Last week in part one of In Life and Lifting – Control the Negative, I talked about controlling the negative, or eccentric portion of your lift for greater muscle gains. I also talked about how it seems there is the possibility of helping to improve injuries using eccentric lifting, at least based on a couple of experiences I’ve had with it. Today I want to talk about how it’s not only import to control the negative with your lifts, but also the negatives in your life.

Cheesy analogy? Perhaps, but I like it. After all if you are after a happier, more muscular life, controlling both of these things will certainly help get you there. So what do I mean by controlling the negative in your life? How does one go about controlling the negatives in their life? Certainly a large part of it is in each person’s nature. Just like some people rise to the occasion and handle pressure well while others struggle, people are just different.

Does that mean you can’t change your mental toughness? I don’t think so. You can’t always control negative things from happening in your life, but you can try to control how you let them effect you. How you react to negative situations plays a huge role in how it will affect your attitude. Do you only look at the negative side of everything and try to avoid anything positive on purpose? It may sound silly to some, but this is a fairly common practice for those who struggle with health and happiness.

One of the ways you can try to overcome this is to start breaking things down individually instead of lumping all negative things together like it is so easy to do. Often in life it seems like when it rains it pours. I recently read an article by one of my favorite blogs over at This article talks about positive and negative snowballing.

What you can do is start breaking down negative events individually which is a much better way to handle negative things in your life. Say for instance your car broke down, then your dog died, and then you didn’t get that job you were after. It would be easy to lump these events together and think they have something to do with each other, when in actuality they are all completely separate events that have nothing to do with each other.

If you can break them down individually and focus on each event by itself it’s much less overwhelming. Look at each event and see how things could have been worse. How maybe you are lucky things weren’t much worse than they were. Your car broke down but at least you weren’t hurt. Maybe your dog was really old and sick and was really uncomfortable. Maybe that new job wouldn’t have been what you were thinking and perhaps “everything happens for a reason.”

On the positive side of things you want to do just the opposite. Take note of each positive thing you do and be proud of it, no matter how small. Did you get your workout in today? Great! Did you avoid temptation and not eat that cookie you were offered? Awesome! Don’t just skip by these things like they are nothing, use that positive energy to fuel you. Then when the negatives do come about, they will be easier to control because you are in a better mood to start. I think we can all agree it’s easier to control the negatives when you are in a good mood than it is when you are already in a bad mood.

Pay attention to what puts you in a good mood and try to remember that when you face tough situations. You know you feel great when you get your workouts in and when you make smart food choices. Choose to make yourself happy and proud of yourself. Figure out why you tend to make poor choices when you know it feels so much better to make the right ones. Come up with an action plan to correct that behavior so when those triggers do arrive you know what to do and you aren’t relying on your instincts you may not yet trust.

When you are faced with negative situations, stop and think before you react and get overwhelmed. Clear your head and think about how you can better the situation instead of thinking “Here we go again.” The knee jerk reactions that come from a negative situation are rarely, if ever, good ones. Think to yourself, “How can I control this negative? What are some of the positives?” If you can stop yourself from automatically getting upset and overwhelmed when negative situations arise, you’ll stand a much better chance to make positive changes in your life.

I can’t stress it enough, you need to be able to control the negatives in life to be happy. You don’t have to react a certain way when bad things happen and you can choose to focus more on the positives than the negatives. Don’t accept that you are the way you are and you can’t change. Everyone can change. It may take time and practice, but you can get there. Just remember that in both life and lifting, you must control the negative!

Happy Lifting!

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