A More Positive Outlook

Some people are optimists and some are pessimists.  The optimists have a strong tendency to look on the bright side of their current situation, whereas the pessimistic tends to look at the dark side of the situation.  A major component of stress is how we interpret or think about a situation.  If we interpret the situation in a very negative way, we will experience greater distress and a host of negative emotions.

Research has shown that having a more positive outlook may provide some protection against health problems.  This may be in part related to how thinking more positively reduces a person’s stress level.

Think of the ongoing thought process you have about things in your life as being “self talk.”  When we use very negative self-talk, that will cause greater distress and stronger negative emotions.  I’m not suggesting that you bury your head in the sand, and just ignore the problems in your life.  What I am suggesting is more of an effort to have more positive self-talk, and to make an effort to find something positive in most situations.  Sometimes, it is easier just to think about something in a less negative way than before.


Very negative thought:  “This is terrible that I have to work overtime again.  I just can’t stand it anymore.”

Less negative thought: “I would have preferred not to work overtime again.  This stinks, but I can make it through.”

Positive thought: “I’m glad I get to work overtime.  I get to make some more money and I can use that to do something fun.”

Some key words that are very negative and result in a lot of distress: always, never, awful, terrible, horrible, worst ever.

If you find yourself thinking about things with some of these very negative words, you can spend some time working on thinking about it in a more positive or less negative way.  Give it a try, and I think you will find that you feel less distressed.