Overcoming Negativity for Mental Wellness

Overcoming Negativity for Mental Wellness

We live in an era where we can encounter and consume too much negative information each day. In addition, mental labor with much pressure and prolonged stress conditions can adversely affect our emotions and make our mental health vulnerable. Many negative emotions always exist and have a tremendous impact on our mental health, such as sadness, anxiety, lack of motivation, pessimism, anger, disappointment, or even despair.

Having been a victim and experienced as well as witnessed many negative states, in this article, I will share thoughts on my personal experiences on how I have maintained practices to overcome them and keep my mental health strong. These shares are personal viewpoints, not concepts, assertions, or critiques of any individual. I hope to provide those of you who have been or are still submerged in negative emotions with additional references to find peace and regain your innate positive energy.

1. Avoid browsing social media to start the new day

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Photo by Kerde Severin on Pexels.com

There have been many times I felt demotivated, lacking the drive to continue trying, and found myself in a state of not knowing where to start despite knowing there are many tasks to be done. Gradually over time, I realized one of the deep-rooted causes starts with a bad habit every morning after waking up: turning on my phone to check the news and scrolling through Facebook to see what’s new with the world and friends. Reading news wouldn’t be bad if it were positive, deep, and useful for my life. However, it is easy to notice that on most current news sites, the majority of new information tends to be negative: theft, murder, corruption, scams, accidents. Scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed is no less when most of it consists of advertisements, sales, complaints, sarcasm, mocking each other, or various kinds of “drama”. Whenever I come across a piece of negative news, it can significantly impact my emotions for a long time, sometimes for the rest of the day. The more of this type of news I consume, the more uneasy, haunted, and worried I feel about the chaos of life.

Therefore, changing how to start a new day is an important part to help me improve and maintain optimism and positivity. By gradually eliminating this bad habit, especially in the morning, I have gradually found the peace that was inherent in myself and focused on more positive things.

In reality, I also don’t completely eliminate updating news and maintaining connections with social media. However, I only do this after completing important work and goals for the day and only select information sources about topics I love, deep and only follow new updates from family and friends, the “positive” people. Then, even if I accidentally come across negative information, it will not affect my spirit or work performance and will soon dissolve into the things I need to eliminate at the end of each day.

2. Efficiently Utilizing Morning Time

person reading a book with digital clock on a desk
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I am the type of person who is most effective in the morning. Therefore, preparing a positive mindset and proper nutrition before starting a new day is very necessary. Replacing the unhealthy habit mentioned above, I instead spend time meditating for 3-5 minutes, then spend time enjoying the morning with positive and useful content sources. As shared in a previous post, I often like to watch motivational videos in English from Fearless Soul and Be Inspired, listen to audiobooks or book summaries from Blinkist, Fonos, listen to podcasts or life lessons, positive lifestyle from channels that invest in depth like Ali Addal, The Present Writer, The Hanoi Chamomile, Web5Ngay (a channel I’ve been really into recently). I often flexibly switch between these information sources and combine them with preparing a healthy breakfast, mainly with fruits, nuts, oats, and Greek yogurt. After that, I continue with a short walk to school and enjoy the fresh air, listen to my favorite music and observe life, how people around are starting a new day. Another thing that continues to bring me positive emotions is always being one of the first people to arrive at the office, turning on the lighting system in the work area, comfortably listening to favorite tunes, and starting the first important work of the day. By maintaining this morning routine, I can fill up with positive mental energy while simultaneously gradually improving physical health and kickstarting a new day more effectively – more productive with an optimistic and refreshing spirit.

3. Thinking and Planning for the Worst-Case Scenarios

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Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

Anxiety and worry are common emotions when facing important decisions or receiving bad news that could potentially affect myself or my family. In such situations, I try to regain calmness and focus on writing down my concerns and challenges. Then, I think about and write down what the worst-case scenarios could be. If they happen, do I have the capability to cope? If yes, then it’s all within control and there’s nothing to worry about – this is often the case. If not, what can I do to minimize the consequences as much as possible and just try to implement that. If I can’t change the situation, I try my best so that no matter what happens, I won’t have regrets because I tried my hardest. Life is bound to have its ups and downs, worries, and troubles no matter how positive one’s outlook may be. Having gone through many events, I am fully aware of this, and it makes me stronger and more positive. Being ready to accept, and preparing mentally and planning the best ways to face the worst-case scenarios make me feel more comfortable and confident to overcome fears and continue on my journey to live a fulfilled life.

