How to Maintain Positivity and Deal With Negativity - Tips and Ideas

The beauty of flowers often makes me feel more positive.
The beauty of flowers often makes me feel more positive. | Source

Positivity is a wonderful state of mind. By energizing us, it often enables us to be successful. This in turn brings more positivity into our life in a beautiful chain reaction. Positivity colours life with joy, or at the very least weakens unhappiness.

Unfortunately, negativity visits many of us at times and and may stay for longer than we would like. Some unlucky people experience negative feelings, attitudes or thoughts for a long time. Continual negativity is like a poison, contaminating everything we do and think about and sucking the joy out of life. Like most people I’ve suffered from negativity at times, but I’ve found some methods that help pull me out of the despondent frame of mind which can potentially spiral downwards into depression.

In this article I'll describe steps that have helped me deal with negativity and may be useful for other people. I'm not a mental health professional, however. Anyone who is experiencing frequent, continual or severe depression should seek counseling or professional medical help.

Observing nature is a wonderful strategy for improving my mood.
Observing nature is a wonderful strategy for improving my mood. | Source

Negativity in Life

There are two varieties of negativity and many factors that can contribute to each type. There is the negativity that originates within our own minds when we experience feelings or situations such as despondency, envy, resentment, failure to achieve a goal or lack of confidence. There is also the negativity that reaches us from other people when they are repeatedly critical of us or when they are depressed themselves, which can then trigger negative feelings in us.

Negativity reminds me of a virus and the way it behaves. When we’re around a negative person, if we’re not careful we can “catch” their criticism or their depression, which can then grow within us. If a person frequently criticizes us or offers no support for our efforts, they can make us feel as though our personality or abilities are lacking in some respect. If they are depressed and unhappy, their misery can be contagious.

Of course we need to help others if we can and if it's appropriate, but I want to discuss some possible ways to deal with the negativity within ourselves - the type that we can best control. We may not be able to improve a negative situation or alter the behavior of a negative person - although we should certainly try - but we can change our reaction to the situation or person.

Interacting with my pets always makes me feel more positive.
Interacting with my pets always makes me feel more positive. | Source
Observing nature can provide a great boost to positivity.
Observing nature can provide a great boost to positivity. | Source

Finding Positivity - The Importance of Taking Action

To me there seem to be two aspects to dealing with negativity and finding positivity. One is taking appropriate action in an attempt to dispel the negativity. The other is finding support mechanisms to help us enjoy other aspects of our lives while we are experiencing the negative situation.

One of my mother’s favourite sayings was “God helps those who help themselves”. This saying can be valid whether or not we believe in a literal God, since the word “God” can symbolize - or be replaced with - goodness, love, peace, strength, power, or whatever other quality resonates in our minds. The point is that we need to take action to solve the problems that are causing our negativity instead of waiting, hoping that they will disappear due to outside forces.

I find that it's important to deal with negative situations dispassionately. If a potential solution to a problem is tried and isn’t successful, instead of reacting with despair I need to calmly acknowledge the fact that my strategy didn’t work and formulate a new plan. Subduing emotions is easier said than done, but I’ve found that staying relaxed really is helpful to my state of mind. Becoming tense and agitated makes the situation much worse for me. Stayed as relaxed as possible gives me the feeling that I am in control of the situation.

Deepak Chopra and Oprah Share Their Ideas about Positivity

Spring crocuses in bloom - a sign of hope and positivity
Spring crocuses in bloom - a sign of hope and positivity | Source

Some Strategies for Developing or Maintaining Positivity

Writing and walking are my favourite techniques for coming up with potential solutions to problems. Reading about possible ways to solve a problem and talking to someone that I trust completely are also helpful.

Writing to Solve Problems

I find that writing a problem down and then brainstorming possible solutions and writing them down as well is very helpful. Seeing the problem and possible solutions in written form clarifies the situation for me and often stimulates me to think of new solutions.

