Six Steps to Overcoming Any form of Negativity and Making Lasting Change.
EVERYONE HAS BAD DAYS; SOME WORSE THAN OTHERS. IT’S A PART OF LIFE THAT MAKES THE GOOD DAYS GOOD, AND THE GREAT DAYS BETTER. IT’S PROBABLY TRUE THAT WE WOULDN’T KNOW THE VALUE OF A GOOD DAY IF WE NEVER HAD BAD ONES.
BUT HOW MANY OF US ARE DEALING WITH FREQUENT BAD DAYS, OR WORSE, THE KIND OF BAD DAYS THAT MAKE US HIT THE ROCK BOTTOM AND QUESTION WHETHER WE’LL EVER GET OUT. BUT AS A KIND REMINDER TO ANYONE DEALING WITH THIS, JUST KNOW, I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH.
I won’t label the statistics, because in all honesty I don’t know them. But what I do know is that child and teen depression rates have gone through the roof in the last decade. I’m largely aware that most adults in the world are dealing with some (or several) forms of anxiety or mental chaos. And worst of all, there are more people across the globe dealing with some form of ongoing negativity, in which they feel like there is no end, than there has been ever before.
The rate of people with real and satisfying connections/relationships has gone down. The stats for people (of all ages) dealing with a form of addiction or reoccurring dependency have skyrocketed since the early 60s. Not to mention, the count of people who actually feel good, on a regular basis, has never been lower – and that faking joy or happiness has become a real and ongoing trend.
SO WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT THIS?
Dealing with extreme levels of negativity and anxiety-related depression on my own terms, I've come know the value of genuinely feeling good. My anxiety, alone, has taught me the value of being at peace and feeling real joy – but ultimately, I was aching to find a way to prolong the states of positivity, and decrease the frequency of negative episodes, and even lower the intensity of depression altogether.
So this blog post goes out to anyone looking to overcome their negativity; not just temporarily, but finding lasting methods of conquering the rise of anxiety and powerlessness. I’ve done the hard and dirty work to bring, to you, techniques of awareness and mastery – so you can recognize your pain, and defeat it altogether.
Although this blog post, is a 5-step method that will, in the moment, help you overcome any form of negativity; it is also an ongoing practice, that you can incorporate in your life, that will help you master your fears and conquer your chaos altogether.
So without further ado, let’s get to the point.
STEP ONE: SENSE.
I'm sure you know when you start to feel that feeling of rising anxiety – you notice that your thoughts are becoming more and more negative; they sound mean, or sad, or scary in one way, shape, or another.
This initial step is crucial in order to become aware of our forms of negativity, and ultimately find out our triggers, the feelings they bring, and the way our body’s react with some forms of negativity.
As soon as it comes up, you’ll start to notice that the negativity is taking over your better mind; whether it’s in the form of judgments, blame, feelings of fear or powerlessness, unworthiness, or the voice of your inner critic – the point of Stage One, is just to become aware of your current state and the feelings that come up in your body and mind.
The most important part of this stage, is NEVER to ignore it or wait until your angst has consumed you, or become too overwhelming. So, the moment you sense it begins, just notice the rising sensations and thoughts that you’re undergoing, and give yourself the time and energy to figure out what it is you’re feeling.
STEP TWO: LABEL.
What does this mean?
Name. Categorize. Describe. Classify. Assign a meaning.
This second stage lies within identifying the feelings, emotions and thoughts that arise within. You’re sitting with yourself and you’re beginning to categorize what feelings you have.
Is it anger? Sadness? Fear, resentment, carelessness, unworthiness… There are over thousands of different emotions that we have the capacity to feel. Sit with yourself in your pain and negativity, don’t avoid it – and just monitor and name the emotions you think you’re feeling.
I think this method works best when you grab a piece of paper and note whatever words come to your mind when you think of what you’re feeling. They can be single words or full sentences. This is you. What comes to you, write it down; classify the emotions your feelings, and label the feelings that arise within your body.
I think the most important part of this stage is just being with yourself. Labeling, aside. The very fact that you’re not avoiding your feelings, and you’re actually becoming aware of them, and finding out what they mean or feel to you – that is why this stage is so important in overcoming our negativity; because we’re not avoiding or masking it. We’re just letting it be, and finding out what it is.
So, in my opinion, this exercise works best if you write on two pages – one page for thoughts – one page for feelings. List the words that come to mind when you think of what you’re feeling and thinking. And most importantly of all, write out WHATEVVERRR comes to mind.
STEP THREE: FEEL.
The third of five steps is just as crucial as the rest – but I emphasize this stage more than the rest, because I know most people do all in their power to avoid it.
So, please, for your own sake, do not skip out on this one. It is crucial that you follow this next step, and that you engage yourself in it to the absolute FULLEST of your ability.
It may, and probably will, be painful, but feeling the ache, in its entirety, saves you from ever feeling it in that intensity again. The more you do it, you feel what your body is telling you, the less frequent it happens, and less intense it becomes.
