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Positivity Puts the Brakes on Negativity

by Beth on July 5th, 2011

Negative emotions are bad for us.  When we experience stress, anger or fear our body generates chemicals that have harmful effects on our body. The health risks of negativity include gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular problems, hormonal imbalances, and a weaker immune system.

Yet as much as we may try to avoid it, life gives us negativity. Fortunately, we can eliminate the negative emotions caused by events beyond our control by intentionally creating positive emotions. Positivity puts the brakes on negativity. It actually pushes negativity out of our system, because we can’t experience negative and positive emotions at the same time.

In a recent conference on happiness and its causes, Buddhist monk Mathieu Ricard explained positive and negative emotions like hot and cold water coming out of a faucet. You can’t get hot water if the cold water is also turned on. Positivity acts like the cold water in a faucet preventing the water from getting hot; that is preventing the flow of negative emotions.

The next time you are going through a difficult moment and are experiencing negative emotions, make an intentional effort to generate positive emotions instead.

  • One way to do this is through gratitude. In his book, Today We Are Rich, Tim Sanders quotes his grandmother saying “You can’t be hateful when you are grateful.” Gratefulness pushes fear and anxiety out of your mind, replacing it with positive emotions.
  • Another way to replace negativity with positivity is through loving kindness meditation. All you need to do is close your eyes and think of someone you love. Imagining the face of a loved-one – a spouse, a child, a parent – immediately generates feelings of caring and compassion.
  • Finally, if you are experiencing a personal tragedy, try to find something positive on which you can focus. It may be the kindness of friends, discovering strength you didn’t know you had, or simply reminding yourself that “this too shall pass”.

Don’t let negative events harm you! Put the brakes on negativity by intentionally generating positive emotions.

 

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