Question: I’ve heard that positive thinking can make all the difference in difficult situations, but sometimes I’m at a loss for things to be positive about. What can I do to get on a positive channel when everything seems to be going wrong?
Answer: When your heart is weighed down with worry, fear, sorrow, or pain, instead of dwelling on your woes, think about Jesus and His love. Count your blessings. If nothing else, you can be grateful for all the other problems you could have but don’t, because God has spared you from them.
Most of us battle negative thinking at some point in our lives.
We put ourselves down for real or imagined faults and weaknesses, or we compare ourselves negatively to others. The use of positive statements that you can repeat to yourself is a proven technique for overcoming that negativity.
Scientists have recently made a fascinating discovery about an unseen and little understood parasite, the negabugger—so called because of the negative effect it has on its human host’s mental and emotional well-being.
It is too small to be seen by the naked eye, yet the symptoms of infection are plainly evident. It lives by attaching itself to the soft membrane of the inner ear. Its tiny buzzing wings vibrate at a frequency undetectable by humans, but which interferes with brain waves and leaves the victim feeling confused and depressed.
As I strolled along the river, swans and other birds added to the beauty of a sunny Sunday afternoon that was wasted on me. The past few years had been a nightmare. Alcoholism was taking its toll. Guilt, negativity, and discouragement hung over me like dark clouds. I was separated from my wife and had lost my job. I had also lost the respect of all my friends and coworkers. I felt like a worthless failure.
“That’s not fair” must have been my three most-used words when growing up. It seemed that someone—or everyone—always had it better than me. By my early teens I had a well-developed measure-and-analyze mindset, and I was particularly obsessed with comparing my looks, personality, and abilities with those of other girls my age.
When I came into young adulthood and joined an office team, it was all about measuring up at work. I was convinced that the only way I would ever be accepted or appreciated was if I made up for my relative lack of skill and experience by working harder than everyone else. I was always trying to gain points (whatever those were and whoever was giving them out), and I was always frustrated with my self-assessed score.
The Bible calls the Devil “the accuser of the saints.”1 He picks at all the lacks and shortcomings and weaknesses and little failures. If you start listening to him, you’re beaten, because there will always be something more you could have done or something you wish you hadn’t done. There will always be something that the Devil can pick on if he wants to, and he sure wants to!
Optimist or pessimist? Is your glass half full or half empty? According to staffers at the renowned Mayo Clinic, your answer to the second question not only answers the first, but it also reflects your attitudes toward yourself and life in general, each of which plays an important part in how well you live and possibly even how long you live.1 It almost goes without saying that positive thinkers are far more likely to reach their goals than negative thinkers. If your thought patterns have that much bearing on your happiness and well-being, it makes sense to stop from time to time to examine the way you think and to work at making positive thinking a habit.
What is the greatest weakness in most families? According to Dr. James H. Bossard, a former professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania who spent 40 years probing what he called “neglected areas of family life,” it is the way parents talk in front of their children.
After studying extensive recordings of table talk, he wrote, “I had no idea I would discover a real pattern in the [mealtime] conversation of families. I just wanted to learn what families talked about, but to my amazement I have found that family after family had definite, consistent conversational habits, and that the critical pattern was the most prevalent.