How to leave negativity behind

If you’re any way like me, negativity sucks at you. It sticks its teeth into your shoulder, picks you up, and tosses you around until your insides have fallen out. It’s an exhausting way to live, and therefore, I’ve tried to find ways to combat the effect it has on me. A new year is the perfect time to put these ideas into practise. Hopefully, you’ll find them somewhat useful as well.

Write It Down: Simple as. If something bothers you, put it on a page. It doesn’t have to be in diary format, or even legible. If it helps you, tear it up. Burn it. Let it go physically and it’ll ebb something mental away too. But, on the flip side of this rule is another one.

Write Down the Good Things: Keep track. One small line a day can make all the difference to your happiness. Something as trivial as ‘I found a one cent coin on the footpath’ can be that silver lining. I find that a line relating to people, especially strangers with a random act of kindness, can be particularly helpful. I’m glad I wrote down that the woman in McDonalds last week held the door open for me, because when I get an angry customer at work, it reminds me that that nice lady existed.

Exercise: It’s preached at us so often, but it’s true. If you have an argument, take a run. Power it out of your system and you’ll sleep without tossing and turning over it. Honestly. Endorphins make you feel better, the fitness aspect gives you satisfaction about yourself, and you generally are just a lot more productive. It’s so much more beneficial than sitting and stewing.

Relaxation Time: This can be just as important as exercise. Downtime has to happen, but just make it the right kind. Light some candles. Have a bath. Get cosy and watch a movie. Pamper yourself. Just try and give a bit of time to appreciate you.

Get Motivated: Negativity is, a lot of the time, self-caused. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but you just don’t have the time, do it now. Otherwise you never will. Your brain knows this and it’s criticising you for it. Instead of three nights out a week, cutback to two, and get started on your project then. Whether it’s painting, or just studying harder for those tests, just go for it. Don’t let the guilt get to you when the key to changing it is yourself.

Try: This comes in line with the above. Give your full best to what you undertake. Sometimes this means narrowing your commitments down and concentrating on just some of them. It’s better to give your full self to a couple of things than to give a thin spread. The results will be worth the energy, and give you a serious buzz of positivity.

Surround yourself with the Right People: This can be so much easier said than done. I know that in the past I’ve had friends who I had no idea were dragging me down at the time. In foresight I realise this, but in the moment I was blind to it. During these new weeks back to NUIG, try and take a step back. Try and see what kind of way these people make you feel. Now, I don’t mean, hey, ditch that girl because she has been pretty upset, and that’s annoying. I’m more along the lines of a person who puts next to no effort into your friendship being cut, or at least being accepted for what they are to you. Figure out who’s the right fit and who’s not. Then put your all in for each one that you know is worth it.

2016 was a bit of a dark year. Political turmoil, terrorism, death and war have slowly been releasing a black cloud. Don’t let personal negativity add to it. Instead try and make your personal life as positive as possible. You can do whatever you put your mind to. Make the most of 2017!

-By Orla Carty

Image from Hiromichi Torihara on flickr

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