Going Up: Beating Negativity With Wellness
If you're anything like me, once you finish a big thing, you need a little break before starting the next big thing. When that brief detox period ends you have a moment or eight when you fixate on all the things you need to do next, and how much energy that's going to take, and then you cry in the corner for a bit before bucking up and getting on with it. Well, when I cry in the corner I can sometimes get a bit, you know, negative. About my worth, my abilities, my time, my situation generally. For roughly 3 hours on a random Thursday, negativity can reign.
I Ain't 'Fraid of No Ghost
When I'm thinking more clearly (which is like, 90% of the time give or take) I understand that participating in negativity is counterproductive. But once I find myself in that headspace, it's hard to be objective. However, I've learned that by moving through it with purpose I can cleanse any lingering anxiety and bullshit as I acknowledge the ghosts of old hangups (i.e. negative thought patterns) before digging into new stuff. Clean the slate, so to speak.
Like; "Hey, ghost issue, I see you there. Don't think I don't. You're really ticking me off. Hovering, intruding into my thoughts, interrupting my flow. Just like pop-up ads. Wait, what? You just have a couple things on your mind? FINE. Go ahead. Spill your crappy beans all over me. But that doesn't mean I have to LISTEN."
And so even though it's annoying AF, I acknowledge the ghosts but I try not to give them too much attention or dwell (ok, I dwell a bit and then I stop but I'M GETTING BETTER), because who needs old, stinky ghosts when you're starting cool new stuff? I spent A LOT of time with old stinky ghosts in my past, and they're just....stinky. And also a bit like dust bunnies: if you ignore them long enough and refuse to give them the attention they seek, they remain dirty but tend to become invisible. Go haunt someone else already, ghosts! Like stats. Go haunt some stats!
Anyway, overcoming negative thought patterns, AKA your ghosts, is hard! You'll have to do it a bunch of times because occasionally life is shitty and we have triggers and we are not always rational or in control. A ghost's job is to haunt us. Our job, if we are to maintain our health and relationships and way of life, is to get those ghosts to eff off and excuse ourselves from the haunting. It's not something that most people are naturally awesome at, but it's necessary if you are going to live well. And we want to live well, right? YES.
So the BIG IDEA that I want to leave you with today is how beating negativity with wellness can work. Let's agree, for the sake of argument, that wellness is defined as being healthy in mind and body. So to engage in wellness means that you nourish your body with healthy ideas, healthy movement, and healthy food. This nourishment enables you to live well by creating the energy and functionality you need to undertake what the world requires of you, but more importantly, what you require of yourself.
Negativity, on the other hand, saps energy. It stalls productivity and prevents us from functioning well, sometimes from functioning at all. If too prevalent, it can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health, directly affecting our bodies, brains, relationships, and work. If you eat poorly and don't take care of your body, you won't feel good physically. And if you don't feel good physically you start to not feel very well mentally.
You start comparing, talk down to yourself, feeling out of control, and helpless. Often, you pretty much give up, thinking that "this is life" or "this is just how things go" or "this is how I am" or other such nonsense. You keep doing what you always do as a sort of comfort. It's a homage to negativity, a self-fulfilling prophecy that things are crap so I mights as well "enjoy it." Except that it's not actually fun, is it?
Wellness 1, Negativity 0 (or should it be -1?)
So you end up perpetuating the cycle - negative thoughts breed negative actions which breed more negative thoughts, and so on. And you feel, let's face it, like shit. But here's the thing. If you disrupt that cycle and inject new, wellness-based actions into it, really cool stuff happens. YOU FEEL BETTER. You eat food that is helpful to you, and your energy goes up. You add movement to your day, combined with eating healthily, and your energy goes up.
ENERGY is where the magic happens. You start sleeping better, and generally feeling better because you are treating yourself with respect. Your crappy, negative thoughts begin to clear because you are no longer stuck in a negative cycle. Your brain fog lifts and your headspace opens up. And then, WOW. You become unstoppable. And I know this because I did it (and know many others who have as well). You have to work at it and sometimes you will falter (evidence above), but slowly you will find yourself building a life that feels good. And who doesn't want that?
The other thing that happens, and this is important, is that through wellness you develop a way to combat negativity when those ghosts come calling. And they will. Being well doesn't mean you're bulletproof. It means you have ammo. Through wellness you acquire the self-awareness required to recognize what's going to help and what's going to hinder, and that, my friends, is powerful and useful when you have one of those random Thursdays like I did. Living with wellness means that my random Thursdays don't turn into random weekends, or weeks, or months.
I'm not saying that wellness will solve all of your problems from now until the end of your time on earth. But it can make that time easier and more enjoyable, and it can help you to live and love your life exponentially more. It is the ultimate form of self-care because it perpetuates a cycle of health that addresses your mind and your body and enables you to be available to yourself and others. Like Simon and Garfunkel in their heyday, wellness harmonizes. I had no idea how great the effect was until I started living it myself. So if you've been feeling like there's a missing piece in your life, or you're stuck in negative cycles and are unsure of where to start to get out, start by examining your life through the lens of wellness.
What do you put into your body? What do you do with your body? How do you nourish your mind and spirit? And for all of those pieces, WHY do you do it that way? Does it work? Do you feel awesome? No? Ok, so for the sake of your quality of life and that of your loved ones, would you be willing to make some changes? DO YOU WANT TO FEEL BETTER? Because if you do, you must give yourself a chance to evolve into "better." And that means new ways of thinking, moving and eating. It's not that bad. In fact, it's pretty freakin' great. I did it. I'm doing it. But this is your show, so your first step is up to YOU.
Some final words. There's a bunch of things we can do each time we find ourselves thinking negatively, and to that end I encourage you to see if the ideas in this article resonate with you. I said it earlier but I'll say it again anyway: beating negativity is hard. It has taken me years and years of reading, reflection, practice, frustration, tears and support to get to a point where I can manage this cycle in a healthy way. For some people it is not or has not been that difficult, and bless you.
BUT if you find you're not able to manage your negativity very well, and you know or have otherwise become enlightened to the fact that you have a tendency to become engaged in unhealthy thought cycles, please please please ask for help. There is ALWAYS a way through, or at least a way to cope. Talk to your family, your friends, a professional.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You are precious. STAY GOLD.