How do you keep a positive outlook in a negative world? Watch the nightly news and you will see all the bad that’s happening in the world. “The news media are, for the most part, the bringers of bad news... and it's not entirely the media's fault, bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers than good news.” Peter McWilliams, writer.

But even if we deprive ourselves of the media, we are constantly surrounded by people eager to share their woes, complaints, and negative comments. How can we protect ourselves from these negative people? We can tell them to “Stop!”

And how do we protect ourselves from negative thoughts? The same way; we tell ourselves to “Stop!” The fact is that there is no difference in the number of negative thoughts that an optimist or a pessimist have throughout the day. The difference lies in the optimist’s ability to stop the negative thoughts from festering in our minds. Optimists are able to nip negative thoughts in the bud.

Just as we tell ourselves to stop thinking negative thoughts, we can tell others to “Stop!” Simply hold up your hand and tell the person “Stop!” How do we tell others to stop their negative talk without sounding rude or mean? You can use humor or be helpful. For example, “Stop! I’ve had my daily limit of negativity for the day,” or “Stop! Let me teach you something I learned about the difference between optimists and pessimists . . . .”

Comedian Bob Newhart did a sketch about a psychologist who used just such a technique. Watch it here.

But isn’t it cathartic and healthy to “vent”? That was Sigmund Freud’s hypothesis some one hundred years ago, but psychologist today find the opposite to be true. Venting or “letting off steam” only pollutes your mind and those of the people around you. It’s best to let those negative feelings go and find positive thoughts to replace them. Think about the good things that are happening in your life. Daydream about the fulfillment of your goals or your dreams coming true.

In conclusion, to keep a positive outlook:

  • Nip your negative thoughts in the bud.
  • When others talk negatively, tell them to “Stop!”
  • Find something positive to think about like what’s good in your life or the future attainment of a goal.


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