Are you wondering how staying positive in a negative world is possible? It seems everyday you’re faced with adversity and negativity that you must handle. You have two choices: Focus on the negative and wonder why you’re always dealt such a rotten hand in life; or focus on the positive and search for the lesson in every situation. Life is truly about the choices you make and choosing a positive or negative outlook is very much in your control.
Why Staying Positive in a Negative World is Important?
Barbara Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina and her research has proven that positive and negative thoughts each have an effect on our brains. Those with a positive outlook on life are open to more possibilities, look for opportunities to succeed, and are better problem solvers. Those with a negative outlook, however, focus strictly on the negative feelings or thoughts, which can lead to self-doubt, self-esteem issues, or depression. They also see fewer opportunities to escape their negativity.
Research Shows Positivity Impacts Productivity
Barbara Fredrickson’s study consisted of 5 groups of people: 2 groups were shown video clips that were joyful and produced positive feelings; 2 groups were shown video clips that evoked negative emotions; and 1 group was the control group who were not shown any video clips at all. Each person was then asked to answer a series of questions. The groups who viewed the positive videos were more likely to see solutions to problems than those who viewed the negative videos. In short, the positive group saw more possibilities with their lives. They broadened their minds with positivity and creative thinking rather than narrowing their focus to just negativity.
How Staying Positive in a Negative World Works in Every Situation
Everyday life is not filled with unicorns and rainbows. Life throws you curve balls which are not always easy to recover from. Unexpected occurrences can throw your day off kilter. Anger and frustration are natural emotions that should be acknowledged; however, the key is to put those negative emotions aside and focus on digging yourself out of the hole you fell into.
Step 1 = Find Gratitude
Step One is to find gratitude in the situation as being grateful naturally pushes you into a positive mindset. If you’re involved in a fender bender car accident, for example, be grateful you can walk away without injury. Or be grateful the damage to your car is limited to just the bumper. Be grateful the kids weren’t in the car with you. No matter how big the situation, find a glimmer of hope in your gratitude.
Step 2 = Look for the Lesson
Step Two is to look for the lesson that is taught. In the car example above, the lesson may be to keep more distance between cars or to be less distracted while driving. Maybe you’ve sent out 10 proposals to new prospects and all 10 have rejected your proposals. Your lesson is to look more closely at your offers and your pricing and make tweaks to attract more people.
Step 3 = Practice Self Care
Step Three is to practice self-care every day. Five minutes of meditation or a 10-minute walk at lunchtime can do wonders to clear your mind, improve your focus, and invite some positive vibes into your mind. Have no fear: You CAN learn how to become an optimist, even if you’ve spent years stuck in your pessimism. Staying positive in a negative world is possible by treating yourself well and allowing yourself time to train your brain to be grateful and to find the lesson in each event.
Kimberly “Design” Love is a lifestyle designer and author. After a successful career in interior design and architecture, she redesigned her own life, moved to paradise, and has turned her strengths and talents towards helping people design a lifestyle they love. Her latest book, Design Your Life & Business shares her strategy for designing a lifestyle you love.