I was looking again at a NYTimes article about turning negative thinkers into positive ones. I liked that the article not only described the benefits of positive emotions, and the hazards of negative emotions, but then discussed strategies to foster positive thinking.
Negative thinking can affect the amygdyla, which can increase health problems. Positive thinking can help heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and other biolological effects, in addition to psychological effects of a can-do attitude.
Not in the article, sometimes we need to not read too much negativity, and avoid too much interaction with negative, pessimistic people, because they drag you down without helping to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Then it's time to skip that link, or read something else. Sometimes we can't help but look at a train wreck, but it's usually better, to seek other excitement. That includes our own thoughts - sometimes venting has a place, but sometimes the more negative things we express, the worse we can feel. Sometimes, gallows humor has a place, but sometimes we have to actively re-route our thoughts to a happier place.
I have been through many challenges and hardships in my own life, and have also had successes that I could not have expected. There has been much grief, and loneliness, and much comaraderie, friendship, and sometimes love. It's hard to see the positive during tragedies and oppression, and bad events, but sometimes we can light a light and start to see things differently, and start working again on a better life.
We only live once. Life is short, and there is much tragedy. There can also be much joy.
"When you go home, fill the house with joy so that the light of it will stream out the windows and doors and illuminate even the darkness. It is just as easy that way as any in the world."
- Robert Green Ingersoll
and my favorite, always,
“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”
- Robert Green Ingersoll
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I agree with you Jonathan. Sometimes it is hard to accept constructive advice, and sometimes that acceptance occurs much later. It can be like a seed that germinates long after it is planted.
I wonder... Many theist seem to be very positive thinkers... "If I just believe God will take of things for me" perhaps self delusion is much more of a factor there. All the positive thinking I could muster eventually could not get past the reality that there was no God no matter how positive I wished to think. As a result of taking responsibility for my own actions and fate I do see things in a much more positive way. I can have a positive effect on my surroundings without any interference from a god punishing me at his whim!
"If I just believe God will take care of things for me" is a dependent statement. Have you ever had an illness and ask for god help? Did it come? Have you ever been indebted and not able to meet your commitment, did you ask god to rescue you? Did god help? Have you watched a loved one dying and you ask to save the person, did a spirit help? Have you ever, for any reason requested help from god, christ, the holy spirit and had it help? Oh yes! god can say "yes, no, maybe, not now, not ever" and we buy into that scam!
There is a particular element of self-respect and pride to overcome a challenge, knowing there was no rescue coming around the corner, and no aid suddenly appearing from nowhere. That is what being grown up is all about. A challenge arises, you think of what you can do to solve the problem or conflict, and you do it.
The Native Americans had it right, they sent their young out on a challenge and when the youth completed the task, they felt grown up. We have no such test for our young people.
"... and we buy into that scam!
Joan, did you buy into that scam?
Who are the "we" who buy unto it?
Ok, I'm grumpy tonight.
I know! You pick on me when you are grumpy. You always ask the right question and challenge me to think.
Yes, I bought into that scam. I prayed and prayed and prayed; nothing improved until I decided to change what I was doing.
How about you, did you buy into that scam?
Catholicism doesn't offer the scam and ask kids to buy into it.
The Church starts with kids who are not yet able to distinguish what they imagine from what they perceive. It then indoctrinates the kids and uses fear, guilt and shame to keep them from evaluating the doctrines.
An apt summation.
>Ok, I'm grumpy tonight.
Are we to imply from this that your being grumpy tonight is different from most nights? (Asking for a friend)
Bert, tell your friend that like Mark Twain I was happy for billions of years before I was born.
Had my parents asked, I would told them to find something else to do. :-)))
I don't think I was a positive thinker until I became atheist. As a negative thinker I left too many things to an invisible sky daddy rather than face them myself. Some do not think I'm a positive thinker even now. My reply is that I am a realist. I do not have invisible friends and make things up.