4. Clearly Identify Personal Goals and Action Plans

Identifying clearly what I really like, what I want, and how to achieve those things in a clear way is an effective method to avoid feeling vague and uncertain about life. Identifying goals and what I like is not easy and takes a lot of time. The method I have implemented and shared with many students is that if you don’t know what you really like, then explore, write down everything you can learn and do, and start experiencing it with zeal. Instead of waiting for others to share, guide, or “choose” a specific direction for me, the best way is to decide on my own goals. When doing something I am extremely interested in and can patiently continue doing for a long enough period without feeling tired or discouraged, that’s what I truly like. For me, that’s being a lecturer – a profession where I can share, convey knowledge and experience, and work with students on new and practical topics. This is how I can balance giving and receiving – sharing my own knowledge and experience while simultaneously receiving positive inspiration to continually improve, update my knowledge to become a knowledgeable, dedicated, and reputable lecturer.

After having a specific goal, determining a realistic and specific action plan is important to me. I have long-term plans (20 years – 10 years – 5 years) and short-term plans (1 year – 1 month) as well as weekly plans and daily schedules. Specifying what I need to do to pursue my dreams – goals will make me proactive and aware of how to use my time effectively, not wasting it on trivial matters. Finally, and most importantly, once the goals and plans are ready, getting started and taking action is the decisive factor! From my actions and outcomes, I can also “review” and update my long-term plans and goals to achieve a more balanced and effective life.

5. Spend More Time Talking to Yourself

As life becomes busier, we find less time to truly care for ourselves. For me, the more pressure, stress, and fatigue I encounter, the more I want to spend time for myself. Talking to myself, writing down all the thoughts I have and the events that make me feel anxious, worried, tired are practices I often apply. By writing down my thoughts, I can eliminate worries, unnecessary reasons, and understand more about my condition. Ask yourself how you are feeling, why you are falling into those negative emotions, and what you really need to overcome them? Listening to good music, eating delicious and healthy food, walking in the park, talking with close friends, or rewarding yourself with something you’ve long desired, a trip to explore new places are also ways I often practice. Why keep negative thoughts, boredom, and self-torment only to deal with the consequences sooner or later? Why be jealous, overly concerned about the lives of others while not having time to take care of oneself? Live for yourself, live for the present moment – something I always remind myself to lead a positive, healthy life.

6. Hope, Don’t Expect

I have spent a lot of time sharing, supporting, and placing a lot of expectations on others, hoping they would change in the way I thought or they would also care and help me whenever I faced difficulties. Moreover, I always wanted to please everyone I came into contact with. However, the more expectations and hopes I had, the more disappointed I became. The basic reason is that everyone has their own life, way of thinking, and unique actions. I cannot change how others think or act according to my way, and nobody can do the same with me. I also can’t please or satisfy everyone. For example, I know that some people will like, some will not, some will find joy, some will find boredom in reading these shares. Therefore, I have started to change my way of thinking to be more comfortable whenever I need to share with someone else. My simple goal is to share personal experiences, hoping to help others have an additional reference experience. However, I do not expect everyone to like it, someone to follow, or to impose my way of thinking on them.

Learning from others’ experiences or failures is valuable but don’t be a copy of anyone, in any situation, I still have to be myself. I also no longer wait or expect someone else to come and provide motivation for me to start doing something. The best way for me is still to create motivation for myself, have specific plans and goals, and just start acting. No one can bring as strong and enduring motivation as creating and maintaining it from oneself!

Don’t blame someone for disappointing you, blame yourself for expecting too much.

Hoa Nguyen

7. “Busy” for personal growth and living in the present

When I feel a lack of motivation and laziness, I often go back and ask myself why I started striving, think about what my life goals are, and what the outcomes and consequences would be if I continue to procrastinate.

I always maintain a high awareness of the value of time that each person has. It is a finite value, and I cannot predict when it will end. Life is not long enough for me to continue wasting time on worries or aimless thoughts, purposeless actions that will lead to regrets sooner or later in the future, and continuing negative, boring thoughts only gradually destroys myself. So why don’t I start doing something useful, even if it’s very small, and enjoy the time I have to live fully in the present moment?

The way I think is to be busy investing in and learning new knowledge and experiences, busy working, taking care of health, and spirit, and making myself have no time to waste on worries and anxieties. Whenever I have free time, I usually find something to learn: it could be a course on new technology, articles on health, nutrition, books on personal development, or conversations to learn from others’ experiences. And when I start working on something, learning something, or even when entertaining, I focus and do the best I can, make more decisive decisions, live fully in the moments of the present so that time passes meaningfully, and I won’t feel regret when looking back on the journey of effort that has passed. Stay focused, be present!

