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How To Avoid Being Crushed By The World’s Negativity

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How To Avoid Being Crushed By The World’s Negativity

In full transparency, I don’t know where today’s post is going to go. I am going to share what’s on my mind and clean it up a bit before publishing, but I’m not going to second-guess my message and the story I tell. I am betting that many of you will be able to relate.

It was a rainy Wednesday, and I spent the entire day sitting at my desk in my home office while working. Normally, I try to mix things up and do some work in other locations, but the rain complicated things, so I decided to stay home.

Since I was at home all day, I had a twenty-four-hour news network on in the background. As a result, I feasted on a constant stream of news stories without a break. I ended the day frustrated for several reasons.

  • We have an upcoming election that could mean the end of our democratic system as we know it.
  •  An obvious criminal continues to work the legal system to avoid justice.
  •  There’s a war in Ukraine, and they are struggling with dwindling supplies to fight back a dictator set on world domination.
  • There’s a war in Gaza that is unapologetically claiming the lives of countless innocent civilians.
  • The Supreme Court (and others) seems to be taking away a little bit more of our rights and freedoms with every decision or new law.
  • Disinformation campaigns and AI mean we can’t even believe what we see.
  • Crime, sadness, division, inequity and many other issues are plaguing the world.

Here I am, in Columbus, Ohio, at the mercy of all these things with control of none.

If these macro-level, world issues aren’t enough, we each have our own struggles. From health to relationships to money to career, negative things can pop up in our lives every day. Some of those things are in our direct control. There are other items we can influence. But there are many stressors entirely out of our control.

I started thinking about the person I met last week who told me she, like millions of other people, struggles with anxiety. She explained that she tends to catastrophize things in her life.

Of course she catastrophizes; we are surrounded by catastrophes on the world stage and in our own lives! Why wouldn’t she catastrophize?!

Debbie Downer Much?!

I know that all sounds very fatalistic and like I am being Debbie Downer. I also know that while everything I said is true, it isn’t the complete story. I’m confident we can each find as many positive stories in the world and our lives as negative ones if we just look for them. We don’t have to only see the bad news.

Here’s where life gets difficult: there are plenty of positive stories in the world; you just have to look for them. Unfortunately, the shitty stories get delivered to you with zero effort and stick in your head. You have to work to be happy, but misery can be automatic if you allow it.

After giving it some thought, I have a few thoughts about how to lose the weight of all the negativity around us. Choosing to achieve a little more positive emotional fitness will require what all fitness journeys require: diet and exercise.

You may be asking, “What the hell do diet and exercise have to do with negative feelings?!” Please allow me to explain.

The Positivity Diet

In a fitness journey, your “diet” is what you choose to consume, and your “exercise” is the actions you choose to perform. This metaphor also applies to your journey back to positive fitness. You still choose what to consume and what actions you perform. If you choose wisely, you will see the weight of negativity start burning away.

Going on a positivity diet requires consuming a little less unhealthy content and more nutritious content.

  • Stop binging on news. I don’t recommend cutting all news out of your life; that results in losing touch with current events. On the other hand, binge-watching negativity won’t help you get to where you want to be. It’s time for the “B” word… boundaries! Give yourself a set amount of time each day to consume news and choose a reliable source. Hint: many news sources make money from your anxiety and outrage.
  • Get more servings of positivity. Instead of binging news, make a deliberate effort to consume more positive content. Whether you choose happy books, cat videos, or rewatch an episode of The West Wing for some optimism, giving your brain a dose of happiness will be more nourishing to your positive mindset than the news ever was.
  • Splurge on healthy doses of friends. Spending less time consuming packaged content and more time with the “clean eating” of real-life interactions is a must. Spending more time with friends and other people you love makes it much harder to get caught up in the world’s catastrophes. Just beware, some friends bring a big dose of negativity with them, so I give you permission to be a gigantic “B” if you need to – a boundary-setter.

The consumption side is just half of the formula for losing that negativity weight. To achieve the best results, you also need to get moving and start burning some of the negativity that is still present in your diet and stored in your brain. It’s time for a positivity workout!

  • Training your muscles. An excellent start to slaying those pounds of negativity is to train your brain to look for the positives instead. An ideal tool to accomplish this is a gratitude journal. Before bed each night (or first thing in the morning), spend 15 minutes writing in a physical or online journal. Write at least three unique things (e.g., no repeating) in your life for which you are grateful. Doing this will begin training your brain (a muscle) to be on the lookout for positive sources of gratitude – the more you look for them, the more you will find.
  • Move your body. When you spend time getting physical (walking, running, yoga, swimming, sex, dancing), you get a free dose of negativity antidote. Exercise releases endorphins, your brain’s happy chemical. It is hard to focus on negativity with that happy chemical coursing through your veins.
  • Rest days. When you lift weights, your muscles actually grow during your rest days. Positivity works in a very similar way. Spending some time focused on mindfulness or meditation each day allows you to quiet your brain. Meditation helps you silence your mental background track (particularly rehashing the things you have no control over), giving your positivity muscles space to grow.

I know the world can seem like a shit show. We are often surrounded by negativity and mess, but that’s just part of the story. You get to choose whether you like the negativity around you turns you into a negative person. If you want to lose the weight of that negativity, you can do so with a little diet and exercise.

Here’s a little good news, we don’t have to manage through the negativity by ourselves. As a coach, I can help you pivot your focus to moving forward and help you see the positivity all around you. I will also be your voice of positivity and support… I will be your cheerleader, not your drill sergeant. I am a certified Master Life Coach, and I would be happy to help you accentuate your positives. Let’s go!

I believe in you; let me help YOU believe in you!

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Meet Coach Tony

My name is Coach Tony, and I am a coach, author and project manager on a mission. I am working to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

I almost allowed one of my biggest life goals to die without ever being attempted for forty years. My goal almost died, not of failure but of loneliness. But, I took a risk and leveraged a simple, logical process that helped me wildly exceed my goal. 

I transformed my life, and you can do the same with the help of Operation Melt. 

Operation Melt provides engaging, practical content and hands-on coaching to inspire, motivate and equip project managers and other left-brained high-achievers to pursue and accomplish their biggest goals. 

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Published inAsk Coach Tony

Disclaimer: The Operation Melt website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.

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