bitterness.
There are some positive people that are sarcastic, but I haven't met too many.
#6 STOP BEING A HATER
Haters are jealous, negative people.
Thankfully, I didn't really have to break this one.
In my early 20's I was a bit of a hater though.
These days, unfortunately, it's much more acceptable and popular to try and tear people down rather than to speak positively about them.
One of the better ways to break this cycle is to simply HAVE SOMETHING GOING FOR YOURSELF. Or at least be working on a worthwhile goal(s) where you literally don't have the urge or time to be a jealous chump.
Even if you are just starting out and looking for validation, it's better than being a hater.
Once you accomplish some stuff, you'll get your validation.
And Once you get ahead of people, you'll want to help them rather than put them down.
#7 DO WHAT YOU WANT
Negative people are often negative because they don't Do What They Want.
With the exception of sitting around and pouting, you should ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU WANT but particularly if you need to break negative thought cycles.
People that are negative often have a "victim mentality" where they constantly seem to find themselves being taken advantage of and then relish their inferior position.
If you DO WHAT YOU WANT, you won't find yourself in compromising positions or with regrets.
#8 GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
If you make a mistake and beat yourself up - it doesn't make things any better.
I suffered from something known as "athlete mentality," if something went "wrong" it deserved to be punished. Since there was not usually a coach around to do it, I would punish myself.
I used to think this was the attitude of a winner when it was just the attitude of an insecure perfectionist.
When stuff goes wrong these days, for the most part, I realize that "wrong" is a temporary condition and I take responsibly by FIXING it instead of taking responsibility by punishing myself.
This one isn't easy but the first step is realizing that you are often doing more harm than good by 'punishing yourself'
#9 REWARD YOURSELF FOR A JOB WELL DONE
Negative people only punish themselves and hardly ever reward themselves.
This is the second-half of #7.
Negative people love to punish their mistakes/failures and almost never reward their achievements/successes.
Not rewarding success doesn't reinforce the effort and mindset that it took to get there. To break negative thought patterns, we need to reinforce positive thought patterns.
Even if it's just a piece of Chocolate cake, reward yourself for once. And Don't feel guilty when you do.
In fact, reward yourself several times a day. Not with chocolate cake though.
#10 RECOGNIZE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Negative people are quick to recognize and remind of failures and seldom recognize their achievements.
Even if you aren't where you want to be in life, it doesn't mean you are a failure. It just means you have work to do.
Chances are - you've done something you were once proud of in your life.
Rather than sitting there for 2 hours and thinking about what you haven't accomplished yet, sit there for 2 hours and write a list of all the stuff you've accomplished - no matter how small, superficial or unspectacular IT COUNTS, YOU DID IT and YOU WERE PROUD OF IT.
These were some of the "achievements" on my list in 2008 -
- I made my varsity hockey team as a freshman in high school.
- I got a scholarship to the University of Florida.
- I was on the honor roll every single semester.
- I won "Most Likely to be President of the United States in 4th Grade".
- I won "Best Body," senior year of high school.
- I suck at basketball but I won "Most Improved Player" in 7th Grade.
- In 10th grade pottery class, the Senior Class President (Stacey) made a clay sculpture modeled after my ample butt cheeks.
#11 NO MORE NEWS, NO MORE POLITICS
The people I know that watch the most news and political commentary are also the MOST NEGATIVE people I know.
Case in point - My Family.
They have no idea how hard it is for neutral/positive/not miserable people to be around them.
For every positive/feel good story there is in the news, there is 23(?) negative stories.
99.99% of the stuff in the "news" doesn't even affect your life and even if it does - you can't do anything about it and it can put you in a bad mood.
If you were on your deathbed I almost guarantee that you wouldn't say, "Damn, I wish I watched more CNN/FoxNews."
If you do think you might say that, it's probably time to hang yourself.
Being an "informed citizen" or engaging in political debate with people usually is a waste of time. It's a form of mental masturbation but it involves a partner or two.
