How To Fight Negativity: A Battle Against The Dark Side

July 27, 2015
Staying optimistic can be difficult. Learning how to fight negativity is a key tool for a happier, fulfilling life. Check our simple tips to stay positive!

We bet you know someone who seems to always be in a bad mood and has a knack for passing it on to the people around them.  They have a low tolerance for frustration and are accustomed to responding negatively when things don’t go as they expected. On other occasions, our own self-talk seems to take us down. How can we fight negativity from the inside and the outside? Here are some actionable tips you can start doing today!

Why are some people always in a bad mood?

Pessimistic attitudes towards life are in fact, one side of negative thoughts. When you or someone around you carry around a pessimistic view of the world, it doesn’t only affect your life, but also the lives of others. As social creatures, humans function as a group, unconsciously drawing from others’ emotions and attitudes.

The cause for this pessimistic outlook on life varies greatly and cannot be reduced to a universal diagnosis. It can be anything from physiological causes, to mental health disorders, to emotional attachment issues to the weather. Nevertheless, a pessimistic attitude can evolve into depression, low self-esteem and even the development of mental disorders.

Moreso, a Turkish research group found that pessimistic behaviour had strong links to weight gain, heightened stress levels, a shorter lifespan and an overall health decrease.

Nevertheless, even if we are aware of the benefits of a positive outlook on life, we might be surrounded by negative people. How can we fight negativity when it’s coming from outside sources? How can we stay positive when others bring us down?

This situation can be especially complicated if the negative person is either a close family member or someone that holds a certain amount of power over us. These are figures in our lives who we have to see fairly often and they can have a deep impact on our lives.  It bothers and deeply affects us, forcing us to defend ourselves on a daily basis.  We’ll show you how to fight negativity even when it comes from important people in your life:

How to fight negativity in others

1.  Be prepared and set limits

to learn how to fight negativity you have to overcome obstacles

People around you will always have some degree of influence. Nevertheless, you have the power to control the reach of this influence. Negative comments or attitudes can, if we let them, easily bring us down.

However, if you set limits to yourself and others, it will be easier to avoid negative thoughts to get to you. If talking back to a negative person seems too much right now, you can start by just thinking about what you should say. Whenever someone suggests you shouldn’t do that important work presentation, think to yourself: I’m in charge because I’m capable of it. If a so-called friend remarks on how so-and-so is out of your league, think: That is none of your business, and you shouldn’t comment on my dating life.

Eventually, you will learn to set limits out loud. Others have the influence you let them have in. You have the right to choose how you want to live, with or without others’ consent. It is in your own hands to choose your future. For now, it’s your duty to set the limits that allow you to live the life you want.

You might like to read: Thoughts that Limit Your Mind

2.  Remember, their opinion is theirs

learn how others can be projecting their fears on you

This is difficult.  When we listen too much to others’ negative thoughts, it’s easy to adopt them as ours. Moreso, others’ opinions about you are more of a reflection on themselves rather than you. Show them that they are wrong and, most of all, that you are not like them.  Smile at their negative comments and tell them something like, “only positive people really get it.  Only positive people can truly appreciate what it means to be alive.”

Sometimes envy is lurking behind these feelings of mistrust.  It’s always good to show others when that their perception of reality is only bringing them problems.  Unhappy people, that’s how you should learn to see them.  Don’t let them have any influence over you, whatsoever.

3.  Be assertive.

assertiveness is key for your happiness

There’s nothing better than being assertive to defend ourselves against those trying to do us harm.  You should always know what it is you want for yourself, and what you want most is simply to be happy, to live your life and show everyone that you are capable of anything you set your mind to. Assertiveness allows you to set your own boundaries, and decide for yourself the life that you want. Saying out loud what you want and need, without being aggressive, is key to achieving long-term happiness.

Read also: Learn How to Defend Yourself from Criticism and Be Assertive

It’s essential to open our emotional umbrellas to know how to fight negativity and protect ourselves from these all too common personalities.  If possible, it might be worth trying to help them by showing them that it takes a more optimistic view to be happy.  We need to raise our self-esteem and remember that we all have the right to happiness and that it’s in our power to achieve, so let’s start today!

  • Peterson, C., Seligman, M. E., & Vaillant, G. E. (1988). Pessimistic explanatory style is a risk factor for physical illness: a thirty-five-year longitudinal study. Journal of personality and social psychology55(1), 23.
  • Csábi, G., Tenyi, T., & Molnar, D. (2000). Depressive symptoms among obese children. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity5(1), 43-45.
  • Herwig, U., Kaffenberger, T., Baumgartner, T., & Jäncke, L. (2007). Neural correlates of a ‘pessimistic’attitude when anticipating events of unknown emotional valence. Neuroimage34(2), 848-858.
  • Laukkanen, E., Korhonen, V., Peiponen, S., Nuutinen, M., & Viinamäki, H. (2001). A pessimistic attitude towards the future and low psychosocial functioning predict psychiatric diagnosis among treatment-seeking adolescents. Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry35(2), 160-165.