During the course of your internet and bookstore searches for anxiety relief one of the most common tips you’ve seen is “stay positive”. And although we all have some notion of what this means sometimes you have to focus your positivity in order for it to make a difference.
There are a lot of things that you can do to foster positivity in your life, however I’ve decided to shine a light on 4 negative habits that should be avoided because of their capacity to feed your stress and anxiety.
These four very common negative habits include complaining excessively, cursing, materialism, and having a bad attitude. These four negative habits sound innocuous but taken together over a long period of time they can certainly create feelings of negativity, hostility, bitterness, and of course more anxiety. Let’s examine how this tends to happen.
Complaining is something that we all do and it’s almost unavoidable. When something doesn’t go our way the natural tendency is to vent about our unhappiness. But what we rarely take time to consider is that excessive complaining can mold our perspective with a decidedly negative slant.
In other words, if you complain often enough you’re more likely to complain about almost anything. This in turn creates a situation where you’re almost searching for the negative in any given situation. Overtime the world is seen through an increasingly negative lens, basically everything starts to suck.
The fact that complaining can have this effect is no secret. I have read about some doing 30 day no complaining challenges and taking other restrictive measures to avoid complaining because of it’s corrosive effects on the psyche. But realistically avoiding complaining altogether would be very hard and ultimately not really needed.
What I’m talking about is excessive complaining, the kind that keeps your thoughts in a constantly negative light. Making a mindful attempt to limit complaining to only significant events would probably serve your purposes much better. It would give the complaint, or venting, more meaning and in this way provide more of an emotional release. Complaining for complaining sake is just another way to stress yourself out.
Now this negative habit does not relate to all of us. But for those of you that curse a lot maybe reducing the frequency with which you use these words could help relieve some stress. Cursing fosters negative feelings and tends to create tension. Even if your just talking to yourself, cursing can actually encourage feelings of anger or hostility.
Have you ever had an arguments intensity elevated by a series of “bad words”. Well there is a reason for this and it’s rooted in the nature and intent of the so called bad words. They are meant to express intense displeasure and as a result create negative feelings. Even in casual conversation, these words can create a sense of bad vibes as it were. I’m not passing judgment on the use of bad words at all, I’m simply pointing out that reducing the use of these words can reduce tension.
If you live in a western nation than this one is very difficult to avoid. However, always focusing on what you don’t have can create a feeling of emptiness and low self worth. I think it’s fine to strive for financial success, but I also believe that not over emphasizing what we don’t have in terms of material possessions can relieve a certain amount of stress.
It is very stressful to chase material gain and to feel like you have to keep up with the neighbors. Now, I’m not suggesting that you live in a cardboard box either. Given the type of societies we live in we have little choice but to take part in the rat race. But not losing sight of the truly important things in life and not beating ourselves up for not having more stuff can be truly beneficial.
Having a good attitude can help your anxiety immensely. Think about how many times you’ve had some anxiety symptom and allowed your attitude to go negative. Having anxiety is extremely difficult and as a result I think many anxiety sufferers allow anxiety to tint their attitude about a variety of things.
For example, say an anxiety sufferer has a tough time in public, well then this person might just develop a negative attitude toward going anywhere public. This type of attitude can become a barrier to not only feeling positive but also living a more full life.
Having a positive attitude means to purposefully look at things and situations with a positive slant. To try things with the understanding that things won’t always turn out perfect and to not overact when things do go south. Having a good attitude also has the ability to relieve stress.
There are clearly more things you can do to be a more positive, less anxious person. But these four negative habits, taken together, can have a significant impact on how stressed you are and how you feel about yourself. I don’t believe that the average person can avoid all of these pitfalls, however we can all certainly limit our participation in them.
In the course of living our lives we all get negative, self centered, or just plain gloomy (depressed), but this does not mean that we can’t do small things on a daily basis to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Are there other negative habits that you have that might be adding to your anxiety?