Here’s the good news: we’ve made it this far. Yea!
Here’s the not so good news: our elder years are fraught with greater health issues, loss of freedom, and dwindling resources that might otherwise keep us happy and distracted. You probably already knew about the not so good news.
Good or not so good, lots of what happens to us is beyond our control. And, unfortunately, we aren’t guaranteed an easier ride than others just because we took better care, like always eating healthy and exercising.
While we aren’t guaranteed good health, lasting resources, and a constantly sunny attitude, negativity is a component of how we see our lives that we can control. We can choose our approach to life and the attitudes that we allow to reside in our psyches. Being cheerful and upbeat in our younger days came easier than it does these days. That fact is partly due to our internal difficulties and disappointments as well as to the external world that seems to be teetering on the edge of implosion.
Negativity is Toxic
Don’t forget that negativity spreads like an epidemic, and if you’re around it for too long, it can affect your health! The negativity includes plugging into social media and TV that plays a particularly dire loop of ‘the world is bad, it is scary, there isn’t enough for you, be fearful.’ Even the healthiest of us can begin to believe this negative message if we hear it enough.
Pessimism affects both your physical and emotional health. Doctors have found that people with high levels of negativity are more likely to suffer from degenerative brain diseases, cardiovascular problems, digestive issues, and these folks tend to recover from sickness much slower than those with a positive mindset. This isn’t just written words, it’s the truth.
It’s a good thing you have the ability to determine what your mindset will be as you age.
You Have the Power
Besides the push and pull of negativity in the world out there, as well as within us, you have more power to manage the outcomes of this struggle if you pay a little attention and do a little work. (I know, it always seems to boil down to more work most of the time.)
If you believe negatively in there not being enough, violence, fear, or anger all the time, you can’t in the same breath believe that there is enough in the world to meet all your needs. You must let go of the negativity in your everyday life to allow room for the positive to live in your soul.
Nothing positive comes out of negativity.
When we beat ourselves up, we are less likely to make a change for the better. I don’t know about others, but tough love doesn’t work on me in any area of my life. There may be an obscure exception about this statement but not when we’re talking about ourselves or TO ourselves about making ourselves better. It’s a fantasy that being hard on us about a change we want really works. It doesn’t! If anything, it affirms that we’re not deserving of all that’s good out there for us.
Also, we forget that we have the power to keep negativity at bay. One powerful tool to reduce negativity is self-compassion, including kindness, acceptance, and understanding. It’s through self-compassion that we increase our motivation to get up and try again, because we care about ourselves and want to see ourselves happy. Having compassion for ourselves and others keeps us focused on the good things that bring about positive outcomes. We make a concerted effort to let in the good and keep out the opinions and pettiness of others. Again, a little work is needed to be successful in making compassion a habit.
A powerful way to stay upbeat and positive is to consistently surround yourself with people who always strive to stay positive, which, like anything good, requires work.
Let’s be honest: negativity is a habit. It’s a bad habit we cultivate in social settings and when we’re by ourselves. If we’re not successful the first time, we give up or tell ourselves it’s an impossible task. In group settings, it’s easier to b*tch and complain about everyone and everything. This habit does not serve your well-being. Take charge, change things up, and cultivate that which supports, enhances, and expands your happiness and your life.