Plenty of times I stressed over all sorts of things - not getting homework done on time, passing a class, being late to an important meeting, does this girl like me, will I have enough money to be happy, do I have anything in my teeth, what are people thinking about me right now, should I order more food? What if I get hungry later...it goes on and on.
It’s pointless to stress about so many little things
Things fall apart, things come together, good things happen, bad things happen. It’s life, just do your you best and keep moving forward, it’s all so simple.
When the sun sets, the sun rises on the other side.
One of the key patterns that I learned throughout the years is there’s always something positive. There’s always a bright side.
Be Careful Not To Get Caught In The Negativity Vortex
When something bad happens we have a tendency to focus on the negative and we get sucked in this negativity vortex - this vortex breeds worry, fear, and anxiety. It’s a monster when we fall in this trap; it looks something like this:
You worry about being late to a meeting where you’re presenting and now you’re filled with anxiety. You’re stress increases, you get to the meeting feeling rushed and flustered so now have a bad meeting because you're not on your game.
You feel bad, and maybe even disappointed in yourself so now you stress eat, now you’re feeling guilty you ate all that pizza, but since you already ate that pizza might as well have some ring dings.
Now you look back on the day and you beat yourself up...you were late for the meeting, had a bad meeting, and are feeling gross becuase pizza and ring dings is a terrible combination.
That negative vortex is a bitch, sucks the life out of you. One moment you’re all about living your best life and next thing you know you you find yourself living that zombie life yo.
It’s all good though, because there is a way out or even to avoid the negative vortex all together.
Simple Two Step Process To Avoid The Negativity Vortex
Here’s two simple steps I use to get out of the vortex, or even flat out avoid it. It’s all about understanding there is a positive twist to everything.
1 - ACKNOWLEDGE - Acknowledge this is happening
First and foremost - accept something not to your liking is happening. Take a step back and really acknowledge it. So it’s not:
“oh man I’m running late to this meaning, FML!”
“Ok I’m going to be late, it’s not ideal but this is reality right now and all I can do is move forward”
One focuses on the negativity of the situation, the other simply acknowledges something not ideal is happening and tells you to move forward, don’t dwell on it.
2- REFRAME / What’s Good About This?
The next step is to ask yourself what’s good about this? Simple question but powerful results. Here’s a few answers to“what’s good about this” in our running late to a meeting example:
I’m late because I slept in:
At least I got some good sleep and feel refreshed
I’m going to be late because train trouble
This means more time on the train, not ideal, but I’m enjoying this podcast and gives me more time to listen to it.
I simply forgot about a meeting I had
-This is good because I’ll consider it a challenge - how can I through my presentation in less time
This doesn’t mean the positive finding will trump whatever bummer situation you’re in. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, but at the least it will help balance it out a bit.
Sometimes it’s not readily obvious what’s good about a situation. That’s ok. Revisit the situation later and try to find some good.
Typically you’ll find whatever was stressing you wasn’t as bad as the monster of a problem you made it to be in your head.
And over time you develop the audacity to believe something positive will come out of each situation. And damn that’s powerful.
And that’s it. Simple. Acknowledge some nonsense is happening and ask yourself what’s good about this.
Warnings: Side Effects of Staying Positive
I must caution you with this great power comes some side effects. Here are a few you might experience:
Over time I find myself not even having to acknowledge something bad is happening. It just happens in the subconscious and I automatically think what’s good about this situation. It’s pretty dope when shit hits the fan and your first thought is“hmmm…so what’s good about this?” Game changing.
You’ll start to realize how trivial so many situations you would stress over are. Like seriously trivial. You’ll even laugh at how you used to stress over small things
Related to the previous point, you’ll start to realize how negative other people can be. It’ll stand out how much people can complain, whine, and get bothered over small stuff. Not you though, you won’t major on the minors anymore.
People will be jealous in a good way. You hear things like “I wish I can stay positive like you” or“I wish I can be so unaffected by the bullshit like you.” People will think you have some sort of superpower. And you know what? It is.
And that’s it. It’s a simple 2 step process with powerful results. Hope you start to implement it in your life - if you do, let me know how it goes.