How can I think positively?

16 Sep 2022
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I’m not the most positive of people around but I’m certainly not the most pessimistic either. What I continually struggle with is negativity around me and how that affects my own positivity. I have heard that you should hang around people that lift you up and are positive so your interactions make your outlook about life better, but…

What if that negativity or just plain life sucks attitude is always around you? What if your environment can’t easily be changed?

I seem to absorb energy (positive or negative) pretty easily so if someone is down then I can sit and think about it too much and try and understand and even take on that feeling even though it’s not mine, but why do I take it on? What’s the best way to deal with negativity when you are tying your own best to be a little more positive about life in general?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, do I actually have a chance to be more content if the people around me are not? And these are close people, not people you can just ignore or get away from.

Or maybe I attract negativity… hmmm I wonder!

Hugo

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Daisy

Sept. 17, 2022, 5:14 a.m.

Hi Hugo I liked the blog Here are a few thoughts- negativity directed at you is bad eg about your appearance or personality. Somebody trying to put you down, definitely move away from I think setting boundaries- what is your responsibility is helpful- you are not responsible for someone’s happiness- so if you can be with someone who is unhappy but not take on. Easier said than done Sometimes getting negative feelings out brings relief and then people can move onto happiness— trying to keep it in is too exhausting- so maybe if those around can do this it is not so bad I think you are right being around people does affect you- try to find a few people who are positive- that might not look like someone who is singing the joys of spring but someone who is interested in a similar thing to you who likes to do that interest Hugo I see from your blogs how hard you work at life and your mental health- I see you as a positive person because you are always trying and moving your life forward Take care

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Mortimer

Sept. 17, 2022, 6:44 a.m.

I now have a mental container marked “contentment”. Unfortunately it is a rather leaky vessel. It requires constant topping up - sometimes slowly, almost a trickle, sometimes it’s a big effort. And taking positives from wherever I find them - the washing up for instance - brings a big input, and avoid, if at all possible, anything that enlarges the leaks, i.e don’t let anyone or anything near with sharp objects or comments!

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Teg

Sept. 17, 2022, 7 a.m.

Good Morning Hugo I can certainly empathise with your feelings. My Post last week was an attempt to help those with poor MH to gain a little more positivity. I think the way forward is to identify the events in your life that give you pleasure and therefore make you feel a bit more positive. Everybody has something; it can be a relatively small thing that uplifts our spirits. For some it will be getting absorbed in an interest or hobby. For others exercise helps. Good luck in your search Txx

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Liz

Sept. 17, 2022, 7:02 a.m.

Hi Hugo. It sounds very much to me like you are an empath. Not only have you been through things that have affected your mental health, like many of us, you are also highly attuned to other's struggles. You can empathise as you know what it feels like to feel that way. But there are also energy "vampires" that are the wrong sort of people to be around, that can feed off your moods and affect how you feel. I accord with Daiy about setting boundaries. Not only with others but with yourself. I have tried to stop my negative trains of thought, sometimes with varying success. A recent example was trying not to worry too much about a holiday (I wrote a blog around this) and imagine things going wrong... instead just taking it as it comes but also doing a bit of planning to make sure we were going to see things that we enjoyed. I love researching too, it can give you a bit of deeper understanding of things about our own behaviour. There is a lovely magazine called The Simple Things which I was given a few back issues of and it has some really good articles in which have resonated with me. I think it is also a positive thing that you are enquiring about these feelings and working out the best way for you. If you environment cannot be changed, look to within yourself for that change. You have already taken the first step, which takes courage. Writing a blog is courageous. Asking why you feel the way you do, to then invite others comments, is a brave thing to do. I don't think you necessarily attract negativity but you are incredibly open to picking up the feelings of others, like an antanae. It's finding a way to tune that down and be free in your own head. I'm not sure but maybe it's like compartmentalising things if that makes sense. I'm quite an emotional person but I have to shut that part off to do my job well, and then I open it back out of work and cry at stuff (not so much these days though I have to say). So next time maybe someone comes into your realm who is sucking the life out of you, move away physically, or in your head. Don't let the thoughts or moods of others drain you. Imagine yourself with a force field around yourself, things bouncing off it rather than absorbing. It all sounds a bit wacky but maybe try this. Say to yourself "I won't take this on". Filter in what you need and deflect what you don't. I think sometimes you get an instinctive feel of who should you in your "tribe"... those people that lift you up and make you feel energised rather than like an empty shell. Sorry I have rambed a bit but hope this helps!!

