If you find yourself being relentlessly negative, you may be suffering from negaholism. This word describes a person who is addicted to unhappiness. If you find yourself only seeing the dark side of life, then you may be a negaholic. While you may at times think you are being a realist or setting someone straight, the truth is, your expectations of perpetual negativity are unrealistic and harmful to yourself and others.
Here are five signs you live your life in the shadows and some ways you can step out into the light.
#1 Your Creativity Is Low Or Nonexistent
Many would argue that the greatest purpose of the human mind is invention. The ability to create something from nothing, optimize an existing process, or solve a problem is greatly valued in companies and may lead to higher income. Negative thinking is a barrier to creativity as it extinguishes a growth- and faith-driven mindset. Without faith it is very difficult to be creative because the conviction is not there. Negativity not only stops your creativity, it also stops the creativity of others around you.
What you can do: Each morning and night, list one thing you are grateful for. Whether you helped someone or an event, person, or thing helped you, write it down. It doesn’t matter how small the good deed was, mark it down and enjoy how you felt because of this positive event or person.
#2 Your Emotions Are Damaged
Though positive thinking may wear off, negative thinking sticks around for weeks. Like a leech under the skin, it is determined to insinuate itself into your life. Being negative is easy as we are built with five negative neural processes and just one positive neural process, but like doing the right thing or being honest, the more difficult journey is better for you. Because that one neural process is outnumbered, you must do everything in your power to strengthen it so you can bolster your well-being and the well-being of those around you.
What you can do: Slow down. Often when we are moving to quickly and are stressed out, negative thoughts will push their way to the front of our minds. Stop and take a breath. Focus on that breath and then take another. When you are calmer think of an event in your life that made you feel proud or very happy. As you solidify this though, smile. Just by smiling, you can boost your mood.
#3 Your Professional Life Is Suffering
Negative thinking is a pervasive mindset. It spreads its tentacles into every area of your life. When you are at your job, your negative thoughts can greatly impact your job performance because they may lead to demotivation. While you may do your job well, your leaders and colleagues may still notice you aren’t fully invested. Because your negativity is emanating from you, you may be skipped over for promotions and other opportunities.
What you can do: Throughout the day, list a different thing you appreciate about your job. Maybe your colleagues are kind, competent, or just, not quite as bad as you thought. Maybe you worked really hard and nailed that presentation. Or, the food in the cafeteria is good. Whatever it is, keep track during the day. You are an excellent employee and deserve every opportunity that is available.
#4 You Lose People
We all have hardships, sickness, and heartache that we are dealing with. Each day, we are fighting against negative emotions, whether new or deeply ingrained in us, that threaten our peace. So, we are all looking for happiness. When you are relentlessly negative it can push people away because they may tire of trying to help you see the positive. They may tire of your negative comments as they attempt to brighten their own lives. As mentioned before, positivity wears off. It must be stoked like a fire in a pit and so people may begin to pull away from you as you continuously throw large buckets of water on their fires. You may find your friends have stopped coming around and are hanging with someone else.
What you can do: Become more aware of your words and actions. Track how often you use negative language, facial expressions, and other body language. Try to use more positive behavior like smiling, laughing, and making silly faces. Today, you can resolve to talk only when you have five positive comments for every one negative. If you aren’t quite at this stage yet, try three positive things for every one negative. As you become more positive you will find people flock to you. Everyone is looking to prolong their happiness. Strive to be a source of good in your life and others’ lives.
#5 You Are Feeling Sick
Like the placebo effect, negativity can trigger what researchers call the “nocebo effect.” When we believe we are sick, we often become sick. Our beliefs can actually influence our body. A negative mindset increases stress and may lead to dementia, heart attacks, and other health problems.
What you can do: Envision yourself happy. If believing you are sick or inadequate can influence all of your interactions, then so can the opposite. Think or imagine a time in the past, present, or future where you are happy. Immerse yourself in this moment, relax your entire body, and let these emotions fill you with joy. Rather than picturing yourself under a dark cloud, envision yourself out in the sunlight.
You have the power to choose your mindset. No one can give or take away this choice. Bad things will happen but your reaction to them is your own. The future is unknown, and like your life so far, there’s no way all of the future can be bad. Like light, good and bad can’t exist without each other. They balance each other in different ways, amounts and at different times.