Have you ever had one of those days where your exposure to negativity is overwhelming?
I had one this week. After a long day at the office, I turned on the evening news and heard about the shooting in Ottawa, the ongoing fear of the Ebola virus, and the continuing ISIS attacks.
Whew – sometimes it feels like the world is going crazy!
It’s hard to not let the negatives around us become negatives inside us. But you don’t have to let the bad news ruin your day or make you anxious.
Here are three tips to help you shake off the affects of negativity.
Calm your body.
You might not think your body is impacted when you watch a negative news report but it is. Stress and distressing emotions cause physiological changes like increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and increases in stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
And what’s really bad is that when left unmanaged these symptoms can lead to heart disease and other serious illnesses. Try doing a relaxation exercise at the end of a hard day. It can reduce the wear and tear stress puts on your body, and help you feel more peaceful and at ease.
When your husband doesn’t get the promotion he wanted or you daughter doesn’t make the soccer team, I bet you know exactly what to say and do to make them feel better. But how good are you at soothing and supporting yourself?
If you’re like most people I’ve asked, the answer is––not that good. We often get lazy when it comes to taking care of ourselves. You might even find that you opt to veg out in front of the TV or eat a bag of chips to distract yourself.
So instead of watching mindless reality shows, try a calming bath or listening to your favorite music. Another good option is calling a friend who is validating and supportive. The main idea is to find something that feels healthy and soothing to you, and then just do it.
Now you might be thinking that it sounds self indulgent or silly to do these things but I challenge you to try it. When you give yourself permission to take care of yourself, it can make a big difference in how you feel and improve your overall emotional health.
Practice gratitude and focus on positives.
Despite all the very real negatives we’re faced with these days, there are also plenty of positive things happening around us. It’s important to recognize the positives and try to focus on them as a way of counterbalancing the bad stuff.
Remember, you have a choice about where you focus your attention. When you practice gratitude and focus on good things, you’ll feel happier and more peaceful. I often have my patients make a gratitude list at the end of each day or have them write down one positive event they experienced in their calendar.
You can try these or just Google “good news” instead of reading another article about the distressing news of the world. Most news outlets have a section devoted to inspirational or positive stories. There’s even a Good News section on the Huffington Post.
Please let me know how these tips worked for you and leave a message in the comment section below.
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