Channeling Negative Thoughts into Positivity

July 13th, 2022

What an incredible time we are living through.  The highs are high and the lows are low.  I don’t know about you, but I find the lows take me way down while the highs are only celebrated briefly.  Why is that?  Why are we indexed to the bad news? 

Negative information causes a surge in activity in a critical information processing area of the brain, our behaviors and attitudes tend to be shaped more powerfully by bad news, experiences, and information, according to Alina Tugend.  In addition, bad events wear off more slowly than good ones according to research completed by Roy F. Baumeister, a professor of social psychology at Florida State University and author of “The Power of Bad:  How Negatively Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It.”

The reason can be traced back to evolution….in order to survive we had to focus on the dangers and risks to our survival all the time.  The good news, there are a number of ways to make improvements to our focus on the negative. 

In reviewing the multitude of options, the ones that resonated with me are listed below:

1. Channel Negative Thoughts Into Something Constructive

Negative thought patterns can easily take over, but a fantastic (and constructive) trick is to identify what the negative thought pattern is and a project you’re excited about. Then, consciously commit to this: Every time you find yourself focusing on the negative, refocus your thoughts for five minutes on your exciting project. I did this recently and a new initiative is now ahead of schedule!   – Emily Kapit, MS, MRW, ACRW, CPRWReFresh Your Step, LLC

2. Focus On Gratitude

Gratitude is underrated by most but is essential to a happy life. Life doesn’t get easier, but we become stronger as we reframe difficulties by recognizing all of the little good things going on around us. Keep a Good List and refer to it daily. Also, focus on what you really want and be very specific. A focused, positive mind will attract what it is seeking over time.   – Jen

3.  Move Your Body

Just get up and move.  Walk, run, lift, cycle, try a new class, stretch, play with your kids in the pool and you will immediately feel more optimistic, powerful, grateful, energetic and FIERCE.  I have run in Louisiana heat while my father was having cancer surgery with tears running down my face and it absolutely helped.  I’ve Peloton’d my way through this Supreme Court and won’t ever stop using exercise to re-energize myself for the multiple battles that lay ahead.  – Abigail Maines