8. Avoiding jealousy and comparing oneself to others

Comparing oneself to others is a common habit in our current lives, especially when accessing new information from others has become too easy. I have also experienced difficult and stressful times when burdened with the mentality of comparing myself to others, especially when seeing the achievements of others, particularly peers. I have also felt uncomfortable and have engaged in critical discussions whenever I encountered boasting, arrogance, and underestimation of myself and those around me by others. Over time, I realized that this bad habit increasingly affects my spirit and my own development path, creating chaos in my life. Therefore, I have decisively chosen to stop comparing myself and being jealous of others’ words and “drama.”

With a different mindset, people often share their achievements and good things, few share the hardships they have gone through. If you are not involved, few know that behind those results and achievements are trade-offs, continuous efforts, and struggles to overcome many difficulties. After experiencing many ups and downs in life, I appreciate the joy and pride of others more and instead of feeling inferior or comparing myself to them, I see them as a source of positive energy, providing me with more motivation to try even harder. The more connected and surrounded by positive energy sources, eliminating jealousy and criticism, the more optimistic and loving life I become, continuing to live fully each day.

9. Purifying negative connections and controlling anger

Anger is a common and negative mental state whenever we encounter disagreements and conflicts in life. Whenever angry, our mental health is severely affected. I have often been irritated and annoyed by disagreements in viewpoints, criticisms, disdain, or condescending attitudes from others. However, I usually choose to be silent, restrain myself, and rarely want to escalate the conflict. And every time I remain silent, I suffer and torment myself more than ever. Therefore, I decided to find ways to quickly eliminate anger and keep peace of mind for myself.

Whenever I encounter disagreements and conflicts in viewpoints, I often set aside anger and think again about myself because I could also be at fault, have shortcomings, have not thought thoroughly and comprehensively. When I see others angry, I feel more sympathetic to them because anger only erupts when they can’t control their emotions and can’t keep calm, they have also had to struggle psychologically and be highly stressed. When others, especially close people, are angry with me, I always control my emotions, temporarily accept my faults and imperfections to maintain harmony. Then, I spend a lot of time thinking carefully about the issue from various perspectives, understanding the viewpoints and reasoning of others, they might have their reasons, and I have not fully analyzed the issue thoroughly. Building trust and nurturing a good relationship always takes a lot of time and effort, but breaking one is too simple if both sides do not have enough patience and trust in each other. Having a multidimensional view and controlling emotions has helped me a lot in eliminating anger.

For connections, relationships, and attitudes that are always negative, critical, and I have spent time sharing but were not respected, I always choose to disconnect and stay away. I can be silent and not care, disconnect and block their presence, and spend time thinking about them for more meaningful things – life has many useful things to do, no time to think about trivial matters. I will not be angry or annoyed with them because they also have their own reasons, but I can’t always waste time and energy continuing to absorb negative things into myself. The time and energy of each of us are limited, so I need to keep the time meaningful and maintain energy in a positive, effective way.

10. Sharing and maintaining positivity

To have good and positive friends, I must first be a good and positive friend. Eliminating negative elements always needs to be accompanied by establishing and maintaining positive things, positive relationships. I maintain learning and training myself every day to improve, be optimistic, and mature in thought and action. Whenever I learn new knowledge, draw a new lesson or experience, or find a new joy, I always want to share it with those around me, especially close friends, those who always encourage and share with me during difficult times.

Receiving and giving positivity makes me feel that life every day becomes more meaningful and valuable, even if it’s just small things. When I often fall into negative emotional states, I understand that even a word of encouragement, someone willing to listen and share with me in a moment can add energy for me to rise again. Whenever I help a friend, a student to strengthen their spirit, add a bit of motivation or provide suggestions, advice when they need to overcome difficult times, I feel my positive energy becomes full and more loving life. Those friends, those students are now the ones who always bring positivity, valuable experiences and lessons to me – relationships that I always cherish.

Current life already has too much pressure, why do we open our hearts to absorb more negativity instead of seeking, maintaining, and spreading positivity? One day, everything will eventually pass away – have we truly lived a meaningful life?

Let me borrow the melodies and lyrics of my favorite song One Day It Will Be All Over by the channel Fearless Soul to conclude this article:

Wishing you all the best!

Be Inspired, Stay Optimistic!

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