Studies show that when you’re having a bad day, simply reflecting on positive experiences can put you in a better mood and positively impact your health in the process.
It’s so easy for us to become mired in negativity whenever we’re having a lousy day. The car breaks down. The dog runs away. A nasty argument with the wife. The melding of so many unfavorable situations can quickly put a damper on our day and lead to unrelenting stress and anxiety.
But studies suggest that positive memories can attenuate the negative outcomes associated with bad experiences. If you’re down in the dumps about having failed your science exam, simply think back to a time when you aced an exam and you’ll feel better. In fact, the more you can focus on that positive earlier experience, the more motivated you’ll be to get an A on your next test.
Let’s say your boyfriend just dumped you unexpectedly. Instead of ingraining in your mind that “all men are pigs,” why not reflect on good times you had in your relationship – say, those special occasions where you and your boyfriend took romantic walks on the beach at night under a starry sky – and look forward to sharing such experiences with an even greater guy?
I believe that you can fundamentally change the way you think by looking at things from a different perspective. It’s easy to get bogged down by the negative. (Check out my article about this topic titled “Why We’re More Drawn to The Negative Rather Than The Positive.”) However, by adjusting your thinking and using positive self-affirmations like “it could be worse” and “this is only temporary,” you’re more likely to extricate yourself from all the negativity and get on the path to self-improvement.
By thinking of positive experiences, we can actually convince ourselves that the storm will soon pass and we’ll be reliving such good times before we know it. This also keeps us from wallowing in self-pity and engaging in destructive behaviors, such as over drinking.
So next time you’re feeling a little down on your luck, remember what you learned here: Positive memories will temper the negative emotions you’re experiencing at that very moment. Keep your chin up!