3 Paths to Squash Your Negative Attitude
Many of us are champions of maintaining bad moods. For some, it’s even a default mode. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly easy to trade in your vigor, dreams, and self-worth for wages, traffic jams, and mindless meme-browsing. Sometimes it’s even expected of us. If you wake up sighing, head to work grunting obscenities, and haven’t had exciting weekend plans in years, congratulations. You’ve slipped into the dismal neurosis many call “the daily grind.”
Many “experts” would have us believe that pessimism is a disease. You’ll need to take antidepressants, dump herbs into lettuce smoothies, and pray for salvation. Combine all of these well-meaning instructions from various sources, and people make excuses. They give up or they don’t try, because they don’t like lettuce or prayers or whatever the treatment is. Ironically, through the influx of media suggestions, we become paralyzed and confused instead of educated and inspired. The big secret that happiness peddlers try to cover up is that negativity is a free fix.
Start with this one simple fact: People disregard who they are. We have goals that we give up on, or maybe we never try to achieve them at all. Many of us don’t develop our talents or contribute to anything outside of ourselves. We might aim low, expending only enough effort to hold down a miserable job to afford rent and greasy take-out dinners. While greasy take-out is delicious in its own disturbing way, it makes perfect sense that we don’t even want to crawl out of bed in this scenario. No doctors, shrinks, or medications are needed. Its obvious: humans have high potential, and we can’t expect to thrive while on autopilot.
1. Negativity is simply a habit. (The brute force path)
The scariest thing about the human mind is that it does what we tell it to do. Our minds get stuck in those carved out routines that often serve no good purpose. However, thanks to neuroplasticity, we can give our brains a push through self-awareness and genuine effort. If we relentlessly keep doing positive things, we will eventually begin to tip those stubborn scales.
2. Negativity is a byproduct of something. (The underlying meaning path)
It can be the lingering result of unresolved loss or disappointment. It can be as profound as a death in the family or just a general sense of life-suck. Either way, negativity doesn’t show up on it’s own.
When your life is aligned with your values, negativity dissipates naturally. So it’s not really your attitude that needs an adjustment- it’s probably your circumstances.
3. Negativity is a call to action. (The ‘make changes’ path)
Of course, all the thinking in the world means nothing unless you decide on concrete steps and complete them. Being a downer isn’t a natural human state. It’s a sign that something is not working, and it’s being brought to your attention.
We need to first ask ourselves what’s missing, and second, what we can realistically do about it. Everyone has his or her own specific reasons for being down, and it may not be obvious. You may need to add something (relaxation), or subtract something (your horrible neighbors). You’ll need to ask yourself a lot of uncomfortable questions that start with “how” and “why.”
And don’t worry about those people who tell you that you’re stupid for making life-changing plans. They are likely stuck in the same vat of molasses-like negativity that you are. And worse, they probably have no idea. This is why self-awareness is essential, as it can be an incredibly eye-opening catalyst.
As soon as we master the elusive “good attitude,” we find that our own pessimism was adding onto our other problems, making them harder to solve. Positivity on the other hand, is like a giant net. Once you learn to cast it out, you catch all sorts of awesome things that you otherwise wouldn’t have found. People treat you better, you treat them better, and life overall improves.
We all belong somewhere different. If you are not where you want to be, doing what suites you best, negativity is going to manifest somehow. Negativity is secondary. It comes from a lack of direction, disappointment, or some other perceived issue that you haven’t resolved. Regardless of how the ball and chain was attached, you can unchain it through purposeful action.