Glass Half-Full or Glass Half-Empty?: Balancing Negative Thoughts

Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Happiness & Humor, Psychology-Psychiatry with 0 Comments

optimismCLN Editor’s Commentary: Anger is an important mechanism of the human emotion engine. It is your built-in alarm to alert you when your boundaries are being violated, and in this sense serves a vital function. Repressing anger is never healthy, and positive thoughts are not necessarily appropriate 100% of the time. But whatever your emotional state, it is always, ultimately, a choice. Choosing to dwell excessively on negative thoughts conditions the brain’s neural pathways and peptides toward depression, anger, and cynicism, and the adrenaline surge that comes from bursts of anger can actually be physiologically addictive. Anger is important and must be acknowledged, but it is never wise to dwell there for long

What Susan Patterson rightly argues in the article below is that choosing to adopt a more positive outlook promotes mental and physical health. But we remind readers that positive thinking at the expense of acknowledging and processing anger can be counterproductive in the longterm, because eventually all repressed emotions will push their way to the surface to be dealt with sooner or later.

Smile. It’s a beautiful day.


By Susan Patterson | NaturalSociety


Many times when we tell someone or even ourselves that we should think positively, we do not really consider the impact that this has on our mental and physical health. Everyone experiences life changes and events that produce stress and negativity – perhaps a job loss, a relationship struggle, a health issue or even a natural disaster. It is easy to fall into a dark hole and develop very damaging thoughts.

According to the American Psychological Association, people with greater resilience handle negative thought and stressful situations better than those who are not able to adapt in times of crisis. In other words, being able to look at life as 1% circumstance and 99% attitude is a perspective that will enable people to “bounce back” after a stressful event. People who have their glasses half full rather than half empty will fair much better when life throws them a curve ball.

We even seem to get stressed about the ”little” things in life like a long line at the post office, someone taking our parking spot, or being stuck in traffic behind a tractor. While none of these things are probably going to kill us, we sometimes let negativity drive our emotions even over such small inconveniences.

Garnering control over our emotions is the key to success when it comes to handling anxiety induced negativity. Research has clearly demonstrated that our thinking patterns and the way we react to certain situations are both directly and indirectly related to our quality of life. Getting overworked about things that are not in direct control causes stress hormones to rage through our bodies, raising  blood pressure while causing muscles to tighten. Being able to laugh instead of boil inside with anger could be a life saving habit.

Being negative about certain situations disables clear thinking. According to the Mayo Clinic, thinking positive makes it easier to deal with difficult situations. Without clear thinking, people may make irrational decisions and do and say things, only to regret it later. People who have an overabundance of negative thinking are more likely to have a pessimistic outlook on life. While some circumstances in life are seemingly out of our control, understanding how to best respond in tense situations is the key to beating stress. Learning how to laugh instead of scream when the power goes out in the middle of your favorite show will help you deal with the loftier crises when it comes your way.

Are negative thoughts cutting your lifespan in half? It may be time to change how you think.

Additional Sources:



This article originally appeared at NaturalSociety

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