Walking to Find Solutions

Walking boosts my creativity, calms me down when I'm angry and improves my mood. Both brisk and energetic walks and slow and meditative ones are useful for me. Sometimes I think about a problem as I walk. I'm often able to come up with a possible solution before I arrive home.

Reading and Talking to Others For Inspiration

Doing some research to discover how other people have dealt with similar problems of negativity or getting advice from others often helps me to think of a successful solution to a problem. Talking to good friends, relatives and trusted advisers can be a great way to get new ideas or to obtain feedback about my own ideas.

Redirecting Attention

It's important that I don't dwell on a problem to the exclusion of other aspects of my life. I’m not suggesting that a negative situation should be ignored, but thinking about the situation in almost every waking hour increases the mental turmoil and is exhausting. Some sort of balance is necessary. Supportive activities like hobbies are very important. Helping people in need can also help to redirect attention. While helping others should be done for their benefit and not ours, a happy side effect is often a boost in positivity for the helper.

Getting Stuck in the Negatives - and How to Get Unstuck!

Exercise improves my mood: photo by AliciaC
Exercise improves my mood: photo by AliciaC
One of my cats - part of my support mechanism
One of my cats - part of my support mechanism | Source

Support Mechanisms

Some negative situations take time to resolve. Activities that calm us and help us to temporarily escape from the turmoil of negativity are very important for our emotional health.

My most effective support mechanisms to calm my mind involve exercising, visiting nature and interacting with my dog. You may find that different activities give your mind a break from thinking about negative situations.

A brisk walk always improves my mood. Looking at the scenery and people as I travel and taking photographs stops me from thinking about my problems. I love to observe plants and animals on my walks and enter their world for a while.

My pets provide wonderful support when I most need it. Stroking, brushing and playing with my dog is very comforting. He is always loving and non-judgemental. My cats and birds are great company, too.

Looking at the sky, especially on a clear night, can be comforting for me as well. It makes me think about the vast and awesome universe that is our home. It also makes me wonder about the true nature of reality and our role in this reality. Looking at the visible universe and thinking about what lies beyond often makes me think about what is really important in life and helps me to put my problem into perspective.

Reading and music can also take my mind away from stressful situations. Socializing with others or helping them in some way can have the same effect. Friends and relatives help me solve my problems and also forget about them.

Some people may find their religious or spiritual beliefs to be very supportive. These beliefs can be an anchor in troublesome times. Mindful walking (walking while using meditation techniques), some styles of yoga or simply sitting and entering a meditative state may be useful, too. They may help a person discover a centre of calmness deep within their mind that cannot be touched by external chaos.

Positivity can help us leap over obstacles.
Positivity can help us leap over obstacles. | Source

Avoiding Negativity

It may seem like the best way to deal with negativity is to never experience it, but for most of us this is unrealistic. It may not be possible to avoid a negative person if they are a colleague at work or a close family member, for example. In an extremely destructive relationship it might be necessary to leave a job or no longer see a relative or friend, but this is a last resort. In addition, we are constantly being bombarded with news, events and observations that may provoke negative feelings. It's often hard to prevent these feelings from entering our minds, although it does get easier with practice. What is important is not that we escape negativity but that we know how to deal with potentially negative situations when they arise.

© 2012 Linda Crampton

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Comments 48 comments

Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 4 years ago from Australia

There is a lot of useful advice here Alicia and for me especially your advice to "deal with negative situations dispassionately". My biggest downfall in dealing with negativity has been allowing my emotions to march right on and react too. This approach usually leaves me in a mess and achieves more angst. I am bookmarking this hub to come back too. Saving, voting up and SHARING. Thank you for a very useful article.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Very interesting hub Alicia. I think that a lot of people learn to be negative when they are children, as they are not given enough support and encouragment. I just find writing useful, as when I'm writing I'm concentrating on my story or article and have no room for negative thoughts.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

AliciaC--Thanks for answering the question I posted! You did a great job of presenting your answer. The photos are great, too. I love the flowers and the animal. Your hub has a very peaceful feel to it. Very nice to read. Voted up and just about everything else!


sunkentreasure profile image

sunkentreasure 4 years ago

SECRETS OF LIFE By BERNARD LEVINE

Look for the beauty

in everything you see.

