Overcoming Negativity: 9 Steps to Turn Your Life Around

Many people whose lives seem to have spiralled out of control have no idea how to climb out of the pit of despair they find themselves in. They may feel that everything seems to go wrong and their situations get worse and worse. They lose their job, their marriage falls apart, and they may even lose their home, their children and fall into depression, alcoholism or drug abuse. They may make a half-hearted attempt and then when they don’t get the results they want, they quit, and give up and resign themselves to a life of strife and unhappiness.

Don’t despair, there is hope. Turning your life around is possible. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do to turn your life around…

1. Change the Negative Thoughts in Your Head

If you’re like most people, you may have a litany of negative tapes or thoughts that play over and over in your mind. Perhaps a teacher or a relative was overly critical  and their comments stay stuck in your brain.  Or you may have failed to overcome certain obstacles in your life and now see yourself as a failure…at everything.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people are plagued by insecurities or doubts. The secret is not to dwell on them. Instead, focus on your strengths and what you want to accomplish. Use empowering phrases such as I am safe, I am a winner, or I am changing my life for the better. Change the tapes in your mind to positive affirmations to help boost your success.


2. Banish Naysayers

When you try to make positive changes in your life you’ll be upsetting the status quo. People who you thought were your friends may actively try to sabotage your efforts by telling you you’ll never make it. They don’t want you to succeed. They want you to stay just as you are because it serves their own best interests. They may be a friend, parent or even a spouse.

They have a vested interest in your failure. If you change then they’ll be forced to re-evaluate their lives too. Sometimes the only way for you to move forward is to cut all ties with these negative people. Otherwise you may find yourself being dragged right back down despite your best efforts.

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3. Surround Yourself with Inspirational People

Have you heard the saying “birds of a feather stick together?” The same rule applies to all types of people. Whether you’re a winner or a loser.  Drug addicts like to associate with other drug addicts and dealers. They buy drugs from each other and share paraphernalia.

For instance, marathon runners associate with other runners. They attend gyms where others like themselves train. Share fitness tips and gage their progress against their peers. If you want to turn your life around then seek out and surround yourself with positive people who will inspire and motivate you. Join a group or attend a seminar. Do whatever it takes to cultivate new friendships and a healthy support team.


4. Meditate

Learning to meditate or listening to inspirational meditation tapes can help build a positive attitude, decrease stress, improve your mental acuity and give you hope by helping you to reframe your problems as manageable obstacles.

Listening to meditation tapes can help relax your mind and improve your sleep. It can also help replace the negative tapes in your mind with inspirational ones. It may take a month or more of listening daily for the positive aspects of mediation to begin filtering through.  The secret is repetition and consistency.


5. Set Goals in Writing

If you don’t have any goals to aspire to then you’re like a ship without a rudder. Directionless, going with the flow, at the mercy of others. If you want to turn your life around then you need concrete goals and you need to put them in writing. Putting goals in writing gives them life. The simple act of putting pen to paper makes your goals real.

Follow the SMART goals format to strengthen them. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Keep them in a binder or booklet and review them weekly. This will help keep you on track.

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6. Visual Reminders of Goals

Another strategy successful people sometimes use is to have visual reminders of their goals. You may want to cut out a picture of the new car you want and place it on your bathroom mirror so that every morning when you get up you see it first thing. Or you may want to go to the dealership, sit yourself in the car and have your friend take a photo of you in your dream vehicle.  Then post this picture on your bathroom mirror.

Other people make up a vision board, a collage or photos or cut outs of all the things they want to achieve. These visual reminders stimulate your brain and make you feel good, thereby inspiring you and keeping you on track.


7. Take Care of your Physical Body

You need take care of your body in order to take care of your mind and your life. Fill your body with nutritious foods. You can go to the library or internet for healthy recipes. Or you can seek the services of a nutritionist, dietician or your family doctor. Cut back on junk food and start to exercise.

Do something you enjoy. You don’t have to join an expensive gym. Take a walk. Join a hiking club. Go dancing. Ride a horse. The important thing is to move your body. Exercising as little as 30 minutes three times a week can help improve your cardiac, mental and physical health.

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8. Be Grateful

It’s easy to become mired in all the things going wrong in your life or all the losses you’ve suffered. This only serves to depress your mood and keep you stuck. Look at how far you’ve come and at what is working well in your life. It may be as simple as having food in your belly and a roof over your head.

Being grateful for what you have in the here and now helps give you a healthier perspective and opens the doors for receiving more good in your life. It relieves stress, reduces depression, reframes your thinking and opens the doors to possibility.


9. Pay it Forward

Once your life starts to turn around it will gather momentum. It may take time but if you follow the right steps things will improve. When they do you may want to think about paying it forward. Giving back in a spirit of gratefulness. You may want to donate money to a worthy cause or give of your time, energy or talent.

It doesn’t matter what you do. Paying it forward helps cultivate a sense of gratefulness and comes with its own higher rewards. You can turn your life around and in doing so can help inspire countless others to do the same.

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Debbie McGauran

Debbie has been a registered nurse for over 25 years with experience in geriatrics, medicine, surgery and mental health. For the past four years, she has practiced as a crisis nurse in the ER. Debbie lives on a farm with her family, two dogs, a cat, and four horses.