After the bombing incident in Boston, I have been breaking this rule recently - discussing taxes, gun control and homeland security with people recently. Before, during and after the discussion - I'm pissed off, even if I'm talking to people that I agree with.
Instead of mentally masturbating to news networks - why don't you just masturbate to porn? It's more enjoyable and you won't waste as much time.
#12 CLEAN YOUR ROOM
How your room/house looks is often a reflection of your life.
I don't know about you, but cleaning my room somehow makes me feel better if I was in a bad mood.
If you have issues with negativity, it's a good idea to keep your place organized or clean it on every Sunday before your week begins.
#13 LOVE SOMEONE OR SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOURSELF
If you aren't going to love yourself, you might as well love someone else.
Even if you have to buy a dog to take care of, do it.
I have lots of stuffed animals and I make sure they are cared for, loved and fed.
#14 GET SOME SUNLIGHT
You probably know that the amount of sunlight you get/don't get has an effect on your overall mood.
If you don't, the University of Chicago explains.
I go tanning in the Winter (Put SPF on your face) and I even bought this Happy Mood Sunlight.
(the sunlight doesn't shoot out ANY bad UV-rays, it's just all the good stuff!)
#15 SET ONE DAILY SMALL, SPECIFIC, ACHIEVABLE GOAL
People caught in negative self-defeating cycles often feel overwhelmed and feel like they aren't making progress.
That's often because they aren't.
But even if they were - they wouldn't know it.
In order to not be overwhelmed and make progress, you have to know where you are going.
Choose ONE thing you want to accomplish today.
Write it down.
Reward yourself when you get there.
For more information on how to structure and achieve your goals- looky here.
#16 STOP MULTITASKING
Multitasking is often another word for "disorganized".
After living in 7 different cities, getting to know 1000's of people, I think I've only met a handful that can ACTUALLY multitask and have significant accomplishments.
I've sure met a ton of people that thought they could.
Rather than accomplishing goals, they multitask.
I'm not suggesting that all multitaskers are negative people, I'm suggesting that you can accomplish more by focusing on ONE goal at a time. Accomplishing pre-determined goals (see above) is a big part of building a positive lifestyle.
If your goal is to BEAT NEGATIVITY, then don't multitask it.
#17 START EXERCISING/STOP EXERCISING
Sorry for the generic suggestion but it's true.
I don't know if it's causation, correlation or if I don't know what I'm talking about - but most of the negative people I know don't exercise.
Get in the gym (or go play outside) and get your brain to squirt out some natural morphine to make you feel better. You only need 20-25 minutes.
The less common flip-side is a minority of negative people that exercise WAY TOO MUCH.
These people, like myself in 2003-2005, are using the gym to avoid life.
It's not a healthy release, it's a form of denial.
In that case, refer to suggestion #14.
#18 HAVE AT LEAST ONE NEW EXPERIENCE EVERY 10 DAYS
Force yourself into the moment.
If you are reading this discuss, you probably can't name 5 times in the past 5 months that you've had a lot of fun.
When you are in the middle of a negative cycle, you are inside your head.
When you are inside your head, you're not in the moment.
In life - you are either INSIDE your head or OUTSIDE of your head and in the moment.
Having too much of a routine, especially if it's one that you don't really enjoy- doesn't give you a chance get to give outside your head.
Schedule something new at least once every 7-10 days. Even if it's walking into a new store and not buying anything, it's better than being inside your head aboard the negative train.
Read more -
- "Take Good Looking Loser's Life or Death Test"
(How to Be Productive But Still Have a Life)
#19 USE BOREDOM TO DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE
Boredom is an opportunity.
Rather than spending time on an activity to be "not bored," invest yourself time into something productive.
Especially the young guys reading this-
When you grow up you won't have time to be bored.
You'll be working or doing something that will probably be worse than boredom.
You'll wish you invested your time and not wasted it on doing mindless shit like writing comments on other people's YouTube videos or browsing other people's Facebook pictures. You have a chance to get ahead while everyone else is watching reruns of Family Guy.
