Overcoming Negativity and Letting Positivity Grow

by Marianne  - March 7, 2012

Hi everyone,

I did a short video on how I try to get the best of my negativity. ย It has really helped me focus on actually improving things about myself. I was (and sometimes still am) quite harsh on myself and I can often let small set-backs get the better of me for a while. I have started reading a book by Joyce Meyer Battlefield of the Mind which has really opened my eyes to how much your thoughts impact on how your life turns out.

Anyway, I got thinking about how I can face so many physical challenges and reach my goals in the weights room (even after set-backs), yet emotionally and psychologically, my inner strength has some catching up to do. I started to imagine that all my stresses and negative thoughts etc as opportunities to prove myself, rather than evidence of failure.

I hope you will comment below and share your own personal techniques in overcoming negativity, either from your own thoughts, or by the hand of others ๐Ÿ™‚




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  1. Hi Marianne,

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog and I think it’s great. I am very dedicated to my health and wellbeing even with a 5 and 7 year old at home, working a full time job and being a single parent for half the year when my husband goes away to work. I just wanted to let you know your post about negativity really struck home with me. Often times I catch myself having these self defeating thoughts rolling around in my brain, sometimes without really knowing they are there. It seems to be much easier to put ourselves down than to build ourselves up. One thing I’ve found that helps is when I don’t reach a PR I wanted, or I don’t run as far or as fast as I would have liked, I remind myself at the end of the day I’m still a better person mentally and physically for it. Had I just decided to be a couch potatoe that day not get up and train, I’d have accomplished nothing. Anyway, just wanted to chime in on the discussion. Keep up the great work! p.s I’m a HUGE kettlebell fan. I started training with them 3 years ago and have never looked back! So glad that you incorporate them into your workouts.


    April from Prince Edward Island, Canada

  2. I think eventually we develop a compass that guides our behavior. We may stray, but we are always pulled back to what we care about and value. I’ve lived with a very negative person (my father) and I saw it pull his life apart and make almost everything unenjoyable. Sometimes I think of him as having sacrificed himself to show me what I did NOT want to be.

    No matter what my health or financial situation, I always remember that someone else has it worse than me, so I really don’t have much to complain about. Iโ€™ve learned to appreciate what I have when I have itโ€ฆ and Iโ€™ve had to learn that the hard way a couple of times. Iโ€™ve learned that who my friends are, says a lot about me, so my friends have changed over the years. Iโ€™ve learned what bothers me and I avoid those things, like gruesome movies. I try to treat others as I would like to be treated, as I never know which stranger might come back into my life and affect it. I know I have a limited time and I donโ€™t want to waste it on frivolous and unproductive things, so I mostly try to do my best all of the time. Its tiring, but I go to bed happy.

    Sure, I don’t stick to this perfectly, but everyday I wake up afresh with bright eyes and a bushy tail (well, I always wanted a tail.) I know I filter the world through the glasses of my choosing, so better something rosy, than something grey.

    And then, as my parents and some friends died, I got to wondering what people would remember of me when I was gone. No, its unlikely I am every going to do anything BIG, like say Steve Jobs, but I can still do something good and have people remember me fondly.

    All those ideas swirl in my head and guide me most of the time. And so I am usually pretty calm and centered. Hard exercise helps too!

    So on those rare occasions that I do obsess, I allow myself a little indulgence, but then I look at how I can do it better. For instance, Iโ€™ve always felt that everyone can be happy and successful if they work at it, but it does piss me off to see success at the expense of others. After a little grumbling, my answer is to work harder still, as honest successes the best revenge!

    ~ Gillian

    1. Wow, that makes me sound so high and mighty! That is not what I intended!

      I made choices in my life that limited my career, but substantially reduced my overall stress. Everyone’s personal situation is different, so your job, your co-workers, your commute, your home, your family life, your relationships… all contribute to stress and potential negativity. Some of those you can change, others you cannot.

      If you are stuck in a stressful situation that you know does bad things to your head, you have to find some way to diffuse it. That may mean facing the situation and trying to change it, or it may mean accepting it and using meditation or some other method to give it less power over you.

