We all need more positivity in our lives, and that doesn’t happen just by hoping it will happen. Removing negativity from your life takes effort and tough decisions.
Like anyone else, I’ve experienced negativity in my life. Yes, there’s been a bunch of positivity as well, and I’m not disregarding that, but the negativity seemed to be at an all time high a few years ago and it was coming from all angles.
While I don’t think you can remove all negativity from your life, I’ve been very proactive in removing as much of it as I can and want to help you do the same.
Removing negativity from social networks
There’s no secret to how much time we all spend on social media sites. Scrolling through people’s lives and updates is bound to bring negativity into your life.
Kick negative people from your Twitter feed
It can feel weird to unfollow a bunch of friends and connections. Twitter Lists are a great way to group people into categories and you can create your own new List to check daily, instead of the main Twitter feed. Just remember, people can see what Lists you add them to (unless you make the List private).
Use Twitter’s Mute button to hide Negative Nancys
You’ve seen that little Mute button, right?
- Click a person’s Twitter name to view their profile
- Click the gear icon in the top right of their profile
- Click “Mute @name”
Now you won’t see that person’s tweets in your feed or replies any longer. It’s a great way to quietly unfollow someone without actually unfollowing.
On Facebook, click that “Hide From News Feed” or “Unfollow”
On Facebook you shouldn’t bat an eye when it comes to using the “Hide From News Feed” or “Unfollow” options when people post negative stuff. We all complain now and again, but if every status someone posts is bashing the current President, something about religion, how much their job sucks, or a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t bring anyone value, they need to be removed from your FB News Feed.
Be picky with who you let in your online social circles
For the longest time I allowed anyone in my social networks. Now, I’m picky. You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize Winner to earn my follow, but I look at this like a real friendship (just on the internet instead of in person). You should do the same thing, because people’s commentary and updates can have a huge affect on you.
Take control of how you use social networks, don’t let them and the people on them control you.
Not doing things I don’t want to do
This one may sound simple, but we’ve all been there. A friend is having a party, or so-and-so is going to this event, etc. When I don’t want to do something, but force myself to go, rarely does it end up being fun or bring me any value. That may sound selfish, but you know what, this is my one life to live and I’m tired of doing things to make everyone else happy.
I ruffled a few feathers with my Friends article. But that’s okay. Most of the people that outwardly were offended are not people I want to surround myself with. That was the point. If anything, that article unearthed a couple people for me that I was ignoring the negativity of because I thought I had to. You don’t have to. You really don’t. Life will go on.
Saying “No” to more projects and opportunities
Man, money sucks sometimes. Especially when people offer it to you to do things that aren’t a lot of work. But what I’ve found over the years is that getting paid to do things you really don’t want to do eats away at you. I’ve done numerous consulting gigs, video projects, random meetings/calls, and promotions that paid well but that I didn’t enjoy. This may not seem like “negativity” in the sense of the previous two examples, but it really is.
Doing work I didn’t want to be doing was a negative influence on my life goal to be doing work I love.
I want to be clear though, I still explore a lot of opportunities. I still answer every opportunity email. I still greatly appreciate that people want to work with me. Everyone should be pickier in life and truly enjoy what they are doing.
Not checking email first thing in the morning
We all have our phones next to our beds, and most likely we grab for them before fully opening our eyes in the morning. As hard as we try, it seems like negativity will always come through our email inboxes. Someone complaining about a current project. A completely unexpected bill. A random email from out of no where. Whatever it is, it shouldn’t be the first thing you read when you wake up. That sets the tone for your day, and can completely ruin your mood.
Instead, I like to look at my Instagram feed in the morning. That feed is a curated list of people that share photos of things I 99% of the time like. I don’t open any other apps on my phone and wait to check my email until I’ve sat down at my desk and am fully prepared to take on the day. I recently wrote about my morning rituals.
Wouldn’t you rather start your day after looking at beautiful photos of puppies and landscapes, instead of reading emails that create a ripple effect of negativity for the rest of your day?
Take care of bills at ONE time during the week
Let’s be honest, bills are little satanic pieces of paper that pile up on our desks. Instead of letting them chip away at me all week long, I make an effort to pile them up, and only look at them at one time or one day of the week (or month).
Mark time on your calendar one day a week, and take care of the negativity of bills all at once.
Doing more stuff that makes you feel positive
Another thing that sounds so simple, but is something we don’t do enough for ourselves.
One of my goals with my girlfriend Caroline is what we call “Free Your Mind Fridays.” Since we work from home, we find ourselves sitting at our computers all day long. We’ve decided that Fridays are going to be spent (as much as possible) offline and working on projects around the house, building physical things (art/furniture/etc), or getting out and exploring different things and places. By doing this, we’ve turned Fridays from a day that could have negativity, into a day we purposefully only have positivity.
I’m fully aware that you may not have the ability to step away on Fridays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enforce something like this on your weeknights, or weekends. Just be more diligent in planning to do stuff you really want to be doing that brings you joy.
We all need more positivity in our lives, and that doesn’t happen just by hoping it will happen. It happens by putting in effort and making tough decisions.
If something is eating away at you and making you feel sick to your stomach, it’s probably something you need to remove from your life immediately. As I’m typing this I’m thinking about something that I’ve been putting off for months and I need to just make a decision on and move on with. Things that linger in our minds will only fester and get worse. They aren’t going to take care of themselves and suddenly turn positive.
I hope you’ll work to remove some of the negativity from your life, it’s been really beneficial for me. It’s not an overnight change, but chipping away day-by-day really starts to add up.