One scientifically proven method to go from a negative mindset to positive is Learned Optimism. (And no, this is not related to the pseudo-scientific Law of Attraction. In fact, the idea that a person can simply wish, think, or feel something into existence is completely preposterous, unsubstantiated, and dangerous. Be careful to avoid woo-woo, pseudoscience wrapped up in slick marketing.) Learned Optimism was developed by Martin Seligman, a pioneer in positive psychology and his research postulates that when a depressed, pessimist adopts this new style of thinking, they can significantly improve their condition. He found that optimists tend to be higher achievers and have better overall health. While pessimists are more likely to give up in the face of adversity or to suffer from depression. Seligman invites pessimists to learn to be optimists by thinking about their reactions to adversity in a new way. This change in thought is what he coined an Optimistic Explanatory Style; essentially a new way for a person to interpret and react to life events.
It’s no wonder optimists are higher achievers and have better overall health. They also tend to feel more accomplished and grateful. And those are just a few of the benefits. So, what can we do to develop this skill? It’s as easy as ABCDE. This model, developed by Seligman, stands for Adversity, Belief, Consequence, Disputation and Energization.
Here's an example:
A — Adversity: Someone cuts you in line.
B — Belief: You say (and believe), “That person is so selfish and disrespectful!”
C — Consequence: You get heated, you’re cursing them out in your head, and the rest of your day is ruined.
D — Disputation: You catch yourself feeling negative and cut those feelings off immediately because you know they won’t do you any good. You flip the negative self talk to positive: “Chill out, don’t let this get the best of you, it’s not worth it, maybe this person is acting selfishly because they’re rushing to buy something for their pregnant wife who will flip out on them if they don’t get home soon.”
E — Energization (celebration): You’re energized because you’ve deliberatley acted optimistically. You conquered the negative and took control of your mind in order to remain calm and do the right thing.
You see? From Marcus Aurelius to Abraham Lincoln to Martin Seligman, we are shown time and time again that we have control over how we think and therefore how we feel. The power lies within us. And this is the essence of TREWTh: we conquer our selves in order to live our best lives.