The Blog

How to Defeat the No.1 Killer of Your Happiness

The cynics and gloom merchants among them seem to have only one goal - to consciously or unconsciously kill your positive attitude... and your happiness with it.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


It's ghastly to be surrounded by negative people, isn't it?

And even ghastlier when some of those negative people are family and friends?

But odds are, not everyone around you shares your positive mindset. Or appreciates it.

Sometimes your 'nearest' aren't necessarily your 'dearest'.

The cynics and gloom merchants among them seem to have only one goal - to consciously or unconsciously kill your positive attitude... and your happiness with it.

I know all too well because that was how I was raised. Well-meaning but pessimistic parents who'd been brought up themselves to always see the problem, never the solution.

Such a tragedy that they never saw the sun, only the shadow it cast.

Here's what I learned from keeping the no.1 killer of my happiness at bay...

Prepare Your Defenses
Meditation is well documented in helping you start the day positively, but I'll let you in on a secret - I've found a good night's sleep is one of the best forms of meditation - even the Dalai Lama agrees!

Insufficient sleep leads to irritability, reduces your ability to zone out negativity and adversely impacts your own positive mood. Get enough quality sleep to jumpstart your precious frame of mind before you venture out into a negative world.

As a change from (or supplement to) meditating, have a Positivity Boosting Morning Routine and start the day with a bang - sing lustily in the shower, listen to upbeat music and dance the day in to release feel-good endorphins.

At breakfast, nourish your attitude as well as your body. Fill up on a diet of positive news or other uplifting input for a healthy, non-toxic start to the day. Use books, quotes, films, and any other motivating sources you can get your hands on.

As a side note, I've found that skipping breakfast entirely can lead to a dip in your positivity later in the day, so try to at least enjoy a few mouthfuls of anything sustaining.

Follow breakfast with a simple mood enhancing bonus - grab a fresh slice of the outdoors with a gentle jog or short walk, two natural mood-boosters in one. Getting up a little earlier will be worth every minute. I feed the horses on the farm I live in and it gives me an enormous sense of well being.

Once back, change your clothes with your attitude in mind. What you wear significantly impacts your psychological mood: choose your best-fitting, most confidence-boosting outfit each morning to step out in. Splash some color into the world by choosing a bright outfit - I love oranges and yellows and they are known as mood-boosting colors.

One thing I also learned is that smells can trigger memories, often unconsciously, so I'm always careful to choose a scent that lifts my mood.

Disarm Them
My upbringing taught me that what you allow into your mind is as crucial as what is already in there. Be a cheerful chatterbox around negative friends or family. Start conversations, and be prepared with a couple of happy topics to ensure you set a positive tone and deflect their negativity.

If you find someone has beaten you to it and started off in a downbeat manner, the best approach is to excuse yourself as politely as you can.

Also avoid talking about anyone behind their back as this will slowly attack your own self-esteem and destroy your positive attitude.

Understand Them
I soon realized growing up that habitual negative words and actions can be indicators of low self-esteem and confidence. Recognize that gloomy friends and family are likely to be struggling in their work and life.

Hear their real message, feel empathy and help them turn their mood around with some genuine, kind words...
"Hey, I realize you're feeling negative about this, but maybe together we could find some positives?"

So sympathize with them if you can and try and bring them round if, and only if, they already seem prepared to open their closed mindset. Otherwise you still need to keep a distance from their negativity, because the reality is, the negative vibe others put out is truly corrosive. You need to limit your interactions with them as much as possible.

If you really can't avoid them completely, then learn to say no politely to anything that would increase your involvement with them further.

Learn Self Defense
I learned early on to defend my positive attitude with more than words and thoughts - I brought my body into it too.

Use positive, outgoing body language: sit or stand up straight and don't hold your head in your hands or hug yourself. It's all too easy to fall into unconsciously mirroring the negative body language of those close to you.

Counter gloomy faces with a smile. Make yourself laugh and refuse to take their doom and gloom seriously. Try escaping for even a short walk or jog with some uplifting music or audio. Moving your body energetically creates positive energy your attitude can feed of.

Stand Your Ground

I'll be honest, you can't always afford to be subtle. You're fighting for your happiness, remember?

Sometimes you might need to say it straight ...
"hey, let's lift the mood here, we didn't meet up to be gloomy after all, did we?"

Try making light of negative stories by pretending to screw them up and throw them in the waste basket ...
"Whoa, a negative story like that would be better for us all in the trash, right?"

And if all else fails...

Be firm, but kind. Tell those negative nannies and moaning minnies that you've taken a positivity pledge and you're now sworn to optimism and positive chatter only. To further diffuse their negative nonsense, take this a step further and ask for their help in calling you out if you fall into being a gloom-monger.

Remember not to get defensive if they do pull you up however.

Put Up A Forcefield Around Your Happiness

Don't let the attitude assassins kill your happiness.

For them negativity, cynicism and pessimism will always rule their mindset.

Don't be like them. Instead...

See the sun, not the shadow it casts.

Imagine your happiness surrounded by a forcefield.

Imagine being immune to the negativity of others, even those close to you.

Use the tips above to beat their negativity and build an all but impregnable fortress around your awesome attitude.

And stay the positive, happy person you are meant to be.

One of the best ways to protect you happiness is to learn to say no. Grab my free cheat sheet: 5 Simple Guilt-Free Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict)

To read the full, original version of this article please visit PositivelyPositive.

Image courtesy of Pixabay