Put a Time Limit on Negativity

Time and Energy Management

When I was a kid, my mom set a timer for almost everything we did.

Whether it was how long we spent doing our homework, weeding the garden, watching television, or complaining about life’s challenges.

1. Passing versus Permanent Difficulties

Setting time limits helped us understand that nothing lasts forever, good or bad.

This was especially important when we felt helpless over things we did not have control over, including chores we did not want to do.

2. Energy and Emotional Awareness

The egg timer principle can also be applied to how often we feel negative versus positive throughout the day.

Venting our negative emotions feels good in the moment, but when it goes on too long, the costs outweigh the benefits.

Too often we complain about stressors for hours beyond the momentary challenge.

Leaving little time in the day for appreciation, wonder, and gratitude.

Then one day we wake up and realize that life is too short to be all negative, all the time.

Interview with Candace Sampson on Energy Management

3. Respecting Other People’s Boundaries

Setting time limits taught us to respect how our words and actions impact others.

We learned the importance of asking permission before sharing our problems and difficulties.

“Is this a good time for you to listen to my problems? Or would later in the day / week be better?”

Boundaries go both ways, and few people have the capacity to listen seven days of the week.

Interview with Arms Bumanlag on Relationship Boundaries

4. Timer Motivation Technique

To this day I set a timer on the microwave or my cellphone.

A simple, yet effective way to motivate myself through tedious tasks and become more mindful of time itself.

Final Thoughts

Negativity is to be expected. It’s part of the human experience.

The question is: how long will you stay there?

Share your challenges. Share your obstacles. Share your difficulties.

But also leave room for what’s good in your life.

Joy needs room to breathe. And so do you.

Put a Time Limit on Negativity first appeared in my psychology column for The Drive Magazine™️

16 thoughts on “Put a Time Limit on Negativity

Add yours

  1. This is a balancing act for me – but I’m still upright and getting stronger every time I practice. Thank you for providing ideas that are achievable in our everyday living.

  2. Point 3 about relationship boundaries really resonated with me. Especially since the pandemic. Thank you. Emailing this post to a family member as an opening to a long overdue conversation.

  3. Absolutely stellar post! Negativity is real, but choosing to wallow in it is to our detriment. I love the timer idea–it’s a visual and auditory limit on whining! Thanks, my friend. As always, amazing ideas!

  4. Negativity is a guest just passing through and not a friend moving in permanently. Thank you for sharing this technique and something I can use in future situations. Have an awesome day 🌞💛🌻

  5. Wonderful post and a great reminder to us all, especially about holding onto to negative emotions… They do not serve us.. and while all of us need to feel ALL of our emotions, you laid out perfectly why we need to limit ourselves not to over indulge.

    Life is a fine balance… And the world is dualistic in nature.. and agree boundaries are so needed and we need to remember to set those boundaries too within our own emotional bodies.
    Being empathic I have learnt the hard way… So I take my breaks often as I recharge, observe, and remember to love and respect myself more often as well as others.. 🙂 For we are no use to others if we do not take care of ourselves..

    Much love Andrea… and thank YOU for this and your recent visit.. Much appreciated.

  6. Very well articulated Dr Andrea 🙏🙏How long should we hold on to negativity mot much importance should we give to it? ‘Why me?’ is only associated with negative occurrences whereas positive outcomes are accepted without a whimper. Setting boundaries ..timelines is a good way forward. I got into this habit of following set timings for studies, games, meals, sleep and all which have stuck with me till date and I do feel irritated if the timings are upset for no reason.
    God bless you Dr Andrea🌹🙏🌹Keep inspiring…keep healing ..keep spreading happiness. 🙏🌹🙏

  7. I bought an egg timer because of this article! Thank you! I have two young kids and I am hoping to show them vs tell (yell) them better ways of using all that precious energy of theirs. Bonus = it will help me and my hubby too ⏰♥️

  8. So true Andrea, your mum was a wise lady.
    Strangely enough I had never heard of the word boundaries until attending pre retirement counselling as part of n.h.s retirement policy.
    This state of affairs Seemed all the more curious as I had worked full time (apart from a sickness absence) for 39 years in the ‘caring’ profession.
    As children we were encouraged to keep your troubles to yourself.
    I will have a look at the links.
    Thank you for sharing 💖

    1. Best wishes to you to Amitav! The pandemic shifted where I put my time and energy. Hence this article: a refresher and reminder to give joy room to breathe. Especially during adversity. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! May your writing continue to bring you peace and happiness as it does for all your readers. Andrea

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