There is a big push in positive psychology to be optimistic no matter what happens to you. The idea is to show some self-compassion even when you make a mistake or things do not go as planned. For example, you might overspend on an item of clothing. Instead of beating yourself up over it and ruminating about how you really should not have spent the money, you say to yourself, “Lesson learned. I won’t do it again and can recover from this.”
According to researchers, people who can take the high road when it comes to positive thoughts are happier people. So give yourself a break. Train your brain to be positive.
Here is how. It begins by looking for the lesson or the benefit of negative things that have happened to us. We all experience negative and positive emotions, but it is the way we interpret those experiences that often causes the emotion. Dr. Fox, author of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain tells us that for every negative emotion, we need four positive ones to counter the negative effect of that emotion. And this process of training the brain to be more positive can be learned. You train your brain to look for the good. Another example, “I just got yelled at by my boss. Ok, I now know what I need to fix. I can fix this and give a better report.”
Now don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you live a life of denial. You still acknowledge problems and negative experiences, but you choose to focus on the positive.
I find this fascinating because in Philippians 4:8, we are told, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Paul instructs us to rejoice always, be grateful, trust in God to work for our benefit and to think on positive things. He stays positive, not because everything is great, but because He walks in the confidence of who God is in His life. And that is the basis for any positive psychology. God can be trusted. God is good and God is for us. Think on good things and see how it changes you.