“Men think that you must halt before the barrier of inner negativity. You need not. You can crash through… whatever we see a negative state, that is where we can destroy it.” ~ Luc de Clapiers, Marquis De Vauvenargues

It’s easy to become entrapped by a cycle of negativity. Negative thoughts and energy, just like positive thoughts and energy, are literally contagious and propagate themselves.

But any cycle of negativity can be transformed into a positive one by making the choice to do so and then intently focusing on it.

Oftentimes, the key to breaking any cycle of negativity is to shift your state of mind and alter your current perspective. Alternatively, and when in doubt, tell yourself to return to what is simple — spending time in nature, speaking with friends — and what’s positive — laughing and smiling.

If you want to learn how to break cycles of negativity, keep reading below.

6 Ways to Break Any Cycle of Negativity

1. Return to Nature

To break a cycle of negativity, return to nature. Go for a walk. Sit outside. Take a drive to the water, sit and take it all in. Breathe.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,

“In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, which nature cannot repair.”

Returning to nature helps us escape the chaos and commotion of daily life. By taking some time to immerse yourself in nature, you begin to feel more at ease, peaceful, grounded and in sync to the natural rhythms of life that seem to say, “Nothing is lacking.”

Feel the crunch of each step on a hike in the woods. Listen to the waves crashing over the shore and the sound of the wind passing through the trees. Embrace the simplicity and beauty of nature. Return to a purer, less cluttered, simpler sense of self.

It’s hard for negativity to exist in nature, because nature is entirely present.

2. Focus on the Moment

We become trapped by negative thoughts by thinking too much of the future or the past.

A simple remedy to abandon a cycle of obsessive over-thinking is to focus on the small stuff: the present moment, here and now.

Boil down your attention and focus on something small but meaningful.

Feel through your other senses: touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight.

Focus on the touch of grass, the smell of the air, the feeling of your heartbeat. Intently breathe in and out with each breath.

3. Take “the Long View”

When the present moment is burdened with unbearable pain and discontent, shift your perspective away from the “right now” and onto the big picture.

Focus on the long view: Envision the multitude of benefit that will ultimately become of you from this bout of growth that we did not wish upon ourselves, but has chosen you. Remember how time helps heal all wounds.

4. Examine the Thinker

A unique concept that I first learned about from New Age author Eckhart Tolle is the practice of observing “the thinker.”

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Envision yourself as having a higher consciousness that resides outside of the confines of your own head: above and beyond your mind, where your thought processes occur.
  • Literally imagine the workings of your mind and brain and thoughts as, although a part of you, a separate entity that can be observed — not an inseparable component of who you are.

Examining the thinker is to imagine your mind as a part of you — not who “you” are — like your hands, which you can look down upon and watch, although you are attached to them and control their movements.

What is your “thinker” thinking, and why?

Is the bout of negativity silly, superfluous, unnecessary, simply catering to your own sense of ego? Providing you with some woe-is-me sense of purpose? What is the root of the negativity that “the thinker” is harping upon?

5. Surround Yourself with the People You Love

Seek out the ones you love and who love you. Don’t believe they exist? That’s not true. Reach out to a friend! Turn the focus on them and see how it feels to surround yourself with outside considerations — to break the spell of negativity.

Surround yourself with thoughts of all those who you care for, and who care for you!

List them. Count! One by one.

Feel gratitude and contentment that they are in your lives.

Appreciate the relationships and friendships that you share with these other beings. Consider the simple miracle that is their very existence: that, out of the millions and millions of possible genetic combinations, defying the odds of luck and chance, they have come to be born and are now a part of your life!

Intently enjoy their company.

6. Laugh (Never Stop Laughing)

Happiness, laughter, and smiles are enlivening and spirit-lifting! They connect human begins on a level greater than we often fully appreciate. Laughter, happiness and smiling are common denominators among all human beings: we all naturally recognize, appreciate and connect through smiles and laughter.

To easily break a bout of negativity, just laugh! Be playful. Let yourself release from negativity by feeling lightness of joy — from comedy specials on Netflix to playing with joyful kids.

These acts of radiating positive energy bind us.

They transcend human beings’ skin-deep differences, weave between us and intertwine us.

Never, ever stop laughing.