Walk in peace

showing kindness

everywhere.

The secrets of success

are motivation

and dedication

Happiness is

what you make happen

for yourself.

Caring is

going to the ends of the world

for a stranger.

Be useful with your life.

Whatever you are doing

put your whole

being into it 100%

Loving is

pleasing your loved one everyday

in a 1000 different ways.

Control your mind

you are its master

Be in control.

Live your life

without hurting or

destroying.

Believe in yourself.

Have respect for yourself.

Walk through life

always with a song.

© Bernard Levine


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share, Fennelseed. Yes, being dispassionate is the step that I need to work on! Being emotional makes negativity so much worse.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Those are good points, CMHypno. It's very sad, but I think you're right - I think a lot of people do learn how to be negative when they are children. Writing is very useful for me, too!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for asking such an interesting question, Victoria! Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, too.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

What a beautiful poem, sunkentreasure! It contains excellent advice for living a life in kindness, without creating negativity!! Thank you very much for sharing the poem.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Alicia,

I loved all of your ways that you combat negativity...the exercise, admiring nature, visiting with friends and your pets. Volunteering is another way to combat negativity, because when the focus is on helping others, often the feel good aspect of doing that is amazing! Useful vote and sharing with others. Hope that your days ahead of you are filled with sunshine and happiness. Love your pet photos!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit, the vote and the share, Peggy! Yes, helping others is an excellent way to banish negativity. I hope that your future is happy too!


Karanda profile image

Karanda 4 years ago from Australia

'Negativity is like a poison', this has been my experience too. If the negativity comes from people around us the only cure is to surround ourselves with others who thrive on a positive philosophy. I love your support mechanisms Alicia, pets are a wonderful distraction to whatever ails us. This was a great read and a timely reminder to focus on the positives in my life.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Karanda. Thank you for the comment. Pets are certainly a wonderful support mechanism. They are very good at banishing a negative mood in their humans!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I agree with you that negativity is like a virus. It is very contagious if you linger around it for awhile. Best to walk away and find some peace. I love your suggestions to pet the family dog. This really works for me. Thanks for sharing.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, teaches12345. I appreciate your visit and comment. I agree, petting the family dog is an excellent way to become more positive!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

You have written a very important and useful hub. When I find myself feeling negative, iI have to remember that my thoughts color everything I do and accomplish absolutely nothing. Up and awesome.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, breakfastpop! Yes, being negative does affect the rest of our lives. It's not a pleasant state to be in.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I knew it, I knew it! When it comes to negativity, dear Alicia, we both share the same beliefs. Negative people and negative thoughts drag us down and shorten our lives. That is why positivism and a powerful sense of humor are so meaningful. Thank you for this lovely hub. Voted up, of course.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, drbj! I appreciate the comment and the vote. I agree, having a sense of humor is a big help in dispelling a negative mood!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

This is a really wonderful hub! You have hit on exactly what most of us who have or are going through negativity feel like. I think the problem for me, and probably others, for a long time, was not realising I had a problem in the first place. I was so use to putting myself down, that I tended to just accept it. It wasn't until I listened to others that I realised this could change. It also took me a long time to realise that people who are negative about everything, do drag you down, make you feel tired, depressed or whatever. And again it was great to know that I could also do something about this as well.

I love the advice you have given and for people reading your hub, this will be the start to reversing the negativity that has always plagued them. Doing anything at all to combat negativity is always going to produce a positive reaction and your wonderful hub will definitely put many people on the road to recovery!

Voted up interesting + awesome!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the great comment, Seeker7!! It would be wonderful if the suggestions in my hub are helpful to anyone. I appreciate your insight and your votes very much.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Alicia, All great tips and advice to combat the bad negative vibes we can get from time to time,thanks for sharing this great information within the well written hub.

