Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

Having a hard time with any negativity in your life?

We’re approaching the holiday season, which can mean lots of busyness and extra obligations. Whether you’re trying to deal with negative thoughts, or negative people, there may be challenges.

It isn’t easy eliminating negativity from your life; but it’s possible to make life, and the holidays run more smoothly.

In case being ‘hangry’ isn’t familiar, read on. We’ll share some ideas.


Our emotions play a huge role in how we behave and think. While it may seem like they’re automatic, we’re more in control of our emotions than we might realize. We’re not saying that it’s easy to change mindset. The holidays are a time when our emotions can easily get triggered.

First, brain changes occur when we feel emotions such as happy, sad or angry. These emotions cause physical reactions. Notice how, when we’re scared, the heart beats faster? Even smells, like pumpkin pie cooking, can trigger mouth-watering hunger.

Also, when we feel emotions, we start to think differently. Studies show when we’re happy, we tend to think of happier memories. However, when we’re sad, we think more about sad memories. Our physical mood and mental state elicit different thoughts.

The third thing that happens with emotions, is a change in behavior. If we’re feeling sad, we often want to retreat and not talk to anyone. If we’re are angry, we could seek out a fight with someone.

So, our emotions have three different parts, each seemingly triggered automatically. However, once we understand emotions, we realize it’s possible to change how they affect you.


Unfortunately, it seems that, as humans, we’re hardwired for negativity.

Experts believe this goes back to evolution. In the past, we had to be alert to see the bad things so we could stay alive.

Our minds had to be ready for danger. The threats of today are not the same as many years ago, but our brains still look for ways to protect us.


The reason why negative stuff seems to impact us more than positive things is because of negative bias. Our minds recognize negative things more readily, and also dwell on them more.

Bad things stick in our memory much easier and can have a much greater impact on our behavior than positive stuff.

Negative information triggers a more powerful response in the brain. This indicates we can experience a more significant shift in behavior and attitude when we are faced with negativity.

Without keeping it in check, our negativity can affect our relationships, decision-making ability, and our perception

of other people.


Did you know that, without realizing it, negativity is often a result of the things we do? So, what type of behaviors and activities do you think contribute to a negative mood?

Alcohol is one of the leading causes of negativity. Known to be a depressant, drinking too much alcohol can cause people to fixate on the bad stuff, putting them in a permanently bad mood.

People may also find they get angry and frustrated when they’re hungry. The term “hangry” has become popular to identify this combination of negative emotion involving hunger and anger.

Stress is also a major contributor to a negative mood. If we are constantly stressed out, the body produces excess cortisol. This is known to lead to anxiety, muscle pain, irritability and affects the heart negatively.

Also, watching the news could be contributing towards negativity. Many people make the mistake of watching the news as soon as they wake up. However, we find that most news today is negative. This means, from the minute we wake up, we’re filling our minds with negativity.

Social media is another major contributor towards negativity. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy. Many people have also become addicted to these platforms.

So, if lots of time is browsing social media sites, cutting back will help to reduce the negativity in life.


Changing negativity involves surrounding ourselves with positivity — positive people in positive environments.

And change negative thoughts into positive ones. The more we do this, the easier it becomes. As Mary Engelbreit said, “If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

What about you? We encourage you to use the ideas set forth here.

And we wish you a happy, not ‘hangry,’ holiday season.

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at