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Notice the Good

by Beth on December 22nd, 2011

The holidays can be a stressful time and stress can bring out the worst in people. Some of the stories from Black Friday are enough to make you wonder what has happened to human decency. But the truth is that people want to be good. Our nature is to be caring, decent human beings. When we aren’t, it is often because of the situation we face.

Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist who writes about the inner skills that can help us achieve happiness, love, and wisdom. He encourages people to make an effort to notice good acts. Our negativity bias, spurred on by the media, causes us to focus on the bad things that people do. In order not to forget all of the good in the world, we need to make a point to take note of the good things that people do.

In San Francisco last month I was about to get on a train to go to the airport when a man nearby who must have overheard me warned me that the train I was boarding did not go to the airport. Then a few weeks ago a woman honked at me to tell me I had a flat tire just before I turned onto a busy highway. These random acts of kindness really made me feel good and reminded me that people do care and want to help.

Hanson suggests that we take note of the good within ourselves as well. Think about the occasions when you do something small to help someone or demonstrate patience in a frustrating situation or control your anger or forgive someone. While stress may cause you at times to act in ways you regret, you do have good intentions and when you think about your day you will surely find many things that demonstrate what a good person you are.

Don’t get overwhelmed by negativity! Make it a point to notice the good in yourself and in others.

3 Comments
  1. Beth permalink

    Thank you for the positive feedback! I hope you’ll keep reading! Best, Beth

  2. This is the right site for everyone who really wants to understand this topic.

    You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).

    You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been discussed for many years.
    Excellent stuff, just great!

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