Page 14 - West Virgina 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 3
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Let’s begin this psychological journey with discussing our internal chatter, e.g., it has
been said that we have 50,000 independent thoughts a day. Our brain continues to talk to
us spontaneously throughout our waking hours. You’re not going to shut your internal dialogue down. Thus, this article focuses on using this psychological phenomenon to our advantage during the tough times in our lives.
Throughout the day our thoughts and, therefore, our attitudes are going to cycle between being positive and negative. The interesting dilemma is that our default attitude at birth is one of happiness. Living, though, takes its toll. It’s been estimated that 80% of adult thinking is negative in some fashion. Using the following continuum,
each of us has a defau?
lt position on that scale. Where would you put you? Where would your family and
Teach Us
12 • West Virginia 811
2020, Issue 3
By Larry Cole, Ph.D. TeamMax
employees put you?
-5-4-3-2-1 0 +1+2+3+4+5
It may appear that negative thinking is not necessarily
a friend. But a closer examination of the role negative thinking plays in our life’s highlights shows it is designed to protect us from either physical or psychological harm. That’s a story for another time. It has also been suggested that negative thinking prevents us from being Pollyanna- ish.
Fast forward to today. We’ve been faced with and are living through a worldwide pandemic. (I’m using the pandemic as an example, but the psychological muscles introduced in this article apply to any stressor.) What do our thoughts tell us about ourselves? Yes, our
initial thought response is probably one that would be categorized as negative, e.g., “Dang, I hate this.” We might not be able to control this initial thought, but what is our second thought to our initial thought? Because this one is under our control. Do we dwell on the negative aspects or accept it and make the best of it? What does this second thought tell us about ourselves?
Remember that 80% of our thoughts are negative in some manner so it would be very easy to simply continue that line of thinking to focus on the negative aspects of COVID-19.
Learning Points
Learning Point Number One: Continuing to focus on the negative would suggest you tend to be a negative thinker and reside on the left side of the continuum.
Learning Point Number Two: If you are one of the lucky ones who can very quickly shift from accepting the fact the COVID-19 virus is disrupting your life to finding ways

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