Like a blackhole, a negative state is easy to get sucked into. Suddenly, you're fixated on repetitive negative thoughts and worries that feel out of your control. Perhaps you're fretting over a relationship or frustrated about your job; thoughts can snowball quickly and suddenly you're slumping around, preoccupied and unhappy all day. (Womp, womp).
The good thing about experiencing a negative state is that it's a state; it's temporary. There's no need to beat yourself up over having these moments because it's against human nature to be happy all the time. That right, nobody's wired to feel happy all the time. So, if you're in a crappy state and feel like you can't get out of it, you always have the option to hang tight, ride the wave and move through it naturally. You will eventually get out of it because every state is (thankfully) temporary. BUT! That's not the point of this article. The point here is actually the opposite, you DO have the power to break a negative state.
Spiritual gurus, therapists, coaches, all preach the art of consciously noticing a negative thought and then picking a different, positive one to think about instead. I'm all about this method of mindfulness. But has anyone every tried this and (err..) failed miserably? Sometimes the negative mental vortex is too damn strong. And all the negative thoughts keep coming.
An unnoticed part about being in a negative state is that it's not just in your mind (it's a state within your physical body too). So if you can't get a good grip on your negative thoughts or emotions, you could try being stealthy and change your physical state. Your mind and body are connected in this way, so It's only a matter of time before your emotional state catches up.
Here are a few ways you could trick yourself out of a negative state:
1) Change your posture- Whenever I'm trapped in a negative mindset, I'm usually hunched over, with my eyes looking downwards. To snap out of that funk, I take a few deep breaths, push my shoulders back so I'm sitting up straight and then look slightly upward. I even fake a smile. Switching my posture feels refreshing, and helps me break the negative state. There's science behind it too.
2) Laugh more- When I want to change a negative state, I go out of my way to laugh more. This might be done by listening to stand-up comedy or watching a sitcom. This is quick remedy because my thoughts are occupied with something light-hearted instead of something negative. In social situations, I'll consciously giggle a bit even when there's nothing really funny happening. If I'm laughing with a group, I'm not afraid to laugh harder and louder than usual. It sounds weird, but laughter really shifts the energy in a room, fast. Laughing will also change your facial expression, and smiling is also linked to increased happiness levels.
3) Take a shower- I love showers because they divide up my day when I need them to. When I have a bad day, I go into the shower, and when I leave I can start over, refreshed. Stepping into the shower feels like washing the negativity away. (Not to mention it's a great way to relax)! If you want to go the extra mile, a cold shower will physically shock your body, which will instantly change your physiology (remember, your mental state will eventually catch up) And, BONUS! Taking a shower will most likely force you to physically leave the environment where your negativity was festering. Sometimes, the change of scenery alone will do the trick.
4) Move Around- Stuck in a rut? Pick an activity and do it. A simple option is to take a walk outside for a few minutes. You could also turn on music and dance around your apartment. A good point to make here is that you don't have to go to the gym to add movement into your life. Of course you can go to the gym, but if getting to the gym is too difficult to achieve during your negative state, any physical activity will break the negative slump your in. Movement is a really good form of self-care, too!
5) Sing - Whether you can carry a tune or not, singing is a game-changer
. It may feel odd at first, but if you're determined to bust the blues, it should only take a few moments. Maybe add a little dance or turn on your favorite song as accompaniment to push through the initial awkwardness. In fact, turning on a really catchy tune should do the trick (my rule is no sad songs though, those could keep you in a negative state)!