Don’t live vicariously through another person’s misery.

banishMisery loves company, as we all know. That doesn’t mean that you have to be misery’s company. A friend of mine was worried because a colleague of his was recently let go. He started to worry about his job. I asked him if he and his Manager had any performance-based discussions. He said no. So why are you worrying? I had asked him. He had no response.

We absorb so much negativity. It’s on the news, it’s streaming across the monitors at our public transit stops or in our elevators. It’s on our Facebook walls. I remember reading a statistic about how many advertisements we are exposed to on any given day – I’d love to see one about how much negativity we are exposed to as well.

It doesn’t have to be media related. Being surrounded by grumpy people often makes us follow suit. I was grocery shopping yesterday. The sun was shining outside, it was well above zero degrees for the first time in months. It was the first day of Daylight Savings, the beginning of  long, sun-soaked days. I was the only person smiling in the  grocery store. People weren’t even returning my friendly smiles when I made eye contact.

I truly believe that your mind influences your body. That certain diseases can be allowed to manifest, or progress based on your emotional and mental outlook. You don’t always have control over toxins you are or have been exposed to, but you are 100% able to control your emotions. Here’s how:

1. Eliminate or reduce the amount of negative “entertainment” you consume. For me, it means that I don’t read the newspaper or watch the news. This is huge. There is very few good news stories perpetuated by the media. So far in my life, I have not suffered from not having the latest current events fed to me. This is also true from t.v. shows and movies. Curb the violent, negative forms of entertainment and you’ll be a lot happier. You can replace this with motivational or inspirational podcasts or documentaries. You can learn something new or pursue something creative.

2. Meditate daily. There is nothing that consistently provides you with positivity like meditation does. Every single self-help books lists meditation at the heart of any type of self-care or emotionally healthy practice. Meditating is an important as eating and brushing your teeth. Meditating takes you back to your centre, to the wisest and deepest part of you being. This is the real you, not the you that is influenced by the latest and greatest technology, social pressures or work stress. Being connecting to your spirit is vital to being happy.

3. Question negativity. If you find yourself being pessimistic, start questioning the validity of your doom and gloom thoughts. Are you really going to lose your job if you go over budget? Question other people. I almost feel sorry for people who bring forth bad news about the weather to me. Just the other day I was at the dry cleaners raving about the great weather when he mentioned that “it’s supposed to snow on Monday” according to 680 News. Instead of fearing the white stuff ruining my great week, I pulled up Environment Canada’s website and showed him the forecast. Sunny and seven degrees. No snow. And guess what – as of 2:30 on Monday the sun is shining. By disagreeing with negative people you are affirming your own optimism. And as well, if misery loves company they won’t be coming to you for it.

4. Don’t neglect yourself. Eat well, sleep deep and move often. When your body is well taken care of, you tend to have a better outlook on life. Most food that is unhealthy is a depressant – alcohol will affect your mood, sugar crashes lead to depression. Just being unhealthy creates a low-level of anxiety. Taking care of yourself should be front and centre in your life, regardless of what is going on.

5. Made better decisions. Almost everything in life is up to us. The house that you are paying for, you signed that mortgage. If taking care of it and paying for it is causing stress, sell it. Your job, you chose that and you can always choose another one. We get stuck in unfavourable situations and find ourselves unable to change. Change can be scary, but being unhappy in your life isn’t fun either. You never have to do anything.

If you are smiling, the world my not be smiling with you, but if you’re positive you won’t mind as much.

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