Vote up and more !!!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the visit and the comment, Tom. I appreciate the votes too!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I agree with your realistic views here. I try to stay positive but it isn't always possible. Your cats are really cute. Are they Ragdolls? A kitty will always brighten everyone's day! :)


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Hi Alicia, Upbeat is Good and Negativity is oh so bad for our Body Parts...Our Mind, Our Hearts and our Well being. Wonderful, Wonderful tips, good Vibes my Friend. We should all read and remember to be Good to ourselves. I too give you my upbeat UP Vote!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, tammyswallow. Yes, the two cats in the photo are ragdolls. I also have a rescued cat of unknown breed. Luckily, all three cats are good friends with each other and with the dogs in the family. Thanks for the visit!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, b. Malin. Thank you very much for the comment and the vote. I agree, being upbeat is good and being negative is bad for both our minds and our bodies!


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

I bounce up and down with my negative/positive emotions on a constant basis it seems. I will for sure bookmark this page to keep me motivated to keep on the bright side, no matter what. Walking with my silly dog is my main source of sanity. And cooking great meals for my hubby! Thanks for a great hub!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Ruby. Thanks for the visit and the comment! My dog is my main "source of sanity" too. It's hard to stay negative when he's in a playful mood or when he persuades me to take him for a walk.


TENKAY profile image

TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

I got 4 dogs and a cat, I call them my medicine for stress and depression. I walk, bike, clean the house, or read hubs to de-stress and avoid depression. Most of the time I succeed. This is a very informative hub, most of what you wrote I practice too.

Thank you. I am sharing this site in my redgage account.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the share, TENKAY! I appreciate your comment. Yes, like you I find that pets, physical activity and reading can act as medicine for stress. They're all very helpful.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Oh yes Alicia;how I loved this one;my sentiments exactly and I am sure many will benefit from reading this great hub.

An up up and away plus a bookark.

Take care my friend and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Eddy! I hope that you're having a great day, too.


taazakhabar profile image

taazakhabar 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Positive and negative are two sides of a coin. But come to think of it - (negative) = positive. I liked the way you argued the case for positivism. My complements for doing a great job


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, taazakhabar. I appreciate the comment!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales

Just listening to the audio version of Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth' - your description of negativity being a virus pretty much agrees with what he says. One of the things I am beginning to understand is that a situation 'is what it is' and it is only our thoughts/perceptions about it that are negative. He says to pause and allow yourself to feel the negativity... stop thinking and simply focus on the feeling... and very often it will dissipate because you are not feeding it with more negative thought.

Interesting hub.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the visit, theraggededge, and for sharing the interesting idea. I will try that strategy in the future!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I love your cats. They are so cute so is your dog. Great hub voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit, the comment and the vote, moonlake!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

I so agree with everything you've said in this article, especially this last line: "What is important is not that we escape negativity but that we know how to deal with potentially negative situations when they arise."

You've discussed many options for how to deal with these potentially negative situations which makes this a very useful article.

I also loved the photos that you chose for illustrations and the fact that you took all of them yourself.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit, Happyboomernurse. I appreciate your comment a great deal. Thank you for the votes, too.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Beautifully presented and you have made good points here, definitely helpful to every reader. Negative energy can put you down but you have to strong to get it out of the way.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, DDE! I appreciate your visit and comment.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 20 months ago from Germany

I agree with you that negative people makes us down. I think that´s the reason why I avoid them now. Thanks for sharing your advices. Well done! I loved reading this hub.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Thelma.


Agog Blog profile image

Agog Blog 18 months ago from Raleigh, NC

I love your hub. Nice job.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Agog Blog. I appreciate your visit.


PoetwoPoem profile image

PoetwoPoem 10 months ago from Dallas

Great hub, nice job


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, PoetwoPoem.

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