But it was just a thought…or so I thought.
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

The last several weeks have been challenging for me. I am usually a very positive person, but for some reason I have found myself in some challenging moments. If you were to ask my family, they would say I was miserable to be around. Some of it was brought on by a prescription of Prednisone I was taking for swollen vocal cords. Those meds made me really miserable. I just felt angry and mean all the time. It took me about two days after I finished the prescription to have it process out of my system, but even after it was out, I would have these moments where I felt miserable and down. For the better part of a week I have been thinking and praying about this issue when I stumbled on this quote “There is no such thing as a thought that doesn’t have consequences.” I was allowing negative thoughts to work their way into my life and begin pulling me lower and lower.

All of us are thinking thoughts all day long and we need to realize that every thought we have has consequences. We need to take charge of the thoughts we are having and not allow them to rule our lives. The first step is to understand that negative emotions are much stronger than positive emotions because they were once crucial to our survival. When we needed to flee from an attacking animal the awareness of the fragrance of a beautiful flower wasn’t much help. We needed to run and run fast, or at least faster than the person next to us. Since we can’t run away from all negativity, we need to intentionally pursue positive thoughts. In fact, in her book Positivity, Barbara Frederickson states we need a three to one ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions. So where can we find the positive emotions?

Believe it or not, simple things like lovely pictures or pleasant sounds can have a positive impact on our emotions. As I sit here writing this, I have pictures of my family in front of me. The desktop on my second monitor is a picture of my youngest son in a boat on Otisco Lake. To build positive emotions, I just need to look at the pictures and recognize how blessed I am.

It’s not complicated, but it does take time. It takes time to focus on what is going well rather than what might go wrong. I’m not trying to escape from wild animals, but I am trying to stop my mind from running wild with negative thoughts that can cause major stress in my life and in the lives of people I love. Please join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast as we look deeper into the tools we can use to build a more positive mindset.

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