Misery loves company
Posted on 13th July 2016 at 07:45
What with the traditional english summer we’ve been enjoying (!) and all the political shenanigans, there’s plenty to be miserable about at the moment. And we haven’t even mentioned football, tennis or the upcoming Olympics. Let alone the delights of a fortnight in the sun with your “nearest and dearest” to look forward to (!).
While DNA and our genes are often blamed for this negative focus – and our inbuilt survival mechanism always being on the lookout for threats – there’s another much simpler answer.
Negativity has become the norm. The default setting for many people. And, as everyone else is doing it, isn’t it natural for us to do it too? In other words it’s all down to our old friend peer pressure.
Our response to this rather faulty logic is always the same. To ask whether it’s actually helping you? Of benefit to you? Making you happy?
If the answer to any – or all (!) – of these questions is “no” then why on earth are you doing it???
Interestingly, every time we have this conversation with clients, the response is always the same. Silence. Followed by a rather pregnant pause as – often for the first time – they stop to think about what they’ve been doing without ever being aware of it.
Then it’s quickly followed by something along the lines of them not being able to help it.
And, on one hand, they’re completely right. They couldn’t help it AS THEY WEREN’T AWARE THEY WERE DOING IT. It was a SUBSCONSIOUS RESPONSE – a bad habit – learnt years ago and one which they’ve never CONSCIOUSLY looked at.
But, now they’re aware of it, there’s a CONSCIOUS decision to be made.
To continue with this old habit. One that doesn’t help them or make them happy.
Or to learn a new one.
It really is that simple.
So how do you learn any habit?
BY REPETITION. BY CHOOSING to act in a different way and repeating it until it becomes automatic. Each time you do so it’ll become a little easier, until you find yourself doing it without having to think about it.
If this sounds like a lot of work, it isn’t. It’s just about noticing how you’re feeling. What you’re doing. And saying. Making small adjustments as you go through your day.
And there are a few things you can do to make the whole process much easier.
BANISH MAINSTREAM MEDIA FROM YOUR LIFE. By this we mean television, radio, newspapers and magazines. If you think this sounds a bit drastic, take a few minutes to CONSCIOUSLY look at the listings or flick through a magazine or newspaper.
What you’ll quickly notice is the lack of genuinely “feel good” content. How the majority of it comes under the “doom, gloom and despondency” heading. And don’t be fooled by one very cunning trick used by all the media. This is giving a sweet sugary coating to negative items so that they appear positive but, in reality, are anything but. And those playing on the emotions too, sending the reader – or viewer – on an emotional equivalent of the big dipper.
By CHOOSING to remove them from your life you’ll instantly remove a huge amount of negativity that you weren’t ever aware of. Better still, you’ll free up a surprising amount of time to do things that genuinely make you happy and feel good.
But won’t this mean that you don’t know what’s going on? No, of course not, you’ll simply be CHOOSING what to let into your life.
While it may sound a little harsh, the majority of media content concerns things over which you have no control. There is NOTHING you can do to make any difference to how they play out. But this doesn’t mean that you won’t devote a huge amount of time and energy to them. Whether it’s thinking – or worrying – about them or endlessly discussing them with those around you. How bad they are. How you feel for those concerned. How you wish things were different.
And does this have any positive effect on them at all? No. Or you for that matter. Certainly not.
They’re simply a distraction, a huge waste of your time and energy. So isn’t it about time to banish them from your life for good?
BE SELECTIVE ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU ALLOW INTO YOUR LIFE AND SPEND TIME WITH. Take a long hard look at those you spend time with whether at home, work or socially. Do they come under the “feel good” heading or are they more “doom, gloom and despondency”?
And if you’re not sure just ask yourself how you feel about them. Does your heart sink on hearing their name? Do you find yourself regularly ranting about them? Do they take advantage of you?
If you answered “yes” to any – or all – of these questions, you know what to do.
Another way to quickly work out what group a person falls into is to play the “handful of change” game. Imagine you have a handful of change, everything from 1p pieces to £2 coins. And simply decide which coin best sums that person up.
The real heart sinkers, energy vampires or “doom and gloom” merchants get the coppers; the 1p’s or 2p’s. The real stars, who help you feel good and are genuine friends, get the £1’s and £2’s.
Then simply CHOOSE to spend the majority of your time with the higher value people, while keeping the small change at arm’s length. It really is that simple.
We know it can be harder at work, but start to notice where the “doom and gloom” merchants congregate. The coffee or water machine. The sandwich bar at lunch time. The Friday night drink on the way home. And make a CONSCIOUS effort to avoid these ambush sites.
And you can apply the same methods to family as well. Keep visits to those family members short – and sweet (!) – and, like us, encourage them to play the “glass half full” game.
Every time they bring up some “doom and gloom” look for the positive – and there is ALWAYS one there IF you look for it – and encourage them to focus on that instead. To start with you may find that this doesn’t go down well (!) but, gradually, you’ll find they start to look for the positives themselves.
And finally, SPEND REGULAR TIME ON YOUR OWN TO RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES. It may sound simple but it makes a huge difference. Whether it’s meditating, pottering around pleasing yourself, going for a walk or doing an absorbing hobby you enjoy, a little time on your own does you the world of good.
Life is a wonderful thing, here to be enjoyed. So why not focus your precious time and energy on all the good things – and good people – who make your life worth living?
As always the choice is yours.
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