Lately we have heard so much about the global economic crisis, recessions, job cuts, natural disasters, increasing environmental problems and so on. Continuous talk about these things can easily influence the collective psyche in a negative way.
Even before recent events, we have always been bombarded with news, images and video clips of tragedies, wars,disasters, violence, crime,etc from a very young age. We are not even consciously aware of the extent to which we are exposed to such negative media. We might think that we have grown ‘immune’ to it or that we have become numb or insensitive to such media.
To a certain extent, this is true but there is a residual effect that acts on our subconscious minds and which can influence us negatively by injecting fear, paranoia, hysteria and anxiety. This has the direct implication of affecting our reasoning and decisions even in everyday life.
More than that it is the ‘collective effect’ which we seem to be more vulnerable to. This means that it is not only our own personal exposure to these stories which affect us most (although they do in certain ways) but it is the way that the general morale of the people around us (even those we do not interact with directly)can leave a sort of after effect on our own mood and attitude.
Since no man is an island, we are all subject to this collective effect. The social environment we live in is a highly connected network of individuals. When a network is highly connected, causes and effects spread out throughout the network very fast and effectively. There is a lot of interdependency.
It should therefore come to no surprise that other people’s moods affect us in many ways. Now although these moods can be both positive and negative, it is the negative thoughts and attitudes that are of a concern. I call it the negativity pandemic.
Get your Vaccine:
As one can have a vaccine administered against seasonal flu, one can also get a shot of ‘vaccination’ against the negativity pandemic. This vaccine is called awareness.
In previous articles I have expressed my belief that awareness is the one most single important thing in self actualization and just about anything related to personal development. It is no exception in this case.
If we are aware of the fact that other people’s attitude on life can leave an effect on us, we can consciously understand the signs when we see them.
By being aware of other people’s negative and limiting beliefs, we can choose to take action before being affected. We can, for example, choose not to be around so-called downbeat people or self-victimizing people who drain a lot of energy and vitality from us.
So, awareness is the first and most important step.
Build up your Defense System:
I am sure that nobody likes to be subject to all sorts of negative vibes knowingly and voluntarily. It is a process which happens on a subconscious level, unknown and undetected to our conscious mind.
By being more aware as suggested in the previous point, we can also be preventive and watch out not to enter into situations or relationships that we know might have a contagiously negative effect on us. For example, a social circle where people tend to always whine and moan about something: be that politics, the degeneration of teenage life, cost of living, the battered economy, etc. Or you might also avoid seeing a particular show or a particular site in which a lot of cynical,negative views on life are expressed.
Turn it Around:
When a conversation or an evening out starts getting downbeat and pessimistic, turn it around by changing the subject of conversation or injecting the positive side of the situation into it. Remember that the other person might not be conscious that the flow is going negative so you have to be in charge of arresting the negative syndrome before it creeps in and bounce it off with a positive twist.
Get your Daily Dose of Positivity:
I know the ‘be positive’ suggestion is a tune which has been overplayed. It’s not the ‘be positive’ factor I would want to talk about here but the ‘be around positive things’. Sometimes we slip into thinking that life just happens as in the thought: “Let’s see what today is gonna bring”.
If it’s a negative day then we stick with it. NO! Nobody is telling you not to eject your seat from that negative train of thought and go surround yourself with things that bring you lots of joy. The shittier the day, the wilder you should go! Go fetch and indulge in your favorite ice-cream, listen and dance to your favorite songs at high volume, freak out for a while with friends or family, watch some hilarious or amazingly inspiring videos on the internet and do and be surrounded by just about anything that’s fun, positive and beautiful. After all, life is beautiful.