6 simple ways to banish negativity (and bring in joy)

Published 29 February, 2016

Blast away the thoughts holding you back from happiness and success - and unearth reserves of motivation you never knew you had.

Blow it up!
‘Shut your eyes and visualise yourself blowing into a balloon, releasing all your negativity and emotions into it with each out-breath,’ says Sue Stone, success coach and author of Love Life, Live Life (Piatkus, £11.99). ‘Then let the balloon go and see it disappearing and getting smaller and smaller.’                            

Set the agenda
‘Resist the temptation to think, “It’s going to be one of those days” just because you’ve stubbed your toe this morning!’ says vitality coach Lisa Clifford. ‘If you think it will be a bad day, it will. Try thinking, “Today will be a good day” and enjoy the results. I do this in the shower every morning, focusing on my intention to make the day a good one, and imagining how satisfied I’ll feel at the end of it.’

Tear up old grudges
Bearing a grudge can elevate your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, increase muscle tension and might even lead to heart disease and stomach ulcers, according to US research. It can also lead to feelings of being out of control. ‘Sweep away these heavy negative feelings by writing a letter to the person involved. It feels very healing to get it off your chest. Then tear up or burn the letter — don’t send it,’ says Sue.

Find the feel-good factor
‘Look at what in your life makes you feel positive and energised and do more of it,’ says Lisa. ‘Whether it’s going on a bike ride or seeing friends, do more of the things that make you feel good.’ Alternatively, offer to help someone who needs it: ‘Giving up your time for others can give you a great feeling inside,’ says psychotherapist Jules McClean.           

Release yourself
‘If you feel low, anxious or downright annoyed whenever you think of a particular person, imagine them physically hooked onto you with a giant safety pin,’ says Sue. ‘See yourself physically undoing it, and sending them off into the distance, getting smaller and greyer as they disappear into the ether.’ Do this once a day and you’ll feel a real sense of release.                                                      

Write a letter
A study from Kent State University in America showed that writing letters of gratitude to people who have been a positive influence in your life improves happiness and life satisfaction.