How long can you go with saying something negative? How long can you resist having a negative thought? Negativity, whether through words or thoughts, have a poison-like effect on our success. It negatively influences the way others see us and, more importantly, the way we see ourselves. Chronic negative thinking can set us up for failure and in its worst form, lead to feelings of hopelessness. Negative words can be contagious and can affect the moral of groups, lead to negativity in the workplace and can potentially kill relationships. So how can one escape this silent killer?

Life is full of ups and downs — some of which we have control over and some that we don’t. It’s only normal for us to have good days and not so good days. While a negative thought or comment here and there won’t kill us, the more positive we are about things, the more likely we’ll attract more good things into our lives.

How negativity harms us:

Telling someone to not think negative thoughts is like telling them to not rub their itchy eyes. It’s easy to say but much more difficult to do. That’s why you fully need to understand the way negativity affects us in order to significantly reduce the amount of negativity in your life.

Negativity harms our relationships because people who are successful and positive simply don’t enjoy being in the presence of people who are constantly negative. Think about it: how attractive is someone who does nothing but whine and complain? I can guarantee you that your coworkers who constantly complain about their jobs are less likely to get promotions and good raises and business owners that you that constantly complain about the economy are less likely to do well. Their peer groups most like consist of other negative thinkers and therefore they all waste time and energy commiserating that could otherwise be put to more positive uses.

When we allow feelings of negativity to consume us, we lower our standards, put in less of an effort and set ourselves up for failure. If you expect things to go wrong, you subconsciously work to achieve that result in order to avoid disappointment.

So here’s a quick summary of some of the ways negativity harms us:

  • It harms the way we see ourselves and how others see us.
  • It attracts negative people into our lives that encourage more negativity and turns off positive and successful people.
  • It causes us to lower our standards and subconsciously sets us up for failure.

How to turn things around:

Quitting being negative is like quitting any other bad habit — the more severe the bad habit, the more work it takes to move beyond it. Just like it’s easier for someone who smokes two cigarettes per day to quit smoking than it is for someone who smokes two packs per day, someone who has an occasional negative thought will have an easier time than someone who is a chronic complainer. But don’t fret if you’re in the latter category, as long as your commitment is strong, you’ll be able to transform your life.

Here are some tips to help you get rid of the negativity in your life:

  • Set a realistic goal for reducing your negativity. Saying that you’ll never have a negative thought again is unrealistic and will only set yourself up for failure. In most cases, it won’t happen overnight so expect the entire process to take about a month.
  • Surround yourself with people who are positive. You don’t have to dump your friends that are negative, but try to excuse yourself when conversation topics turn negative and don’t participate in “pity parties.”
  • Be aware of when you allow negativity to affect you and stop it. Turn it into a positive thing by thinking to yourself “I caught myself saying something negative so I won’t do it again next time.”
  • Reward yourself when you avoid being negative.

Again, keep in mind that your goal here is to reduce the amount of negativity in your life and not completely eliminate it (if you can do the latter, more power to you). Ironically, popular media portrays positive people in a negative way — naïve, weird, out of touch, annoying, uncool and obnoxious. This is because when people are happy and fulfilled they have no need to escape reality by overeating, drinking alcohol, taking drugs (both narcotics and prescription) and immerse themselves in television, movies and celebrity gossip to forget about their horrible lives. It’s absolutely absurd to think this way as in reality positive people are the complete opposite — popular, successful and happy. Here’s a bonus tip that will help you get rid of negativity: turn off the television and spend some quality time with the people you love.

Personal Power: How to Avoid Negative Thinking

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