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The Cancerous Nature of Negativism: 5 Ways to Destroy It Using Mental Agility

Negativism is Cancerous! If we don't crush it, it will infect all of our team and destroy us all!

That is a statement I first heard my freshman year of high school. Our football coach gave us a lecture on the weight room and how it related to life. Imagine an old school wagon wheel with multiple spokes.

So at the center hub is the weight room. Now think of labelling each spoke with an aspect of your life: relationships, work, school, parenting, etc. If you bust your butt in the weightroom, you can carry this same attitude and work ethic to the remainder of your life. But if you choose to be lazy and negative towards it, pretty soon it is like a growing cancer that will consume your entire life.

Since that time, it has resonated with me and I have attacked my life from that day forward.

One of my favorite quotes is:

"If you are the same tomorrow as you were today, you aren't any better!"

I had that quote taped on my bathroom mirror and read it every morning. How can I make myself better today? Do one more rep? Go for a run after practice? Hit the weights after a grueling football practice? Study for 30 more minutes to learn one new concept?

I always try to see the positives in my daily encounters but sometimes it is really difficult. Some people are just so negative that they will bring you down and infiltrate the entire room.

Negativity is an insidious force that can infiltrate our thoughts, emotions, and actions, leading to a host of detrimental consequences. Often fueled by pessimism and a focus on what's wrong rather than what's right, negativism can be likened to a cancer that spreads throughout our minds, affecting our well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. However, armed with the power of mental agility, we can combat this destructive force and cultivate a positive mindset. In this blog post, we will explore the cancerous nature of negativism, delve into the importance of mental agility, and provide five effective ways to destroy negativism.

Understanding the Science Behind Negativism:

Negativity bias, a well-documented psychological phenomenon, explains our tendency to give more weight to negative experiences and thoughts. This bias served our ancestors well by promoting survival instincts, but in today's world, it can lead to a disproportionate focus on negativity. Numerous studies, such as those conducted by Baumeister et al. (2001) and Rozin and Royzman (2001), have highlighted the powerful impact of negative emotions on our cognitive processes, social interactions, and overall well-being.

Cultivating Mental Agility:

Mental agility refers to the capacity to adapt and flexibly respond to changing circumstances. It involves training our minds to be open, adaptable, and resilient, enabling us to counteract negativism effectively. Research has shown that mental agility is associated with enhanced emotional intelligence (Brackett and Mayer, 2003), better problem-solving skills (Berg, 2016), and improved well-being (Lomas et al., 2017). By developing mental agility, we can empower ourselves to overcome negativism's grip and foster a positive mindset.

Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude:

Mindfulness, rooted in ancient contemplative practices, has gained substantial recognition in recent years for its ability to counteract negativism. By focusing on the present moment without judgment, we can detach from negative thoughts and emotions, reducing their influence over us. Research by Keng et al. (2011) and Hülsheger et al. (2013) has demonstrated the positive effects of mindfulness on stress reduction, emotional regulation, and cognitive flexibility. Additionally, cultivating gratitude has been found to promote positive emotions and counteract negative affect (Wood et al., 2010). Engaging in daily gratitude practices, such as keeping a gratitude journal or expressing appreciation to others, can help shift our focus from negativity to positivity.

Embrace Positive Psychology Interventions:

Positive psychology interventions, designed to enhance well-being and promote positive emotions, offer valuable tools for combating negativism. Activities such as practicing optimism, engaging in acts of kindness, savoring positive experiences, and fostering social connections have been shown to decrease negative affect and increase overall happiness (Seligman et al., 2005). By integrating these evidence-based interventions into our daily lives, we can actively work towards eradicating negativism.

Surround Yourself with Positivity and Support:

Our environment plays a crucial role in shaping our thoughts and emotions. Surrounding ourselves with positive, supportive individuals who radiate optimism can help counteract negativism's influence. Research by Fowler and Christakis (2008) has shown that emotions, both positive and negative, can be contagious within social networks. By consciously choosing to spend time with positive-minded individuals, participating in uplifting activities, and seeking support when needed, we can create a supportive network that fosters a positive mindset.

Negativism, akin to cancer, can eat away at our mental well-being and overall quality of life. However, armed with the power of mental agility, we can actively combat negativism and cultivate a positive mindset. By understanding the science behind negativism, embracing mental agility, practicing mindfulness and gratitude, engaging in positive psychology interventions, and surrounding ourselves with positivity and support, we can dismantle negativism's stronghold and pave the way for a more fulfilling and positive existence.


  • Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenauer, C., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Bad is stronger than good. Review of General Psychology, 5(4), 323-370.

  • Rozin, P., & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(4), 296-320.

  • Brackett, M. A., & Mayer, J. D. (2003). Convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity of competing measures of emotional intelligence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(9), 1147-1158.

  • Berg, K. (2016). Mental agility: A multi-component approach. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 19, 170-179.

  • Lomas, T., Medina, J. C., Ivtzan, I., Rupprecht, S., & Hart, R. (2017). Eudaimonia and hedonia relations to experience and trait well-being: Intervention development and construct validation. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(2), 473-499.

  • Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1041-1056.

  • Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310-325.

  • Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905.

  • Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.

  • Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2008). Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: Longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 337, a2338.

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