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Beacon Senior News

How to live positively in a negative world

Dec 22, 2021 03:16PM ● By Barbara Ward
Three ping pong balls with frowning, smiling and angry faces

Today we live in a world bombarded with negativity. The news describes deadly natural disasters, wars or threats of war, civil unrest, political corruption, racial turmoil…the list goes on. It seems unavoidable. 

But there’s still hope. This isn’t the first time our nation has been in such turmoil, nor will it be the last. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” 

At first, that statement might sound a bit gloomy. However, the verse reminds us that history repeats itself and that difficult times come and go. Nothing lasts forever. Dark clouds may come, but eventually the sun comes out again and life goes on.

So, what are you to do when you find yourself bogged down by negativity? First, I suggest you focus less on yourself. I Thessalonians 1:12-19 recommends living in peace with one another, encouraging one another, helping those who are weak, being joyful and grateful, and holding on to the good. If you’re busy focusing on others, you have less time to dwell on your own fears. You’ll begin to see there’s still good in this world.

Second, there are some practical steps you can take to turn negative thoughts into positive ones:

Reflection. Think about things you’ve already overcome. You’ll realize your own resilience. 

Reframe your thoughts. Instead of, “The world is a mess and going downhill,” change it to, “We’ve gone through times this bad or worse before but we’re still here.”

Get in touch with nature. Take a walk and focus on the sights and sounds. Watch the birds and wildlife. You’ll feel refreshed afterwards.

Change what you can and let go of what you can’t. Accept that some things are simply not in your control.

Do good. It doesn’t have to be something big and it’ll make you feel good.

Think of how you would advise someone else. Ask yourself, “What would I say to someone who came to me for advice about how to deal with all the bad news surrounding us?”

Look at the big picture. A year from now, will you even remember what you found so disturbing today?

Seek the good. You’ll discover there’s a lot to be thankful for in your present life.

Associate with positive people. It’s hard to be negative when the people around you are almost always positive.

Be careful what you feed your mind. Don’t constantly watch the news!

You can positively impact our world. Learn from the past but look to the future. Never give up. As the great Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Or as Helen Keller is attributed as saying, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

You have it within you to change the negative to the positive. Find a motto you really like and memorize it. My favorite is by Emerson: “What lies behind you, what lies before you, are tiny matters compared to what lies within you.” If you are positive, surprisingly, the world around you will become that way, too. 

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