Staying positive in a world where social media and reality TV dictate how we should think and act and negativity is all around us, can seem like a difficult feat. Humans are hardwired for negativity, so it’s no wonder that being positive takes additional conscious effort and a great deal of determination.
Staying positive can help your physical and mental health, your relationships, and your overall well-being in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom.
What is negativity bias?
As mentioned earlier, as humans, we’re hardwired for negativity, also known as negativity bias. This refers to the psychological phenomenon in which people tend to give more weight and attention to negative information and experiences than to positive ones. In other words, negative events or emotions are more likely to stick in people’s minds and have an impact than positive ones.
This bias can manifest in different ways, such as by making one pay more attention to negative news or criticism or by dwelling on negative experiences or memories. It can also result in one being more influenced by negative feedback than positive feedback. The negativity bias can also affect decision-making, as people may be more likely to focus on potential negative outcomes than positive ones.
The negativity bias is believed to have evolved as a survival mechanism, as being more attuned to potential threats and dangers in the environment would have been helpful to our ancestors. However, in modern times, it can also lead to increased stress, anxiety, and pessimism.
Remember that a positive attitude can make you more approachable and likable, which can help you build stronger and more meaningful relationships. Being positive can increase one’s resilience as well. When faced with challenges and setbacks, stay optimistic to remain motivated and overcome obstacles with ease.
So how do you stay positive and optimistic even when the world around you keeps dwelling in negativity?
6 Useful Tips for Staying Positive
When you immerse yourself in negativity daily, you feel drained, and negative thoughts engulf your mind. Luckily, you can consciously decide to eliminate or reduce negativity by taking practical steps to immerse yourself in positivity each day.
Use these strategies to stay positive when there’s negativity all around you:
1. Don’t take things too personally.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others think or say about you, but their opinion is just that: an opinion. If someone is hostile toward you, it’s more a reflection of them than of you. So, don’t take it to heart and let it bring you down.
Observe your thoughts and realize when you’re taking things personally. Observing your thoughts will help you catch yourself before getting too caught up in them.
- Stop and look at the situation objectively. Try to see both sides of the story and understand the other person’s actions.
- Challenge your beliefs—is there another way of looking at the situation? Are your beliefs about yourself true?
- Focus on yourself instead of worrying about what others think.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparison will destroy your mood. You have distinct talents and gifts, so comparing yourself to others is pointless. It’s like comparing kiwis to oranges—they’re both fruit, but they’re entirely different.
Instead, embrace your uniqueness and take advantage of your distinctive traits and features. Focus on your journey and what you want to achieve.
Remember that everyone is different. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. Just because someone seems to have it all together doesn’t mean that they aren’t fighting a personal battle of their own.
3. Hang out with positive people.
Negative people are contagious. If you’re around them long enough, their negativity will rub off on you. However, positivity is also contagious! So, it’s essential to spend time with people who will uplift your mood.
- Look for people who uplift you and make you feel good. When you’re around them, do you feel happy and positive? Or do they bring your mood down?
- Find people with similar interests. If you have things in common, you’ll be more likely to have enjoyable conversations and experiences with them.
- You can find new friends by going to events, seeking new hobbies, volunteering, and spending time in online meetup groups.
- Be open-minded; don’t write someone off just because they seem different from you. Keep an open mind and embrace people’s differences.
4. Take care of your physical and mental health.
Taking care of your physical and psychological health is crucial. If you’re not taking care of yourself, staying positive is hard. So, ensure that you’re eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
And if you’re struggling with mental health issues, don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional.
- Eat a balanced diet. Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods. If you can, consult a nutritionist, as they can provide a comprehensive diet plan for you to follow.
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need around eight hours per night. Disconnect from electronic screens at least an hour before bedtime. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll be more susceptible to stress and anxiety.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, which help boost your mood. Even a small amount of activity can make a big difference in your mental health. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Try walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing.
5. Find your passion.
When we’re passionate about something, staying positive is much easier. So, find something you’re passionate about and pour yourself into it.
- When you’re passionate about something, you’re more likely to be engaged in life and see the world positively.
- You’ll have a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose is linked to happiness and well-being. And what could be more purposeful than immersing yourself in your passion?
- You’ll be more resilient. When you’re passionate about something, you’re more likely to bounce back from setbacks. Even when things are tough, you have a powerful reason to keep going.
6. Be grateful for the good things you have.
It’s easy to take the good things in our lives for granted. But when we stop and think about our blessings, it’s hard to stay negative. So, take a moment each day to reflect on the good things in your life, no matter how small they may be.
- You’ll appreciate life more.
- You’ll be happier; gratitude and happiness go hand in hand. Studies have shown that grateful people are 25% more content than those who don’t practice gratitude.
- Gratitude also makes you more resilient. When you’re grateful for the good things in your life, it’s easier to bounce back from difficult times.
Takeaway: Staying positive even in the midst of negativity bias
There is a lot of scientific evidence that a positive attitude can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms and make you feel better overall. Positive thinking has been linked to lower levels of stress and better immune system function, which can lead to better physical health. In short, staying positive can help you live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
If you find yourself surrounded by negativity, don’t despair! There are plenty of things you can do to stay positive. Remember to take things slowly, be grateful for the good in your life, and seek positive and like-minded people. If you follow these tips and keep an open mind, with a little effort, you’ll be feeling better in no time!