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Sheena

Sept. 17, 2022, 7:36 a.m.

Dear Hugo, As I read your blog, it came through very clearly that as Liz says "You are an empath Hugo". It appears that you really consider and work at the whys and how's of life more than many bother. Recognising that you know your stuff remember not to take anything personally. You are responsible only for your own behaviour, as are other. Therefore, if as a friend you do listen always remind yourself to put Hugo first and the issue is not yours or your fault. It's a tight boundary but do try.

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Valerie

Sept. 17, 2022, 8:09 a.m.

Another one here who sees you as a typical empath Hugo.It takes one to know one.I don't think you can or should change your core temperament. I don't know what the answer is for you,because I recall the involvement in close family rifts has caused you a lot of distress.My own sense of family bonding was such that I found it much easier to walk away for the sake of my own sanity.It does not sound as if you feel able to do that without feeling guilty. I wonder if you have ever sat down and told them how being used as a **** in their games has impacted on your mental state? ***

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Sheena

Sept. 17, 2022, 12:01 p.m.

I agree Valerie, If any relationship feels wrong - walk. The only person we have to live within ourself. We cannot change others. Understanding and valuing ourselves matters. No guilt can be taken for others not respecting us. If people behave as though they don't understand, they don't understand and won't want to

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 17, 2022, 8:50 a.m.

Hmmm... Well, I hope I'm not a negative person but I hate false optimism, or denial. I live with it every day. We NEED to be realistic, to face facts, to accept and adjust. My husband lives in a rose-coloured dream world. I know, if I became terminally ill, he would refuse to believe it until the moment I died. He refuses to accept global warming and the inevitable climate change. I believe, by the time we die, our current house will be under water. Maybe that does make me negative, but I think it will be time to look at moving to higher ground within the next 10 - 15 years. I believe in wills, in powers of Attorney. I believe the hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Ostriches apparently do not bury their heads in the sand; people do.

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Valerie

Sept. 17, 2022, 12:47 p.m.

That's the wonderful Jack Reacher's philosophy Mary-hope for the best and prepare for the worst.x

Teg

Sept. 17, 2022, 2:33 p.m.

Hi Mary Being consistently realistic cannot be easy with your bi polar changing moods. However, from what I've seen you are making a real good job of it. ps have just started the Post "Acknowledge, accept and manage".

G

Sept. 17, 2022, 5:25 p.m.

Mary, off the subject (or maybe not!) and in relation to your last blog. I know a bit about ulcerative colitis and I know it has scared you a little, especially the ‘no cure’ scenario. But one can go years without any symptoms at all and quite often a flare up lasts only a short time. I hope this goes some way in making you feel a bit better about the diagnosis.

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 17, 2022, 8:03 p.m.

Thank you, G. The new medication has improved this greatly. Still not back to the way one would prefer, but things are better. I take comfort in your words.

Jane

Sept. 17, 2022, 4:30 p.m.

Hi Hugo -- thanks for this post. I don't have much to add to Liz's really great response except to second her suggestion of consciously saying "I won't take this on." My situation is a bit different but I am realizing how much my feelings drive my thoughts most of time, and I'm trying to practice being more conscious of that happening -- labeling it, for one thing, and saying to myself, "I can choose to think differently." That in itself is hard for me! So kudos to you for the work you're doing.

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Jul

Sept. 17, 2022, 5:38 p.m.

