Norman Vincent Peale was promoting positive thinking way back in 1952. More recently, you could find it in The Secret. Motivational speakers and writers have been pushing us toward that a gazillion different ways. But even with all that advice, our focus now is still often on the negatives—what to avoid, be afraid of, or worry about. That’s not so good. Negative thinking has some really nasty side effects.
Take nutrition, for example. We’re supposed to avoid trans fats. And high fructose corn syrup. And genetically altered food. To get rid of free radicals and reduce our cholesterol. We avoid red meat and bottled water and anything that came from Mexico—or is it Timbuktu this week? Fresh greens are the road to certain death as is peanut butter—or whatever has been most recently found to have something nasty in it somewhere.
Be careful. Be very careful. Be afraid of what you might eat by accident.
There’s so much more joy in eating gorgeous food that you meet raw and cook with love. Beautiful food is good for you. How about doing that instead of trying to avoid what isn’t.
Food is just one arena. There’s stuff to avoid in every facet of life. Scams. Toxic personalities. Sunshine–at least without sunscreen. Binge shopping. Crow’s feet. Traffic jams. Weeds. Spam. Mean people. Burn out… The list goes on and on and on. Persuasive content these days is aimed at getting you to not have something happen, be it identity theft or erectile dysfunction.
We pay a huge price doing it this way.
Negative thinking puts you on alert: There is danger–something that’s not good for you that you need to do something about. Something to fear. Something to worry about. Your entire body stays on alert, waiting for further instructions on whether to fight the thing or run like hell. In other words–“stress.” By worrying, we increase our odds of a heart attack, stroke, or some other health problem.
Most of what we are afraid of isn’t even real. It’s projection of a future that hasn’t happened—and probably won’t. If you’re afraid of the pit bull that’s snarling at you, that’s smart and it’s time for action. But being afraid of what you choose to eat is silly.
Trying to avoid all future risk is futile. Enjoy what’s going on right now instead. Doing that increases your immune levels, reduces your stress, and, of course, makes life more fun moment to moment. Being happy provides an energy boost that makes life easier.
So how can you be positive in this negative world?
Choose it. Consciously search for the positive in whatever you’re dealing with.
Be grateful. When you acknowledge what you have, the wisdom to see that specific blessing links to an overall sense of wellbeing.
Ignore the naysayers. Even if they are people you love and live with. Imagine an invisible wall of positive energy between you and that toxic thinking, keeping you from falling prey to the worry and woe.
Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives. But the benefits of being happy far outweigh this unachievable effort to be 100% safe. As long as you’re alive, there will be risks. They will be no greater if you choose to be happy–and may actually be far less. Regardless, life is sweeter when you see the pluses—and there always are some.