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5 Hacks for Positivity

Young woman carrying books and a backpack and smiling
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By nature, humans are friendly, pleasure-seeking, compassionate, kind, giving and forgiving creatures. Our “nature” or personality really comprises of unique inclinations that we cultivate in our thinking, feeling, and behaving to serve ourselves as well as connect with the larger world around us. Yet, from infancy and childhood, as we advance into teenage and adulthood, seeds of negativism begin to sprout. And some of them blossom into large spanning trees that colour our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours negatively. This unconstructive thinking clouds rational judgement and interferes with personal, academic, and interpersonal advancement.

You don’t feel good when you’re angry, sad, frustrated, upset, jealous or aggressive, right? By repeatedly feeling these negative emotions you could develop a thinking error that is commonly called a negativity bias. Like an anchor that locks the ship at sea, this makes you focus on that one bad thing even if there is a mountain of good things right in front of you. Think about the following situations:

  • When your teacher (who always loves your work) told you once that your assignment wasn’t good enough, you can’t stop thinking about how bad you are.
  • When your best friend’s invitation to a party does not reach you due to a technical glitch, you think that your friendship has ended.
  • When you were asked to speak in front of the class, and your mind went blank, and you could not think of what to say, you felt like you were stupid.
  • You said something about a friend in front of everyone that embarrassed him, and now you feel you cannot face your friends anymore, ever again.
  • Your parents did not acknowledge your dance performance and you thought that nobody ever appreciates you or notices that you’re good at what you do.

All of them may have made you feel like you are not good enough or others are insufficient and that the world is an unfair place. You could become cynical and passive-aggressive too. You might change your outlook towards yourself and others and become pessimistic or negative. However, with deliberate effort and practice, you can learn to let go of negative thoughts and create a more optimistic outlook towards your life, irrespective of the bad that happens to or around you.

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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.