“Step Three: FEEEEEEEL”
Whatever rising emotions come up, whatever your body and mind are telling you to feel right now, FEEL IT. Feel it for two minutes excessively, or twenty minutes excessively. If you’re mad, BE IN FUCKING RAGEEEEE. If you’re sad, CRY UNTIL YOUR EYES ARE RED. If you’re feeling ashamed, or scared, or whatever it is, FEEL THAT SHIT WITH ALL OF YOUR BEING. FEEEEEEL IT!
and back to sanity…
While the avoidance of fear and pain are hard-driven in the human brain, you have to stop doing whatever it takes not to feel your pain, and start allowing yourself the love and care to go through the hurt.
The reason I’m telling you this, is because 73% of us do not regularly engage ourselves in what we’re feeling. We negate the effects of our emotions; we numb ourselves or ignore our feelings. If we’re upset, we’ll try to tame it, never fully letting ourselves express what needs to be expressed. If we’re in pain, we purposely take something to suppress, repress, or numb it.
How are you supposed to let go of these feelings, if you never fully let them pass?
So f*cking feel it, dude.
Feel whatever emotions come up, and feel them beyond what your body is telling you to feel. OKAY?!
And I know. I know it’s scary to go through it. I know you’re worried about how excruciating it may be, and I know you’re frightened by the shadows of your past that still haunt you.
But the minute you decide to stop running away, to turn inwards and feel the pain your soul is so desperately trying to set free, you’ll find that it will never scare or hurt you that much again.
STEP FOUR: QUESTION/CONTEMPLATE.
Three of the most important steps, towards overcoming your negative impulse, have been accomplished. One of the most effective techniques you can practice from this moment on is to stop yourself in your stream of thinking, and start questioning your current state of mind.
I like to start with the basic, “Where, when, what, why, how?” – when I question my energy.
“Where and when did this begin in my life?” “When did this become a serious issue?”
Answer yourself in the literal sense, like what event, today, triggered my feeling this way; but also dig deeper and start to ask yourself when, in your life, these emotions and energy took place, and when they became intolerable.
With enough time, energy, and focus - you’ll find specific events, and experiences, that may have set the loop for these problems, and once you can find that out, you’ll narrow in on what might have set that trigger today.
“Why am I feeling this way?” “Why are my thoughts negative” “Why does this happen so often?”
The simplest answer to your “Why”, that I can give you is that 90% of your negativity is a direct result of an over-activated thought pattern. You’re feeling/thinking this way because you have been for so long. And every time you begin to feel this way, you continue to add to the chain of negativity, setting the loop for a worse experience next time.
But deeper than that, and what I’ve come to believe as the underlying foundation for any and all of our issues; is that everything you think of, positive or negative, is an immediate reflection of something you need to fix or fulfill.
Say, for example, my negative emotion is Doubt, and the resulting thought is something like “Not Worthy of Love, Success, Happiness, or whatever.” Well that doubt is a direct reflection of what I need to fix within myself (and fulfill on a grander scheme). Doubting my worth, my abilities, doubting my value or my integrity.
Once you understand this, you’ll come to realize that your negative thoughts, on any scale, are just trying to let you know there’s something on the inside that needs to be resolve.
No shit, right? But, you’d be surprised to know how many people don’t acknowledge this. So I need to make it clear.
Let’s take one more example, a common emotion such as fear. Imagine being in a severe state of fear; the underlying reason for your fear probably lies in your fear of being powerless, out of control, scared of something happening or recurring. Fearful of the possibilities of life not turning out the way you would like them to.
So, where did that come from? What, on the inside, does this say about what I think I’m missing, or what I need to fix? Was it a specific event that made you scared and feeling powerless? Did someone make you feel this way before, and ever since, you've just been adding to the loop of fearfulness?
Find out why you’re feeling the way you are, and what that underlying lack is that you need to fulfill for yourself.
STEP FIVE: SOLVING THE PROBLEM.
In this final stage, we're digging deep inside ourselves to find the answer to the question of step four.
“How” “How can I overcome this negativity?” “How can I find the missing piece for my happiness?”
I think this is my favourite question to answer. Why? Because the answer is right in plain sight.
ONCE YOU’VE IDENTIFIED YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS, AND YOU HAVE A VISUAL RECORD OF THEM, THE ANSWER TO OVERCOMING YOUR NEGATIVITY IS LITERALLY FOUND ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF YOUR PROBLEM.
Taking it back to the example of Doubt and feeling unworthy, the answer on how I can overcome that lies directly on the other side of Doubt and Unworthiness.
I know this raises some confusion, and quite frankly some annoyance, but it is that simple.
“How do I cure my feelings of Unworthiness and my doubts?” Well, what’s the opposite of that of unworthiness and doubts? Being confident, and knowing that we are worthy.
So right before I go into the full explanation, because I know that what I just gave you isn’t a complete answer; let’s take one more example.
Say I have this overwhelming feeling of Sadness and Fear inside me. I’m terrified that my current relationship isn’t going to work out the way I want it to, and that I’m so upset that we might break up one day.
