Focusing On The Positives

Having a positive attitude is important. It’s important not only when it comes to how you view yourself but also when it comes to viewing life in general. Admittedly, thinking in a positive way is not always easy — especially as you deal with life’s ups and downs. But it is possible! Once you start to recognize the positive things that already exist in your life and learn how to see them even in the face of adversity, positive thinking can become YOUR mode of thinking.

The following is from the NIE guide titled “Positive Thinking” written by Ginny Swinson with educational consultation by Nancy Gilligan and produced by KRP, Inc.



ACTIVITY:  Find five “positives” in your newspaper — words and/or actions that personally affect you in a positive way. Briefly describe each example and why you chose it.

Now, identify a “negative” reported in your newspaper. Find something positive about the situation.

People with positive attitudes believe they have within themselves the ability to overcome many obstacles. No matter what life hands them, their ability to think positively gets them through even the most difficult situations. “Attitudes are more important than facts,” according to famed psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger. If you have a defeatist attitude, then you believe you’re a failure whether you really are one or not.

ACTIVITY: Think of a situation that has you worried. Write a sentence describing that situation. Then make a list NOT of the factors that are against you but the factors that are for you. It may surprise you how many positive things you really have going for you.

Now, try this same exercise with a situation covered in your newspaper. Identify a person who is struggling with a crisis or problem. Make a list of the factors or attitudes that might help this person get through the situation successfully.

Are you generous with your positive thoughts? Do you share them with others in the form of compliments and praise? You might be surprised to discover that, like most people, you’re a little stingy when it comes to sharing a nice thought about someone else. It’s one thing to THINK something positive about another person and quite another to actually tell him or her. Sharing kind words and statements with others is an important step in learning to focus on the positives in life. When we learn to see the good in other people, we learn to see the good in ourselves (and vice versa!).

ACTIVITY: See what a difference it makes when you turn your positive thoughts into positive words.  Make one honest compliment to three different people every day for two weeks. Throughout that time, keep a journal. How did it make you feel? What reactions did you get from other people? Was it easy or difficult? How did it affect your relationship with your peers? What conclusions can you draw about the power of positive thinking — and speaking?

Now, try something a little different: giving a compliment to someone you don’t like. Pick a comic strip character, a television or movie character, or a “real” person featured in your newspaper who you just don’t care for. Think of three honest compliments you could give this person or character if you had the opportunity. Write them down on a piece of paper.

To download the 40 page activity guide click here