How Positive are you?
Bottom Line: While researching for my top three takeaways today I came across a few factoids which weren't necessary in my takeaways but are worth exploring separately. Hence this story. So about the question I’ve posed. How positive are you? What I mean is how much time do you spend focusing on the positives as compared to the negatives? While you try to sort that one out...if you’re normal, your thoughts are highly negative.
- According to the National Science Foundation 80% of our thoughts are negative
For some reason we’re just generally more inclined to focus on the negatives, or maybe even seek them out if they don’t exist. Some of it is likely a survival instinct, as was pointed out in the study, all negative thoughts aren’t bad thoughts. A negative instinct which helps you avoid a bad situation is helpful, for example. However, a lot of our proclivity for negativity isn’t helpful at all. What’s interesting is that our level of mental activity varies greatly. According to the study some people have as few as 12,000 independent thoughts in a day, while the most active among us have around 60,000 thoughts per day. Still, regardless of how fast our mind is racing through thoughts – nearly eight out of ten will be negative. Then the question becomes what we focus on.
The Foundation found most of our thoughts are repetitive and based on how much negative stuff we’re focusing on, we most commonly latch onto to something negative and think about it over and over again. Now, this is what I found to be interesting. Can we change our behavior to become more positive people? The answer generally is yes. There are many ways identified to attempt to break through the wall of negativity occupying our minds. All of them required work. One idea that came to mind while reading through the research was this. Since most of what we think about is repetitive and with eight out of ten thoughts being negative...try this.
What’s the first thought that comes to mind right now? Was it positive or negative? If it was positive, focus on it today. Whatever it was. When you find your find wandering intentionally revert back to it. If it wasn’t positive be on the lookout for something positive today. When you come across it, stay with it. Being negative most of the time is normal. Being positive isn’t, however according to research we can be trained to focus on the positives while minimizing the negatives. Today you’re probably 20% positive. It wouldn’t take much to improve your frame of mind.
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