By Heather Short
The world is not always full of rainbows, butterflies and all things positive. We also cannot view the world through rose-colored glasses. Each one of us will face the bittersweet taste of negativity that threatens to ruin a good mood every once in a while. Whether it’s through the media, social networks or someone who just happens to be having a bad day. While it is impossible to walk through life without a negative encounter of any kind, there are ways to disconnect from it.
Limit social media
We are always connected to social media whether we realize it or not. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are available at our fingertips with a single swipe of our thumb. We can try to limit how often we check our social media profiles, and one simple way to do that is to turn off the notifications we receive on our phones. Once we see those magic little notifications pop up, we almost can’t help but feel the need to check it. Before you know it, 20 minutes have passed as you realize you kept scrolling through to watch ridiculous cat videos or read comments. Many of us are guilty of finding ourselves drawn into social media drama and once we offer one comment, it is quickly followed up by additional users’ comments and boom — you are in a virtual war with people you might not even know. Passive aggressive comments do no one any favors. Sometimes even trying to break up an internet based fight does nothing by drag you in further. Do yourself a favor and limit your social media usage. Try to create goals to only check social media sites at certain times of the day and limit it to a certain amount of time. If you check social media sites more often, perhaps try to not to engage with anything negative. Focus on the good posts like photos of your family, friends, children and all the funny cat memes.
It happens everywhere. In the work place, in the school hallways and even in volunteer groups. You are minding your own business and suddenly, you find yourself facing it: gossip. Someone, somewhere heard something about someone else and now they are filling you in with what are believed to be facts. What do you do? Many of us are guilty of being dragged into a good gossip fest and then are awfully tempted to repeat all the juicy details to the next person. However, it is really important to remember that if you are talking about someone and that person is not present, chances are there are some crucial details missing. When we engage in gossip, we are making ourselves vulnerable to the negative consequences that may come down the road. No one should make an attempt to talk about others in an effort to make themselves feel better. It only incites negativity and dishonesty among groups of people. Instead, when you find yourself faced with someone who is talking about someone else, politely remind them that if they have questions, they should ask that person directly. This keeps you out of the gossip circle and your conscience clear, and the temptation to repeat the gossip won’t be there. Remember what our parents taught us: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything nice at all.
Don’t engage/don’t argue
Today’s political climate has many of us up in arms. The slightest disagreement launches into hurt feelings, protests and arguments of epic proportions. Some disagreements are indeed valid; others are not and are nothing more than mere attempts to create a cloud of ongoing negativity. Again, while we cannot completely avoid negativity throughout our lives, do your best to not engage in it. Some people may feel they have a right to say what they want, which is true. But before you engage in a negative argument, ask yourself if the interaction will somehow benefit your life now or in the immediate future. If it won’t, it is perfectly fine to keep your opinion to yourself and refuse to engage. Instead, simply smile and either walk away or perhaps even try to change the subject. Sometimes people seem to forget that they have a choice to not engage in negativity. If it makes you uncomfortable or unhappy, you do not have to engage, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it either. You have more to gain by keeping negativity out of your life versus engaging in an argument you didn’t want to be involved in, in the first place, all while remaining polite.