Do you ever have those times when you feel like talking back to the TV when the news is on and say something like: "Do we really have to hear this negative stuff again?" Of course you can change the channel if you don't want to listen to who shot who, what was the worst accident of the day, or how close we are to experiencing the "fiscal cliff." Even though that's a political term referring to tax increases, it sounds like we're all at the edge of a cliff and about to fall off.
The saying "no news is good news" doesn't really apply to our lives now because, these days, with 24-hour news coming from every conceivable electronic device, there is no such thing as "no news." Truth is, it never stops coming, and most of the time it isn't so good.
So how can we stay connected to what's happening in the world without feeling like it's going to hell in a hand basket? And even if it is, are we supposed to feel bad because things aren't always so good? Somewhere between wanting to bury our head in the sand and feeling deeply concerned, if not genuinely worried, about the state of the world, I believe we can maintain a balanced state of mind that isn't at the affect of all of the negativity we are constantly being bombarded with on a daily basis.
Here are some ways to limit negativity from your life without having to resort to being an ostrich:
1. Take in only what you want to see and absorb. If the negative starts to outweigh the positive, it's time to change the channel or switch the station. You may not be in control of what's going on in the world, but you're in control of the TV converter.
2. Don't just read the front page of the newspaper. Headline news tends to be mostly political, unless there's a natural disaster happening somewhere or someone important has died. There are other sections of the paper that feature articles that can actually make you smile and feel hopeful about people and the world. Check out this heartwarming article on HuffPost Good News.
3. Ask yourself if you want to spend time with people who are pessimistic. Some people are doomsdayers and subscribe to the Mayan belief that the world is coming to an end. It's almost the end of 2012, and we're still here. Be clear what your position is on how you see things turning out: positive or negative.
4. Make sure you really want to watch something violent before you or someone else picks a show or movie that is. Sometimes we're not prepared for the disturbing images we see on TV or in a movie, and it can feel like an assault on the senses. Decide ahead of time what kind of images you want to take into your psyche. Violent ones can be jarring and hard to shake off. There are many uplifting movies and shows to see instead.
5. Do something daily that supports a positive mindset. Plant a vegetable garden, donate to charity, give blood, volunteer at a hospital or a home for the aging, or even just let someone go ahead of you in traffic or the checkout line that only has two items. Think of ways to keep your thoughts proactive, productive, and not just about yourself.
6. Be solution-oriented rather than criticize how things are. Decide if you're a "candle lighter or complainer of the darkness."
7. Don't let someone who isn't nice or in a bad mood bring you down with their negativity. Try and stay positive and loving toward them even if they're not acting very lovable. When your energy is elevated, it can't help but bring someone else's higher.
8. Smile at as many people as you can and even if they don't smile back. Keep on smiling. A smile can awaken someone's sad heart and make them feel hopeful about life again.
9. Compliment others. Tell them something nice about what you think of them. Everyone wants to feel valued and important. When you mirror the best in another person, they feel seen by you for who they really are, and that feels good.
10. Say I love you as often as you can. Offering your love to others is the greatest gift you can give them. Love will always have power over negativity and create more light and deeper meaning in your life and others.
11. Watch some good comedy. Any Woody Allen film will definitely put you in a better mood. There are so many great comedies to watch, some of them classics, like Charlie Chaplin. Laughing always balances the seriousness of life.
12. Adopt a pet. Caring for an animal you saved from being euthanized is one of the most gratifying things you can do. The love you will feel for this animal will melt away any kind of negativity in your life.
13. Watch smart news, not bad news. The best type of news to listen to is unbiased and the most informative. Avoid the ones that are blatantly biased and have a negative impact on you. And definitely avoid the news channels that spend most of their time talking about one horrible thing after the next. They're like the blues news. Not what you want to be listening to before you go to bed. Put on some Zen music and visualize yourself in paradise, even though the newscasters will make it sound like you're not.
By making a conscious decision to live your life with less negativity in it, you become the arbiter of what you let in and what you don't. We always have a choice as to how we want to live our life and what kind of quality we want it to have. You can limit the amount of negativity in your life by taking control over it.
Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Michael Altshuler said it best: "The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."
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