Are you a super-serious thinker? Are you always turning over worries in your head? Do you see the dark side of things before other people do?
While you want to live in reality, don’t forget that you have the power to bring positive thinking to your world. If you don’t, your relationships will suffer. Other people will dread to have you around.
For example, most of us can give an accounting of a bad business deal we’ve experienced. Or, we can share, blow by blow, how a former lover treated us in a mean fashion. We can drone on about these things for hours.
But it’s critical to think good thoughts on purpose to neutralize bad experiences.
“Some scientists say our bodies produce a chemical reaction to every single thought we have,” said a biochemist we’ll call Maria. “Many believe that negative thinking can cause physical illness, even cancer.”
For the sake of our emotional health and relationships, let’s assume our thoughts do have this kind of power.
It helps to equate mental health to a magnet. A mentally healthy person will attract a date, a mate, social experiences and friends who enjoy the “atmosphere” this person creates. Conversely, someone with a bad attitude will repel relationships and experiences that could be beneficial.
These tips can help you review your emotional power over others:
■ Do you know someone who talks about a divorce or death that happened 10 years ago? Does this person relive the details at every opportunity, dragging everyone down? Using this frame of reference, vow never to be this type of person.
■ Let your good thoughts outweigh your bad. Check out what’s taking place inside your own head each day.
■ Practice lifting up other people. This takes a set of skills you sharpen by acting them out. See how other people respond to your words. Don’t forget to talk positively to yourself on purpose as well.
■ Set aside time to practice encouragement on purpose. Call or text one or two people every day just to say “I’m thinking of you. I miss you.”
“If people are sad or hurting, they might not respond instantly to your kindness,” said a family counselor we’ll call Dominic. “Sometimes, people have to reflect on your words for a day or two. But, words do sink in. Kindness does sink in. We all need to keep sowing seeds of an uplifting nature.”
If you grew up in a family with lots of problems, you’ve likely learned negative thinking. In some ways, thinking negatively helps us plan how to ward off bad experiences. It’s like acting out bad scenarios ahead of time, just so we’ll be prepared for battle.
While we all tend to live a little defensively, it’s better if we aim for higher ground.
“I advise my clients to figure out specific people they need to avoid,” said a psychologist we’ll call Carly. “We can ‘catch’ emotions like we catch a cold. Steering clear of those who drag us down is critical.”
Carly said we should make it a goal to gravitate to those with high goals, good character and a great work ethic.
“I’ve learned to befriend winning personality types,” she said. “They have a way of thinking that makes the impossible seem possible. People want to follow others who make a journey pleasant.”