The more we increase our positive level of awareness, the more the negativity of others can become increasingly difficult to be around. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in our lives could keep pace with our growth? Since often that’s not the case, the good news is that you can take steps to encourage others to shift from a negative perspective to a more positive perspective. Some of the following tips are most suitable for on-going relationships, whereas others are more appropriate for casual or one-time interactions. These techniques can be effective by using one or two consistently, or changing it up by using a whole array of methods.
What are some great ways to help others improve their mood or outlook?
With people you see often and/or intimately, think of helping them shift their perspective as a long-term endeavor. By consistently narrating your optimistic emotions, thoughts, and responses to day-to-day happenings, you can model a different approach. Reactions and emotions are habitual. By demonstrating fresh, uplifting ways that you see the world, or you react to challenges, you can potentially shift another person's behavior and thoughts in the long run.
2. Find something to appreciate.
Being around a negative person can be draining; their energy feels contagious. If you jump into the well with them, however, you cannot rescue them. Instead stay up and try to keep rising. To resist the drop in joy you feel by judging them, instead find something to appreciate about that person to elevate your mood and keep you out of the well. It can be tiny or superfluous, but focusing on some likable attribute will keep your energy more positive.
3. Be kind first.
When you have a history with someone, it's tempting to react rashly based on that history. Try, instead, to pause and take the time to be kind first. It takes a mature, enlightened person to behave kindly. This advice does not mean that one should allow others to mistreat or abuse you, but rather begin with the intention and actions of kindness in all your interactions, all the time. Also, make the assumption that the other person will be kind as well. Expectations are like magnets.
4. Be happy around those individuals as often as possible.
Just as negativity is contagious, happiness is as well.
5. Carry a little something with you that you can share.
Whatever little item catches your eye and brightens your day, carry some with you and hand them out with a smile when the moment is right. The item could be a seashell, a little heart-shaped rock, a small stone with an uplifting word painted on it, a sticker, a happy face trinket, etc.
For someone who needs a little more of a boost, when you hand him or her the item, say, "this always brought me some good luck and I want you to have it!"
6. Share a memory.
When you have a long-term relationship with someone who is consistently negative, ignore his or her encumbered mood, on occasion, and share a happy memory you have about him or her. It's impossible to sustain a positive and a negative thought simultaneously. Thus, by bringing their focus to a happy memory that they hold, their mood can potentially shift.
7. Surprise him or her.
Show a person that you are thinking of him or her through notes, unexpected visits, or cards for no reason, etc. They may be cranky because they are not surrounded by love or playfulness. In addition, even the most negative person may have an innate realization that they do not want to risk losing you, the happy one. That gut feeling may even cause them to eventually be at their personal best around you.
8. Don’t criticize.
Have you ever met someone that really likes unsolicited criticism? Criticism is met with defensiveness. It is our nature to preserve the “selected” identity by which we are currently living and that identity includes all of our choices in manners, appearance, language, habits, and possessions. An attack on one’s mood or views is often perceived or felt as an attack of one’s being. It hurts. We all want to be loved and appreciated, not criticized or made to feel inferior or inadequate.
If you really feel the importance of giving unsolicited advice to a negative person, there are countless ways to make suggestions that are not hurtful. Be liberal in trying to understand their views to see if you can find a similarity between you and them. Consider mentioning how such a circumstance echoed something you had experienced and how you achieved a favorable resolution. Talking about you, rather than them, helps them to appreciate that you are coming from a place of understanding instead of criticism. And it allows you to be heard instead of shut down.
9. Change the subject
Redirect the conversation. Perhaps ask a question about something that matters to the other person. Talking about him or her usually deflects the focus. Follow this suggestion over and over again. Perhaps, they will realize, on some level, that you are no longer an audience for their misery.
10. Never underestimate the power of a genuine compliment.
A compliment from the heart feels great to receive. With a little imagination, you can find something positive about an individual and point it out when they're feeling negative.
11. If all else fails, exit gracefully.
If you no longer make your soil fertile for their negative seeds to grow, they will eventually find somewhere else to plant them.
Helping others shift to happier perspectives is rewarding on so many levels.
You feel uplifted because you made someone else feel better.
Their increase in positive energy echoes back to you.
Your risk of being brought down dissipates.
That person now potentially will be more fun to be around to the next people he or she encounters; thus, the ripples of goodness keep extending.
It feels good to feel good!