The Dreaded Negativity Spiral

In her newsletter today, Nataly Kogan of Happier Now, shared this tidbit that spoke to me:

Here’s the question I ask myself that helps me to immediately pause my negative thought spiral when I get caught in one:

Is this way of thinking helpful?

The answer is always no. Every single time. It’s amazing how simple yet powerful this question is.

Once I realize that indulging my negative thoughts isn’t helpful, I can make a choice to shift. It’s not always easy, but it’s absolutely possible.

Happier, with Nataly Kogan, July 28, 2020

At this very moment, I’m not in a negativity spiral; in fact I’m feeling as normal as a person getting ready for a reorg and dealing with sick people all around me can feel. But, from what I hear and from my own experience, the negativity can jump out and make its presence known quite suddenly and quickly. I think even the most resilient among us is finding it challenging to keep looking to the bright side these days.

The shift from negativity that Kogan refers to is what intrigues me. It seems like there may be lots of ways to accomplish this, and I’d be interested in knowing how some of you do it.

A couple of my strategies are:

  • Get going with the supportive self talk. Remind yourself that you are doing your best and your best is good enough, in fact, great!
  • If it’s someone’s actions or words that send you toward negativity, see if you can come up with a possible motivation or intent that is positive; remembering things don’t always come across the way people intend them to.
  • If you’re overcome with a mood out of nowhere, quickly engage in your favorite mood-changing activities: take a walk, do deep breathing, sing, visit your favorite funny meme or video site. The sooner you do it, the less chance that a mood can grip you for long.

Being good to ourselves really helps us be more resilient and optimistic (okay, some of us are aiming for neutral, I know). Nataly Kogan also gave out these ideas today, so I’ll share them, too:

Thanks, Nataly!

While I’m at it, I’m going to reach out to a couple of people I know are not feeling well, which always helps me feel more positive, myself.

Onward in good cheer!

Book Report: Can We, Should We, Be “Happier Now?”

They started a book club at work, where everyone is to read some self help book. Even though I had to miss the first meeting, I have been dutifully reading Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones), by Nataly Kogan. Kogan is a Russian immigrant who founded the “Happier” app, which I used for a little while then got nothing out of, because no one else I knew was using it and I probably didn’t quite “get it” at the time. Still, I figured this lady would know something about happiness, since it was her job.

It’s certainly a cheerful-looking book!

I was dubious about this book, to start out with. After all, I’ve read plenty of self help books about learning to love myself as I am, embrace my imperfections, and be kind to myself. I have said more than once that Brené Brown saved my life and that I should re-read The Gifts of Imperfection annually. Her books are how I became the much-less neurotic Suna who writes these blogs.

I told myself that, since I have already turned around my negative self-talk (I scare myself sometimes when I find my inner voice saying stuff like, “I feel great!” or “I’m happy today.”), I really don’t need another book on this topic. Of course, I conveniently forgot that I vowed to read books on this kind of thing yearly, to remind myself of how I want to be in the world.

Continue reading “Book Report: Can We, Should We, Be “Happier Now?””