Staying Positive in a Negative Culture

Staying Positive in a Negative Culture

January 22, 2020

Have you noticed the pessimism that seems to have enveloped our country and communities? Are you discouraged by the negativity that is being broadcasted by the media? Have you perceived how fear seems to keep people from connecting with one another? When culture takes a negative view, how do we stay positive and influence those around us?

Choose to have hope. God is still on the throne and the waves still obey Him. We can have hope, because we know that no matter what is happening politically, in our families, in the world, or in our own small lives, God is in control and wants the very best for each of us. Hope resides in the heart of whom has confidence in God over man.

Choose to have peace.  Corrie Ten Boom once said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed.  If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.” By looking at our life, communities and situation through God’s eyes, we can be assured that all things are working out for good, according to His purpose, and that it will bring good to the lives of all who love Him.’ Knowing this brings deep peace and a positive view of the world.

Find the Good. It’s not just a mind game to look for the positive in each situation. Finding the good, defeats gloom and acknowledges that there is a future and a hope. Just as darkness is eliminated by one small spark of light, the bad and ugly of a situation dissipates when the good is discovered.

Turn Off the Naysayers. Negativity often arrives through the mouth of people. If you watch television for even a short time (think CNN or FOX), you expose your mind to negative messages that are proven to impact your thinking. Because negativity is often connected with fear or danger, and positivity with security and safety, we (as humans) tend to pay more attention to negative than to positive information. This psychological phenomenon is called the Negativity bias. Some researchers say that negativity has 3x stronger impact than positive. That is one good reason to turn off naysayers and spend time with positive influencers.

Start each day with positive expectations. According to psychologist S. Lyubomirsky, in the book The How of Happiness, 40% of our happiness can be influenced by “intentional activity”. That is basically the lens through which we view events. Instead of beginning your day identifying all the problems, look at challenges as opportunities for growth and expect good things to happen. Set yourself up with a more positive self-fulfilling prophecy!

Incorporate Fun. Add a hobby to your day, spend time with a child, and volunteer to help someone else, or take time to engage in something enjoyable each day. Having fun is part of taking care of your emotional health and helps you find positivity as well as productivity.

Remember the good times. Pause and relish the good times. Memories can be sweet, cherish them. They are timeless treasures of the heart. Share them with others. We come to know the true value of a moment when it becomes a memory.

Pray for discernment. James 1:5 says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”  Just by asking God for wisdom and discernment, we open our minds to His positive influence. It also brings a fresh awareness of negative influences that are best not allowed to impact our thoughts.

“Summing it all up, friends, you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious –the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (The Message, Philippians 4:8-9) Even when culture, communities, neighbors or loved ones become negative force, it is our choice to choose to be positive and be an influencer with optimism and affirmation.

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