      I’ve noticed many people who start an exercise regimen complaining about the lack of support and even overt negativity from family and friends. That is a prime example of other people trying to push their negative thoughts onto you. Don’t accept it – they are scared and they don’t want you to change and improve over them, so they try hold you back. Keep at your goals, and ignore them. While you can’t change your family, you can change your friends and hang out with people who are more supportive of your goals.

      If that person sending negative messages is you, then you need to have a talk with yourself and find out why you are trying to sabotage yourself. Subliminal or self-hypnosis tapes may help with this. I’ve found that I’ve had move negative self-talk when I’ve had more free time. When I’ve been busy, I don’t have the time to waste negating what I am pursuing. I don’t doubt my abilities when I am in a dangerous or imperative situation: I just do what I must to get through it. Its only later that I might question myself.

      I think that is why writing goals and putting things on a schedule helps: you can break down the steps and hold yourself accountable to them.

      ~ Gillian

      1. Gillian, I don’t think you could ever be guilty of sounding high and mighty. I always find your comments full of wisdom in a grounded, supportive and humble way.

        Oh, and I ALWAYS wanted a tail too! LOL ๐Ÿ˜€ Seriously, when I was a child/early teen, my little sister and I used to imagine we were animals or humans with wings, tails and animal-like stealth haha! But I always had a tail ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Thank you for your comments. I always enjoy reading them.

    2. If you think you are beaten , you are. If you think you dare not , you don’t. If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost. If you’d like to win but think you can’t then it’s almost certain you won’t. For over the years you’ll find success begins with a persons will it’s all in the state of mind.

  3. Marianne, I love listening to your voice – it calms me and puts me in a happy place (not to mention you’re easy on the eyes haha). Anyway I enjoyed the video/thoughts.

    I’m really impressed with Matt Moran’s comment – the AIM thing seems like the best place to start. Good stuff! BC

  4. awesome video I also learnt a lot from the comments thank you!
    Since I started working out more than a year ago I’ve started becomming much more positive, and I feel great ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Cool! I use to watch her shows when I was a stay at home mom for 6 years. I’ve also read a few of her books. Good for you working on being positive. People are attracted to positive people. No one wants to be around negative people. You inspire me to get off my butt and go go go. Thanks!

  6. Hey Marianne!! Joyce Meyer huh? She’s awesome! I had her book Battlefield of the mind and resently got her updated versio..haven’t started it yet…been reading other books..finished one tonite called The Law of Confession by Bill Winston. Really good…our thots and words chart our course…I also saw the lady..forgot her name..doh! She was talking about our thots form trees in our minds…negative ones are toxic trees…you know the saying …you can’t see the forest for all the TREES!!! Haahhaa…so true sometimes….made me think of carol Burnett when her “mom” said Eunice you know what? You’ve got splinters in the windmills of your mind! Haahahaha! Oh that’s so good!! Congrats on all your growth and progress!!

      1. I finished my book last nite..pulled out my copy of Battlefield of the Mind…So I’m going to start it tonite..I’ll read it with you!!! Luv You! Keep moving forward!!! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  7. I find that negativity is a waste of energy. Stuff happens, life goes on. There’s always a way out – sometimes it hard, but you have to soldier on.

  8. Cont….oops I hit the button b4 I was done lol Anyway…I had seen Jordan in a show & he was promoting his brand but he also had his team which their was this Doctor in particular who really caught my attention. She was talking about how much info our brain is taking in per second & each thought we have is forming little trees inside our heads. So what ever we feed ourselves through music, tv, anything man…..our brain is forming these trees, toxic thoughts!! You can literally think yourself to getting sick…aint that crazy??? It’s true tho! When I heard this last year..had to make some serious changes in my life, I’m careful with the music I listen to now & I wont watch raded R movies no more, some people might laugh & think these are small things that really dont matter, but @ the end of the day its soft porn. It’s the same thing as when working out your big muscles you have to start with the smaller ones first, to help you out with your form and get you stronger in those areas, right? That’s why I;m thankful to you marianne…you’ve given me a lot advice, but I think the best advice you ever gave me was going out for a walk for an hr atleast once a wk….and I gotta tell you it’s my favorite time of the wk. I’m lucky I live close to lake so I go once a wk & I find my inner peace there. It’s important to train your body, but what about training your soul!!! It starts in the inside yall, once that’s being taking care of…..the rest will fall into place.

