In the last several weeks, many people have mentioned to me how it feels as if we are surrounded by negativity these days. It's not just bad news, but also bad attitudes, bad behavior, and a general emphasis on what's wrong instead of what's right.
Once you're in a negative mindset, it's increasingly easy to become even more jaded. As Abraham Lincoln is quoted by Pollyanna in the Disney movie of the same name, "When you look for the bad, you will surely find it."
Fortunately, the converse is true too. When you look for the good, you find it. Here are 5 ways to focus on the positive instead of getting mired in negativity:
Keep a gratitude journal or use an app to track gratitude. When you are on the lookout for things to be grateful for, you will find them.
Dreading something? Play the glad game. "I'm glad I don't have to go to the dentist more often." "I'm glad I have insurance that covers most of this." "I'm glad I won't have that pain anymore."
When you hear a tragic news story, take the advice of Mr. Rogers, and look for the helpers.
Change your questions. When you say hello to someone, instead of asking "How are you?" ask "What are you looking forward to?" When you are tempted to ask a loved one, "How was your day?" ask "What was the best part of your day?" instead.
Choose what content you consume. Resist the urge to click on items in your news feed that emphasize what's wrong.
Regardless of what's going on around us or what happens to us, we always, always, always have a choice.
Choose to look for the positive.