I was good at this, the only reason this website exists is because I invested my time in all the subjects that I discuss.
I'm glad I did that rather than smoking pot.
#20 DO ANYTHING ELSE THAN BE NEGATIVE
While you are being negative, nothing happens and nobody cares.
Regardless of how much mental energy you devote to negative thought processes, it doesn't really affect the world.
It's a lot of effort with no reward.
The day will come when a negative cycle starts and you will either MAN UP and say "okay fuck this, I'm outta here," or continue to sit there watching the movie of your life and trying to decide whether it should be called "My Struggle" or "FML".
The day(s) will come where you will face that exact situation.
It's how you handle it that will determine whether you are able to kill your negative thought patterns or remain the same person you have always been.
Go to the grocery store, walk around your block, play basketball, go shoot a gun, go do drugs, read a children's book to a plant, go to sleep, go set bugs on fire, whatever- it's time better spent than being in your head bitching yourself out.
Ideally, try to leave the house.
Ideally x 2, try to do something productive.
#21 EVERYTHING YOU DO SHOULD HAVE A PURPOSE THAT YOU CAN DEFINE
Nearly everything you do in life should have a purpose that you can translate to a single sentence.
This purpose should be obvious.
If you can't find a purpose, you might want to eliminate the action/activity/behavior. It's what we call a "time-waster".
Your goal(s) will have obvious purpose, it's random activities that need to be examined.
Outside of working on GoodLookingLoser.com, this is my breakdown of other things I did today and the meaning behind it-
4:30am - Woke up, took T3 (cytomel) and ate breakfast
purpose: I'm more productive when I get up super early.
5:00am - Checked my Fantasy Baseball league
purpose: This is one of my ONLY "acceptable time-wasters" because it doesn't take much time and is entertaining to me
5:20am - Did PE exercises while watching ESPN
purpose: PE is not my main goal but it is a productive time for me.
7:00am - Researched Noni Juice and Posture Belts and Read a Story on the Boston Bombing
purpose: None of this was a complete waste of time, I got side tracked. (20 minutes)
11:30am - Looked through my wallet and took out old business cards I didn't need
purpose: None, my wallet still had plenty of space. (2 minutes)
12:00pm - Watched a 1 minute YouTube video on the forum and wrote a 2 line response on the forum
purpose: Not a huge deal, but these types of things can get you sidetracked. (3 minutes)
2:30pm - Went to the Doctor's and got my post-surgery stitches removed
purpose: Needed to, planned activity.
4:00pm - Drove to Chick-fil-a but decided not to eat there, went into Sports Authority after.
purpose: None, waste of time. (25 minutes)
6:00pm - Got caught up in a small talk conversation with my web-designer.
purpose: Waste of time. (5 minutes)
6:15pm - Watched the first 4 picks of the NFL Draft
purpose: Planned break from work. Allocated relax time.
All in all, not bad - maybe 55 minutes of wasted time.
Given purpose to your hours doesn't mean you HAVE TO WORK the entire day.
It means that when you aren't working, you are still being productive or enjoying designated time that you have set aside to "relax" periods.
This is similar to the Tom Hopkins principle of "I will do the most productive thing and every moment."
I hope these were helpful.
If you noticed, I didn't list -
"Look on the Bright Side, It's not So Bad! Things Could Be Worse!"
Maybe that mentality is helpful for some people, it never helped me. I want my life and your life to be so much more than "... could be worse."
It's just not a very inspiring attitude. It is a mindset that encourages people to compare themselves to other people or similar. It's often a defeatist attitude.
While it's sometimes gratifying to realize that you are ahead of other people or not in the worst circumstances possible, it's just a temporary distraction.
These are some of the things that I did to break my negative destructive cycles.
If you have suggestions (that you've ACTUALLY done), please share them below and tell us why they are effective.
Thank you for reading, I appreciate it!
Although not for a while, you'll find that being negative is largely a choice once you break the cycle and thought patterns.
Maybe you can't yet stop negative reactions, but you sure can try to prevent it from spiraling out of control - like it usually does.