With all the responsibilities of my mommy career, I’ve learned that, in order to remain level headed and keep my sanity, I must do my best to avoid allowing negativity to creep into my life. Since doing so, my stress and anxiety levels have come down and I’ve been better able to focus on what’s really important: taking care of my family.
Here are a few tips for taking out the negative trash from your life so that you can better allow the positive stuff to flow through:
Stop watching the evening news. This shouldn’t come as a shock, but, from my estimates, about 99% of what’s talked about on the evening news (local or national) seems to be related to something negative, such as war, crime, violence, or disaster. I honestly cannot watch the local news without feeling my blood pressure rise! Hence, I’ve stopped watching it all together. However, you can probably watch the local news in certain parts of the country where your local station might not focus so much on the negative. There were two small cities that I used to live in where the local news stations was actually pretty awesome (probably because those cities had low crime rates or a culture of not spreading bad news).
Unfollow Facebook friends who always post or share negative stuff. You don’t have to unfriend someone from Facebook just because they post negative stuff on their wall (although you might want to reevaluate the need to keep them as a Facebook friend). If you don’t see want to see their stuff in your newsfeed, go to their profile and click Unfollow (you’ll probably need to do this on a computer to see this option). Once you unfollow someone, anything they post or share will no longer show up in your newsfeed. I know that some people might feel uncomfortable doing this because they think that the Friend will find out, but they won’t (unless you always comment or Like their status’ and you stop doing so as a result of not seeing their stuff). You can always go to their profile when you want to catch up on what’s going on with them so you can like and comment on any positive news they share.
Stop others from telling you bad news. Literally: stop people when they start telling you something bad! Say something like, “I don’t want to hear this,” or “don’t tell me that kind of stuff.” If they continue to tell you more, stop them by reiterating your request: “I’m serious. I don’t want to talk about this. Let’s talk about something else, please.” Trust me, this works. I’ve done it. Bad news raises my blood pressure and anything that is told to me that is unjust bothers me all the more.
I often stop my children from telling me bad news, too. When they want to talk to me about something that happened in school, I’ll stop them if the story sounds like a negative one. For example, my daughter tried to tell me once about one of her friends throwing up in class, and I stopped her and explained, “I don’t need to know that your friend threw up in school today. Can you think of something happy that happened today instead, please?” Or if my children recall a negative event by telling me, “Remember the time when…”, I stop them and tell them we shouldn’t talk about the bad stuff that happened to us and remind them that instead they should try and remember a fun memory from the past. (I do this because I don’t want them to retell bad stories over and over again and thus create more negative events in the future through the law of attraction.)
Stop associating with people who pull you down. Have you seen the Disney movie “Inside Out” with your kids yet? Remember Sadness? Do you have friends that are like Sadness, always pointing out the negatives that could go wrong when you try and tell them something you’re excited about? If so, it’s probably best that you limit interactions with those people. It’s kinda hard to keep a chipper and positive attitude when hanging out with someone like that who drains your energy and pulls you down.
Pay attention to the types of radio or television programs you listen to. Please stop listening to gossip morning shows on your way to work! Find a station that plays music during your morning commute instead. Or, better yet, play a CD or playlist from your iPod. Also, think about what types of television shows you regularly watch. Are they dramatic or funny? Funny is more positive than dramatic, so as tempting and addictive as it is to watch a marathon of Law and Order: SVU, try not to. Okay?
Change your magazine subscriptions. Stay away from The National Enquirer type or Pop culture magazines that want to talk about how fat someone is or gossip about who so-and-so is dating now. Stick to more positive subscriptions like HGTV Magazine, O Magazine, Parents, and Money Magazine. You’ll find more useful and practice articles to read in those types of magazines and can use the tips you learn to better your mommy career.
Don’t Google medical symptoms. Nothing will make you more paranoid than Googling a condition or symptom you (or your kids!) have. If you are wondering about something, it’s best to call your doctor (or your child’s pediatrician). Plus, if you are ever given a diagnosis about something, don’t Google that either, unless you want to make yourself feel worse about what’s going on. Seek out support groups instead. Your doctor is the best resource for referring you to somewhere.
Pay attention to how you speak to others (and yourself). You can do all the above, but if the words you speak carry a negative tone, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Start viewing things from a glass half full perspective and pause before you speak to be sure that what you’ll say reflects the type of person you want to be. Do you want to be seen as someone who’s condescending? Do you want your kids to think you’re a dismissive parent? Practice using more loving words and tones when you speak to others. A positive result of this will be earning the respect of those you engage with. What’s that saying about do unto others:
“And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner” (Luke 6:31)
Reduce the urge to yell and scream at the kids (or your spouse). This probably could go under the last tip about paying attention to the way to speak, but screaming doesn’t necessarily involve words! If you find yourself getting frustrated about something and want to yell, try biting your tongue (not literally, of course, but if you must) and count to 5 seconds to give yourself time to cool off. Then, instead of shouting obscenities, say, “I’m angry right now and I need a few minutes to calm down.” Once you’re calm, continue the conversation. (Take note: avoid blaming your kids or spouse for how you are feeling. Your feelings are your own and nobody can make you feel a certain way. Keep this in mind.)
Remember that you’re never going to fully be able to cut out all the negative crap that is thrown at you on a daily basis, but by using the tips above, you’ll be able to eliminate the stuff that you have some control over. My life has never been filled with much negativity, but if it were filled with all of the above, I’d have an anxiety attack for sure. Not everyone is effected by negativity in the same way and some people will insist that certain negative habits don’t stress them out. I highly encourage you to try to eliminate as much negativity from your life as you can, whether you think it’s harming your spirit or not. You might be surprised by how different you feel afterwards.
Do you have any other tips for taking out the negative trash in your life? Or have you tried to reduce the negative you surround yourself with and have benefited greatly as a result? Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.