Negativity surrounds us. We hear it on the news, in the media, from a coworker, and even from ourselves. It is easy to fall into patterns of negative thinking. What is more difficult is to actually change your way of thinking entirely and think positively. Though challenging, this is what we all need to strive for. Thinking positively and letting go of negativity is not only good for our mental health, but also for our physical health and overall well-being. While it is simple to talk about the power of positive thinking, implementing this into our everyday lives is not always an easy task. Negative thoughts and feelings tend to overpower the positive ones. I often ask myself and my clients, how can we change this tendency? It starts by bringing awareness to your thought process and beginning to embrace the positive side of things!
Studies have proven that the human mind tends to shift to the negative more often and more quickly than to the positive side of things. In a recent Ted Talk, psychologist Alison Ledgerwood talks about this phenomenon and why we gravitate towards negative thinking. She conducted a few simple experiments to investigate positive versus negative thinking. In one test, she told two groups of participants about a new surgical procedure. The first group was told the procedure had a 70% success rate and the other group was told the procedure had a 30% failure rate. The first group was in favor of the surgery, whereas the second group was not. Alison then informed the two groups about the failure/success rate. The first group was told that although there was a 70% success rate, there is also a 30% failure rate. Immediately, the first group changed their minds and they were no longer in favor of the procedure. However, when the second group was informed about the 70% success rate, they were still not in favor of the surgery. Their minds were stuck with the initial negative perspective (Ideapod, July 2017).
Alison’s study proves that it is inherently easier to negatively switch our minds, but it is far more difficult to switch them in a positive manner. As your South Bay therapist, my hope is to help you build your capacity to more easily shift from a negative to a more positive outlook. In order to accomplish this feat, I suggest practicing and incorporating some of these strategies into your daily life:
These small actions can truly help you live a more positive life. If each of us can start by incorporating these four doable techniques into our daily lives, we will be able to spread more positive energy to those around us, rather than negative energy. By simply trying to forgive more, we may see a shift in our own thinking. Everyone is going through something different each day; we all have our own struggles. If we can be more forgiving of those around us, we will carry more positive energy with us and will not become the bearers of more negativity. For example, if someone at work is having a rough day, they may lash out or not treat you with respect. By understanding that they might be going through something personal and forgiving them for their actions, we will stop the spread of negativity in its tracks (Ideapod, July 2017).
Together, let’s work to live a more positive life. I think we can each learn something important from Alison Legderwood’s studies and discussion about changing our thought processes. Each day I encourage my clients to think about one or two ways in which they can change from a negative to a more positive mindset. As your South Bay therapist, if you feel as though negative energy is weighing you down, let’s talk about it. Please call my Hermosa Beach office to schedule a consultation today! Positive thinking is achievable; together, we can let go of the negatives.