How to free yourself from negative thinking

geeky asks: How can I come up with negative thinking?

Hi geeky –

I might be confused here.  You ask “how can I come up with negative thinking?”  Well I have lots of answers, but… why in the world would you want to come up with it?!

Negative thinking means a frame of mind that’s always coming from a pessimistic, cynical, hopeless place.  The best illustration of it I know is an old joke:

Two parents are suffering with raising their two sons.  One is an eternal optimist, and one an endless pessimist.  They want to teach their optimist son to be more practical and less trusting, and their pessimist son that things aren’t always bad.  So for Christmas, they give the pessimist a room full of toys, and give the optimist a room full of horse poop.

Christmas morning arrives, and the two boys run downstairs to see what they’re getting.  The pessimist walks into his room of toys and begins complaining immediately.  “Oh this toy has sharp edges; you want me to cut myself.  This game’s so easy; you must think I’m really stupid.  I’d get in trouble if I took this one to school; you’re hoping for that.”  The parents are just miserable – they’d gone to so much trouble, all for nothing.  So they go to show the other son his room.  They open the door, and he yells in excitement, and jumps right into the poop and starts digging!  He digs further and further in, till his father yells “What are you doing?!”  “This is so great!” the son yells back.  “Thank you so much!  I know there’s a pony in here somewhere!”

Now I’m not saying you need to be quite as crazy-enthusiastic as that optimist son, but I sure don’t want you to be as negative-minded as the pessimist either!

(though I’ll admit that, as a pooch, I absolutely LOVE rolling in horse poop!)

So what are some good ways to free yourself from negative thinking?  Hmm… here are some ideas:

–       Without going all “I know there’s a pony,” you can still focus on the positive elements of anything.  The trick is to find them.  When something seems bad, what’s good about it?  I’ll want to run across the street to chase a cat, and Handsome will grab me and hold me back.  Sure I’m annoyed about the cat, but it also reminds me that I have a guy who’s taking care of me and keeping me from getting run over.  It’s my choice to focus on one or the other!


–       Try to avoid hearing negative voices all the time.  If you have friends who try to show how cool they are by always complaining and insulting everything, spend less time with them, and more time with others who are less peeved.  If you’re always hearing bad news reports, try to listen to some good positive stories too.  If you’re only hearing music with harsh unpleasant lyrics, try to listen to some positive stuff too.  Nothing wrong with those negative voices – you just want some variety.


–       Read my piece on called “The Key to Happiness.”  I can’t take credit for the idea in it – it was from a three-year-old girl – but it’s the best advice against negative thinking I’ve ever heard.


–       And of course I’m going to say this – get a great positive role model.  And who’s the best at that?  DOGS!  Hang out with a mutt who is in total ecstasy every moment they get to spend with you, and you’ll have the best teacher in the world!


–       And last but not least… keep checking in on!  While I do get angry and sad at times, I tend to come from a positive angle on almost all issues.  After all, as I said before, we pups just come by that naturally!

Thanks for the great question…  if I understood it right!



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