I am sure that each of us has those days when we feel that the whole world is against us. It starts with gloomy rainy weather that does not let even a tiny ray of sunshine touch your skin. The next thing you know is that you have gotten into a mess that you were not even expecting. You got laid off (pretty common in this modern economy), you had a bad argument with someone close to you, or you feel that you are not appreciated and that everything you do is not good enough. You can think of your own scenarios of how you could develop a negative attitude to life, I don’t think you need my help for this
It’s difficult to be balanced and happy in these situations (yep, even “balance experts” like me have times like this). Instead of focusing on balanced thinking you start over-analyzing the situation. Thoughts of self-pity or criticism fill your entire mind killing any sprouts of creativity or inspiration. You get stuck in a circle of insecurity, fear, frustration and a general feeling of failure.
Each of us knows the best advice that we hear in these types of situations “Stop thinking negatively. Concentrate on positive thoughts.” Yeah, right … If it really were that easy then people would not be popping anti-depressant pills like crazy now.
However I do believe that there is a way to change this negative attitude and to regain life balance in the shortest time (without any medical assistance). After going through a situation that required all my knowledge of life balance I can give you a few tips on how to eradicate negative thoughts.
- Talk to someone with a positive attitude. The most important thing in situations like this is not to stay alone. Find somebody that you can talk to and discuss whatever troubles you (do not forget to be emotional in the conversation). Do not get stuck on the subject of your negative attitude though. Once you feel that your burden is lighter move on and talk about something pleasant. Remember funny situations that happened to both of you in the past, talk about nice people you met; discuss funny movies or people you saw lately. Have fun.
- Write down your thoughts. If there is nobody you can talk to then just write down all your thoughts. Again do not forget to put your emotions into this writing. You can pretend that it’s a letter to yourself or to an imaginary friend. It also can be the plot of a novel (do not forget to write a happy ending then). It can even be a mind map that will help you realize what led you to this negative attitude and how you can break through. Once you are done you will feel relieved and your balance will be at least partially restored. Depending on the situation you might want to burn whatever you have written or tear it to pieces and imagine how your negative thoughts disappear.
- Immerse yourself into a hobby. When you are doing something you love you stop thinking negatively. I like organizing photos, creating photo collages and looking through photo albums. It brings happy memories and helps me to be more grateful for what I have.
- Be engrossed in your work. When you are a writer or any other creative person then being engrossed in work is a problem (negative thoughts kill inspiration). However, I find it helpful to do some routine projects that do not require creativity. In the terms of a blog it can be looking for new plugins, looking for people to follow on Twitter or Stumbleupon, going through old posts and organizing them etc. No matter what you do for a living I am sure that you have some routine tasks that you do not like doing on most other days but that you can benefit from when you are low on inspiration.
- Go to an inspiring place. The worst thing to do when you are attacked by negative thinking is to hide in your house and to complain about the whole world. Get out and go to a place that inspires you. Nature is the biggest source of inspiration for me that is why I enjoy going to the park, hiking nature trails or just going for a walk around the neighborhood (you still see trees, grass and flowers :-)). (You can find a few ideas about nature and life balance in Balance Your Life in Two Days) Some people might get inspired in a museum or art gallery while others might be fans of hot rods and muscle cars. You know what inspires you so just go there!
- Stop your negative thoughts for a while. If you are a disciplined person then you can tell yourself “I cannot think about it now. I will think about this whole situation between 8 p.m. and 8.20 p.m.” You do not stop your thoughts you just postpone them. The idea is that when the allocated time arrives, you won’t feel the same anxiety.
- Practice gratitude. It is very important to learn the art of gratitude before negative thoughts start to bombard you (in this case negative attitude does not even have a chance to creep into your life). However, it’s never too late to start. Be genuinely grateful for what you have in life and never stop thinking about it. Meditation is a powerful tool to control your thoughts and to learn gratitude (I am almost ashamed to admit that I still have not tried meditation. Well, it is nice to know that I still have long ways to go to discover everything about life balance :-)) Being spiritual in general will help you to become more aware and grateful for your life.
- Try something new and get extremely excited about it. One of my close friends recently broke up with her boyfriend and the world looked pretty dark to her. She has decided to try something she’s been thinking about for a long time – Kundalini Yoga. She says that the whole world seems a hundred times brighter now and she has completely regained her inner balance in just a couple of weeks. What do you want to try?
- Learn from the situation. Whether you have given in to emotional eating and gained 10 pounds that you’ve been trying to lose for the last year or whether you have been hurt by stinging comments and thoughts of people around you, just use this situation as a life lesson. Imagine that you have gotten a bad grade in school. It’s unpleasant, you feel bad but it is not the end of the world. You just have to learn your homework again and next time you will be prepared.
- Find happiness boosters. Sometimes a bowl of ice-cream can be a better cure than any emotional counseling (do not practice emotional eating too often though). Watch a comedy or any movie with a happy ending. Focus on good things in your life (my babies are the biggest happiness boosters for me. Just one smile on their faces makes me the happiest person on the face of the earth. )
I firmly believe that any smart person can withstand any attack of negativity. It is our choice how to fight this battle and to be winners no matter what. Negative situations or failures are unavoidable but we can avoid their destructive power by holding on to positive thinking, a desire to understand the world around us and a constant movement towards life balance.
Keep it balanced!