Friday, March 27, 2009

Staying Positive Might Be Hard, But It's Not Impossible

With the bombardment of bad news, I thought this piece by Daniel Stone from Newsweek was a great pick-me-up. Even when it's really hard to find the silver-lining in what seems like a black hole of bad news, you can still do it, and you should--if only to keep yourself sane.

Stone, who went on what he calls "a cool scavenger hunt" to "find the lost graveyard of good news," notes that there are the wallowers (those who "soak up the latest unemployment statistics the day they come out") and the deniers (those who "turn their heads, choosing to immerse themselves in the "Back to the Future" trilogy or scrapbooking , turning off the news altogether").

But through his quest to find the silver lining, he found that it's possible even in the worst of situations and it's necessary:

But psychologically speaking, it turns out that trying to see the positive in such a negative environment isn't that bad, so long as you do for the right reasons and don't become an outright Denier of reality. According to psychologist Steven Hayes, author of the book "Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life," it's fine if you're looking at the positive just for the sake of learning something positive. "But if you're only looking for the good in order to keep the wolf at bay, then your mind will constantly be thinking about the wolf, and you don't really escape. It all comes down to your level of psychological flexibility." Some people need to keep up on the bad news so they feel prepared, or maybe more in control. It can be a way to brace yourself for even worse news, says University of Florida psychologist James Shepperd. But in most cases, the human tendency is to lean toward optimism, in hopes of a better day.

Read through the whole thing and maybe you'll find your own silver lining.

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