Before, we discussed how a negative attitude can adversely affect a person’s health. Luckily, experts say you can change your ways regardless of how long you have been in a negative thinking slump.
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking (don't miss part 1). They say the process is simple, but it does take time and practice —after all, you’re creating a new habit!
In my personal experience, when someone around me is being negative, I find that it really affects my mood. How so? Here is an example.
My husband is a third shift worker and when he is just getting off of work, I am heading to work. This means we are on opposite schedules 90% of the time. Think of your regular work day. Everything that went on at work, usually sticks with you till the end of the day when you can finally talk to someone about it. If my husband had a rough night at work that resulted in a bad attitude, it typically spills over into our conversation. Let me tell you, the last thing I want to hear at the start of my day is how bad his day was. Sometimes, because of his bad night, it affects his thinking and before you know it the whole conversation is negatively affected and I’m annoyed by the time I’m off the phone.
Because of our schedules, I have had to adjust my way of thinking and create new habits when it comes to our morning conversations. I can’t hold it against him for being in a bad mood, but sometimes I ask him a couple questions to try to bring what happened into perspective. Sometimes this works, while other times it doesn’t and I have to be the one who changes my way of thinking and let him be in a negative mood while I remind myself this doesn’t have to affect the rest of my day.
What works for me when trying to think positive?
When service is slow at a restaurant: I often try to remind myself what it must be like to work in a place where what other people do affects how quickly you can get your job done. For example: getting upset at the waitress when really something in the kitchen is what held up your food.
When someone is tailgating you while driving: Instead of being that person who taps my breaks or purposely slows down to make that person more aggravated, I get into the other lane or wave them around me when the road is clear. They must have somewhere to be that’s very important, right?!
When I am sore or do not feel the greatest: I think to myself that there are far more people that have bigger things going on. My back hurts? What about the person who can’t walk because of back problems? I’m tired? Put on a smiling face and maybe that will make it easier to wake up and get through the day. In my opinion, it’s better not to pout. And like I said before “fake it till you make it”.
If you find it hard to find the other side of a story or think that there is no way you can be wrong, there are also questions that you can ask yourself to help you get on the path to positive thinking. Carthage Buckley is an experienced learning and development professional who specializes in mentoring, coaching, and providing people with motivational skills. He has had great success in giving people the ability to empower themselves to make the positive changes they are looking for. On his website, Carthage listed “14 Questions to help you overcome your negative thinking”. Listed below are great questions for everyone to ask themselves.
- Is this fact or just my opinion?
- Could I be wrong?
- Why am I so certain of the conclusion I have reached?
- What assumptions am I making?
- What evidence is there to support/dispute my thinking?
- Who says things should be this way?
- When I felt like this before, what did I do to change my viewpoint?
My Challenge to you: For the next 5 days, try to take a sour situation and put a positive spin on it. Just today, I read this quote on a friend’s social media account, author unknown “Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.” Meaning you ask? When I have a conversation with someone that has a negative tone, it seems like that person is battling the other possibility, the other side of the story. When I try to show light or perspective on the other side, I am told why I am wrong. Pick your battles, believe it or not, you will find you’re more calm and comfortable when you’re not constantly upset about something. Put any frustration into your workout and visit your corporate or senior fitness center for some exercise!