    God Bless,


    1. Hey Cita, I think you definitely have a point about us absorbing negativity from our environment. It becomes “acceptable” to judge people based on standards set by the media for example, or we can see how if you have friends who always bitch about other people, or complain, you can easily become like that too. It’s about striking a balance I guess, one that I am learning.

      I wish I had a beautiful lake near by so I could walk around it in peace. It sounds so serene ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your comment!

      1. One of the interesting things Seligman highlights in “Flourish” is that while negativity is contagious, so is learned optimism – actually positivity is *more* contagious, so by being positive you do everyone around you a service.

        There’re some pretty solid techniques that work in this area. It all breaks down to A.I.M.:
        A – Attend to the good. Notice when you feel good, what went well for you. Make a habit of listing at least 3 things that went well & what they meant for you, every day.
        I – interpret for the best: Anythime something happens that could be taken two ways, choose to interpret it the better way. You see a friend walking down the road & you call their name, but they kept walking – you could think they were defing you out, or you could think they just didn’t hear you. Choose the better option.
        M – Memorise the good stuff. Our brains are biased towards remembering the bad times because it’s an evolutionary, keep you alive kind of thing. If you keep a diary of what went well, & read back over it every week, it gradually sinks in that life is full of good things.

        AIM’s just the start, but it’s a great bootstrap into the other techniques – it’s been tried with people who’ve had PTSD & near catatonic depression, & worked, & shown to continue working a year after starting the techniques – far, far better than drugs.

  9. I love this post Marianne! I have spent the past few years really working on focusing my positive energy and it pays off. The law of attraction really fits in here as well. The more positive you give off, the more comes back to you.

    For me, the single greatest stepping stone in this part of my journey was in keeping a gratitude journal. Every day I write 5 things that I am grateful for – some days are tougher than others for sure. Changing WHAT you look at, changes the way that you see just about everything! It gives you the opportunity to focus solely on what is good in your life and can completely reframe your thoughts and feelings.

    Thank you for this post – incredible, inspiring and motivating in and of itself! Love Joyce Meyer too ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Lesley, thank you for this tip. I have heard of a few people now who keep gratitude journals and I think I will start one too. I sick of complaining about things, and I also am tiring of hearing the same people in my life ALWAYS complaining and judging and being pass-remarkable. It rubs off on me sometimes and I don’t like it!

      I just had a look at your website: Defining Balance. Great resource. How long have you had it going?

      1. Thanks so much Marianne! My website has been up since last fall but it is definitely a work in progress. I am trying to blog more and more as well. Just want to share my experiences in hopes that it can inspire someone else. I am just a normal work from home mom who has the same issues and struggles as everyone else.

        But with my experience as a massage therapist I have seen the cumulative effects of stress and poorly managed health. So it is my mission to help people manage their stress and their lives naturally, through healthy living.

        I just added your site to my list of resources too, hope that’s ok? Maybe I can convince you to come do a guest blog for me sometime ๐Ÿ˜‰

        And get to that gratitude journal! It will change your life!


  10. Hello marianne,

    So you’ve been reading Joyce Meyer huh? I knew their was somthing about you….I know now where your humbling spirit comes from. I love Joyce…havent read any of her books, but I check out her shows when I can & they are soooo inspiring. And this leads me to your question, How do I handle negativity??? I know that we all have more control over it than we think? More thant I ever thought. There’s this guy you need to check out his name is Jordan Rubin founder of ‘Beyond Organic’. He’s all about growing our food the way God had originaly intended.

  11. That’s excellent stuff – positive psychology’s not airy-fairy at all: it’s backed up by years of research including meta-studies, & it’s an area that Martin Seligman (tenured professor of Applied Psychology at Penn State, former president of the American Psychiatric Association & consultant to the US Army’s Master Resillience Training component of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness programme) has made a pretty full-on study of.

    Check out http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx – they have a number of online surveys there to help you recognise & then play to your own character strengths.

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