I recently asked my readers for ideas for my blog and a college friend gave me a good suggestion. He usually listens to the radio on the way into work which he has always enjoyed. Lately, however, he finds that the news is all so negative that it puts him in a bad mood which is making him “dispirited”. He recognized the fact that he needs to be aware of what is going on his own community, the country, and the world but needs to figure out a way to overcome the negativity so it does not affect him all the time.
I decided to ask the “experts” what to do. Melanie, Sophia, and Rachel are three wise 7th graders and when asked how they deal with negativity or how to get out of a bad mood, their advice was the following –
– Do something soothing – read, paint, listen to music
– Go to the bathroom (this comment was in reference to school; in other words, change your venue)
– Talk to a friend or family member
I was encouraged by how they really got into our discussion and they were thrilled that their ideas would be posted in my blog. I think I learned that it is the little things in life like driving to camp and talking that mean more than the “big” things we tend to focus on.
I am currently reading a fascinating book given to me by a fellow coach called Happy for No Reason. Marci Shimoff is also the author of Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. Although I am only on page 100, I have learned that it is up to me to determine how news and events affect me. I can’t “blame” anyone else for my feelings. By taking “response-ability” as Marci calls it, I have to respond to these points in my life in such a way that it will still support my happiness. Although it is difficult, she reminds her readers that everything happens for a reason and when we have trouble seeing that, keep in mind that our thinking and resources are limited so we may not be able to see “the bigger picture” right now.
Marci also suggests having a jar that you put $2 in every time you have an unhappy thought. How many times have you given a presentation or done something else and when it was over you focused on the one little negative thing and not the 99% that you did well? We have all beaten ourselves up even when the audience, peers, family, and/or friends have felt we did a great job. The money could be donated to a worthy cause. Hopefully it takes you a long time to fill it up!
So going back to my friend, how do you not become insensitive to the day’s events but be able to manage it effectively? He feels that in today’s world, that’s a valuable skill. For everyone we interact with, they deserve to experience us at our finest; not in a negative mindset. He gives good advice to his employees – he explains that there is a reason there are trash cans at the entrances to buildings; they are there so we can discard negativity on our way in to work, and we can discard work-related negativity on our way out as we head home. By visualizing throwing away bad thoughts, our head and heart should be clearer and lighter.
How do you deal with negativity? In talking with my clients, I see more of this negativity which can lead to burnout and other ailments; companies need to recognize this and devise ways to help their employees. I would like to do future articles on this topic so please respond.
For now, try to be happy and if you can’t, start dancing!