Does focusing on the positive make you a more positive person in general?
I’m going to go ahead and say yes. If any of this brain research that’s been all the rage over the past couple years regarding brain plasticity and how quite a good part of our brains are made up of that which we put in to them, then it stands to reason that if we put pessimism and negativity into the old noggin (i.e. by focusing on what we might think sucks about an interaction, a situation or, our lives), then that’s most likely what our minds will default to most of the time without even trying. Which, obviously will generally leave us feeling sad, mad, bad, angry, or frustrated. Oh no, I really hate to go here because it would drive me crazy when my mother would say: “Be wise about what you put into your mind because garbage in, garbage out.” Yikes. It’s true. She was right! I guess the good news is that now, as a mother myself, this means that moms are usually, if not always, right. At least we’ll say that. The bad news is that if she’s like me, it will take my daughter over 30 years to realize this. Oy.
I digress. So I’m not saying that we should go around pretending everything is lovely roses, rainbows, and sunshine all the time because goodness know, living in pink cloud of avoidance and denial isn’t generally recommended either (unless you’re hoping for an epic mid-life crisis, or major emotional breakdown… whichever comes first). But what if we made a conscious effort to complain and feel upset about some things if we feel it really necessary, and choose not to upset ourselves unnecessarily about other things? Sometimes, but not all the time, we can chose how we interpret, respond to, or think about a given situation or interaction, which means we can chose to focus on the things that are not so bad, and heaven forbid, maybe even think about the good! And if all this brain research actually does have a leg to stand on, then the more we work on seeing and focusing on the good, the less work it will eventually be for us to do so. It will just sort of start to happen more on its own, without really trying. That’s encouraging.