Staying Positive In A World Of Negativity

Laugh … and the whole world laughs with you. Cry … and you have to blow your nose.

Times are tough. And there may be little you can do about the government or financial policy that is needed to fix these times.

But you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have control over your response to these times or any other times. So what can you do or should you do when times are challenging?

=> 1. Limit your exposure to negative people.

There’s an old proverb that says, “Misery loves company.” Maybe so. But more accurately, “Misery breeds misery.”

Perhaps you’ve noticed some folks at work talking on and on about how bad the economy is. Or you’ve heard some coworkers express their anger over the changes in the company.

If you’re not careful, you’ll get sucked into the discussion. You’ll add your own comments about how rotten everything is. And as you do, you’ll kill off your own positive energy, and you’ll end up feeling worse than you did before.

For your own good, limit your exposure to negative people. Don’t join them for lunch in the company cafeteria, and shorten your telephone conversations with those people who just want to complain and commiserate.

=> 2. Limit your exposure to negative input.

Obviously, you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, in the country, in your company, and in your family. You want to know enough so you can make the best judgments as to what you should do.

But once you know the news, shut it off. After all, the news now … like the news 5, 10, or 50 years ago … is almost always negative and almost always repeated. That’s why CNN should be known as Constant Negative News.

Overexposure to negative input has no redeeming value. It will not make your life better, help you sleep more soundly, make you more money, or improve your relationships. Negative input will only depress you.

Limit your exposure to negative input as you feed your mind good, healthy, nourishing input. That’s what counselor Carla Erickson learned to do. She says, “I’ve been listening to your MIND OVER MATTER CDs every day for a long, long time, and they have been a wonderful resource for me during the stressful times in my life. I have also given them to my family members, my friends, and coworkers to help them with the difficult situations they’ve had in their lives. Everyone talks about how well these CDs work.”

And then …

=> 3. Look for humor every day.

Laugh, chuckle, and laugh some more.

The medical evidence is overwhelming. Laughter fills your body with mood-lifting, pain-killing endorphins. And all the spiritual literature says that humor is good for your soul.

So look for at least three funny things every day.

Look for the FUNNY WAY PEOPLE SEE THINGS. For example, one man said he was driving with his three young children when a woman in the convertible ahead of them stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As he was reeling from the shock, he heard his 5-year-old shout from the back seat, “Dad, that lady isn’t wearing her seat belt!”

Or look for the FUNNY WAY PEOPLE SAY THINGS. One woman talked about the time she was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle, the phone rang so she asked her four-year-old daughter to answer the phone. She was horrified to hear her daughter say, “Mommy can’t come to the phone right now. She’s hitting the bottle.”

Or look for the FUNNY QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK. It’s like the little boy who got lost at the YMCA and wandered into the women’s locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks … with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever seen a little boy before?”

The humor is out there, all around you, every day. Look for it and laugh.

And finally…

=> 4. Start a humor collection.

Sure it sounds silly. But it also makes sense.

You may have a recipe box, a collection of greeting cards you’ve received over the years, or a carton filled with your favorite magazines. Fine. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But it would be smart to have a humor collection as well. Find jokes, funny stories, or one-liners, and store them in an old-fashioned manila folder or a file on your computer. And when you’re the slightest bit down, spend a few minutes reviewing some of the funnies in your file.

For example, I like to collect one liners. I’ve actually gone into those touristy junk shops with all those racks of crazy post cards and outrageous bumper strips … with a notebook in hand … and written down the funny one-liners. A few I picked up recently…

*Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

*One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

*Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.

*One nice thing about egotists: they don’t talk about other people.

And I’ve collected strange questions that make me stop, think, and chuckle for second. A few I wrote down included…

*If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

*What if there were no hypothetical questions?

*Is there another word for synonym?

*Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?

*If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

*Can a vegetarian eat animal crackers?

*If you try to fail … and succeed … which have you done?

*Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?

*If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to start speaking?

*Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?

*What was the best thing before sliced bread?

*How is it possible to have a civil war?

*If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown, too?

There’s no getting around the point that these are challenging times. But you don’t have to become challenged and defeated. Take control of your spirit, your mood, your attitude, and your response by doing the four things I’ve outlined.

Action:  Start a humor collection. And once a week, buddy up with somebody to share the funnies you’ve collected that week.