Well, “How do I cure my feelings of Fear and Sadness?”
I look to the opposite side of my current emotions.
The cure for my fear lies in the courage, the faith, the calm, and the trust that I can exercise; to have the courage to love without knowing what the future holds, the faith to know that my best is enough, the calm to act on my highest relationship (and not my doubts), and the trust that my partner will be there for me when I need them.
I can cure my sadness of knowing that there are no guarantees in life, and that even life itself comes to an end for us, that I may not have this life or this love forever - but just to relish in the happiness and good fortune, blessings, and smiles that I have of being with the person I love, right now.
So there is always a cure for the negativity we endure in our day-to-day life. We just have to be brave and willing enough to stop and ask ourselves why we’re feeling the way we do, and how we can overcome it.
And that being said, we’ve come to the final stage – the “Action.”
STEP SIX: ACTION
“What can I do to get back on my feet? And “What can I do to overcome this problem more permanently?”
This is a task, now, that you have to accomplish entirely on your own. It’s going to demand of you, to make up a list of “How-to” actions, for the next times you feel negative.
Negativity is a part of life. We wouldn’t exist without the balance of Positivity and Negativity. But, living an unbalanced state of negativity is a choice. And contrary to what many of us believe, yes, it is a choice. You have the choice in life to feel and act how you do.
So if you don’t wanna go your whole life feeling out-of-control and negative, it’s up to you to determine your plan of action for when these emotions do arise.
The previous five Steps are a brief for finding out What, Why and How you’re feeling what you are – and What, why and How you can overcome them more effectively.
But I do 100% suggest you add this sixth step to your list of actions when negativity lurks in your body, because there truly are other tailored things you can do for yourself to get out and stay out of your rut.
I will give you a few suggestions – that have worked for me countless times – but you should always find something that personally works for you, and that makes YOU happy whenever you apply it.
So… Things you can do to ACT on your highest positivity, is to:
FIRST, GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR HIGHER SELF.
A lot of people refer to this as intuition, that little nice voice in your head, the voice of positivity, love and reason, some even call it the voice of wisdom. I just like to call it my Higher Self. You’ll find that there are different parts of your mind that serve for different things. Usually, when you feel negative, that’s your lower/Egoistic self speaking – but you’ll find, somewhere in the background, there’s a part of you trying to tell you not to worry, or to do something happier. Whatever it tells you, it knows what you truly want. Get used to finding that little voice within yourself, and listen to it.
SECOND, IS TO ENGAGE IN ANY ACTIVITY THAT NATURALLY MAKES YOU HAPPY.
Physical Activity (like working out, sports, running, building something, rearranging a room, going out for a walk), Creativity (Art, Writing, Singing, Dance, Drawing, beats), Learning (I, myself, am a research freak – Reading, Watching informative videos, or listening to a podcast, working *if that’s what you like)… Whatever suits your fancy, as long as it’s not based under a numbing sense of relief, and actually allows you to think for yourself, be with your self, and find a healthy approach to overcoming negativity.
SET A REGIMEN FOR YOURSELF THAT PROMOTES GOOD HEALTH, AND KEEPS YOU BUSY.
I know it’s kind of obvious, but the reason most of us get upset in the day or night, is because we’re bored and have nothing better to do. So, create a routine and goals for yourself that support a Healthy and Well-lived Lifestyle – that will keep you Happy and Busy.
DO SOMETHING THAT ADDS VALUE TO THE LIVES AROUND YOU
Most call it volunteer work, but it doesn’t have to be a high-school requirement or hours counted on probation, for it to count for something. Do something that will help the community or the world around you, and do it for absolutely nothing in return. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the street, or helping a friend or family member in need. It can be doing work or making something that will benefit the lives of others, or even just smiling at a stranger and telling them how nice they look. But, ultimately the point is just to do things regularly that will naturally boost your internal reward system, without hacking it or tricking it.
Another action you can take when listing your list of How’s to overcome negativity is to:
HELP SOMEONE ELSE OVERCOME THEIR NEGATIVITY.
Giving a friend or family member a piece of advice that helped you stay positive in times of hardship is one of the most effective ways of overcoming it for yourself. It reminds you to stay consistent with your efforts, and knowing that you’ve helped others will always come back to serve you as a reminder of what you, too, should do to stay positive. Hence, why I’m making this post right now ;)
Other types of actions and activities are entirely determined by what makes you happy. But rather than giving into your less-than-desired state of mind, occupy yourself with whatever makes your day worth living.
Now, ultimately, I understand that negativity is a part of life. It serves to help us grow, value the good days, find a purpose, etc. But it doesn’t have to be part of your daily routine.
The only real way of overcoming your problems is not by simply dealing or coping with them, certainly not by masking or numbing them --- but solving them altogether. Don’t forget that.
So, if this post was of good value, or helped you in any way resolve an internal issue – please let me know in the comments below!
Sharing all my love and light!