It is easy to become negative when there is so much stress at work and home, and every time we look at the news we see more dreadful headlines about natural disasters, war, disease and more. Negativity can soon become a habit if you don’t take action to try to look on the brighter side of things. This does not mean you have to be a Pollyanna and be cheerful all the time, but with her "glad game", she did have a point.
In the modern world, we would call it cultivating an attitude of gratitude. We might also call it reframing.
1. Being Grateful for What You Have
Instead of focusing on what you are lacking (the glass half empty), focus on and appreciate what you do have (the glass half full). You can make lists each day of a few things you are grateful for, to remind you of how fortunate you are compared with others.
2. Reframing Your Thoughts
The glass half empty versus half full is a good example of reframing. It is all a question of perspective.
For example, you might be annoyed that your boss has come to you with a last-minute rush job that is going to mean you have to stay late. You could resent and curse him (or her) under your breath. Or, you could view it as a positive. You should be flattered that the boss is turning to you for help because he knows you can get it done. You might also welcome it as a chance to show what you can do under pressure, which might one day lead to a promotion.
3. Tuning Out Negative Self-Talk
Another form of negativity most people need to learn how to cut down on is negative self-talk. If you are always criticizing yourself over the least little thing, it’s time for a change of perspective. Reframing can help here too.
Instead of focusing on the negative, try to see the positive. "I am bad at math" may be true, but you could look at it in a positive way and say, "But I can always work at it a little more so I can improve" or, "But I am really good at art."
4. Silence Your Critics
If you have people in your life who tend to nag, criticize, or generally push your buttons, it’s time to tune them out. Either spend less time with them, tell them thanks for their feedback, or change the subject. Use any effective strategy that will stop you engaging in their negativity.
Try these positive-thinking strategies and see what a difference they make to your outlook on life.
Next time we will look further at positive thinking by giving some tips for appreciating the little things in life.
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