Hello Hugo Are you talking about your family whom you've written about before and I seem to remember have their own issues and try to involve you? I have had similar problems of negativity from my family (my parents and sibling) a few years ago. It lasted for years and years. I was unable to distance myself from the drama etc. Only when my parents passed away did I eventually stop feeling controlled by them negativity. So I do sympathise. It's a struggle as we don't want others to make us feel any more negative than we already do! It's easier to distance ourselves from negative friends. I am sure all this negativity will end at some point but meanwhile, tell yourself you don't have to absorb it. You are a strong person and will emerge even stronger all in good time. Jul. xx

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Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 17, 2022, 6:32 p.m.

Hi Hugo, You might not be able to help how someone else thinks and not be able to stop them being the way they are, and it’s awful if it is someone within your family/household…you can’t get away from their negativity, because they are there, but you can remove yourself from situations, even if it means going for a walk or going to another room with a set of headphones and listening to a podcast or music you love - but how about asking them some questions as to why they feel as they do. What is it that is keeping them low? Ask them if they have a mental health problem? Do they need to see someone to help them through (whatever it is they are complaining about and their low mood) the situation or maybe send them over to Moodscope…? Their default might be to complain but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer along with them. Are they enjoying everyone clucking around them and are they feeding off their ‘woe is me’ situation? There are people who really revel in misery. If they went on holiday - the tiniest thing that wasn’t quite right, will become the thing that ‘ruined’ their holiday. If they won a box of chocolates in a raffle - they’d probably complain that it was the wrong chocolates or they’d rather have won a bottle of wine! You can’t help some people - but that’s not you, Hugo. If it’s the raffle situation - take the chocolates and tell them you’ll donate it to a family down the road who would love a free gift! Joking aside - I think you have to have some questions to ask them:- "Why is this good (for them) to be so negative about life?" (They are obviously getting ‘something’ out of this that they keep ‘feeding’ this animal and spreading the joy - not!) Ask ‘What would make you happy..? See what they come up with then see if this line of questioning shocks them into really seeing how they are - they might have got into this way of feeling and just can’t see it for themselves. Then, for the times when they are being miserable without real cause…turn it around on them and say something like ‘well if it were me, I would…." Or "Why don’t you…." Hugo, if you can, for your own sanity and self-preservation, walk away. Go to another room - tell them you aren’t prepared to sit and listen to their woes when they don’t accept any help. You never know, it just might shock them into looking at their own behaviour. Hope this isn’t too much apologies if what I’m saying is way off the mark but I really hope whoever is winding you up, can give you some peace. I haven’t read anyone else’s replies so apologise if I’ve repeated what other lovely Moodscopers have said. Am in a rush before Mr. Bear comes back in to watch a programme… This is your life Hugo - it’s not a practise; take time to look after yourself and don’t let others ruin it for you - you are a kind person not to have blown up at whoever is dragging you down and even kinder to write a blog for us. Thinking of you, petal! Love and Bear hugs x x x

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Lisa

Sept. 17, 2022, 10:50 p.m.

Hi Hugo, Thanks for your post - i found it very relatable. For me it depends very much if the person whose negativity you are empathising with cares enough about you in return. My husband has been in a negative space for a few years now, but like you i don't want to just choose to not be around him. The good thing is it can actually help me to be positive sometimes (not always easy) because i know that if i'm in a positive place then it will give him a lift to see me happy. That makes it more worthwhile to do the things that help me feel in a more positive mood - because we both benefit from me doing that. But i think that only works if they care about you too. Let's face it - if the person or people who are sharing their negativity with you don't care about you then you really might have to think about whether it is good to stay - and not just because of their negative mood. But if they do care, and just can't get out of their own rut, then possibly that can give you the motivation to keep working on finding things to be positive about for yourself, to then be able to give that back to both of you? Wishing you all the best with it - it definitely it sounds like a challenging situation. Whether you distance yourself or not, just make sure like others have said, that either way you're caring for your own health and wellbeing too. You can't help others if you're not also caring for you at the same time.

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Lisa

Sept. 17, 2022, 11:03 p.m.

And the idea of choosing to stay (or not) applies to family as much as friends or spouse. One of the most liberating things anyone ever said to me is that you actually don't have to love your family. Noone is going to arrest you if you don't! I'm not saying it easy to figure out where you stand on that, but it can be worth doing :)

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