I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Negativity Switch

On my walk this morning, a block away from my home, the massive construction truck is on the same street as me, no signal on to turn, so I go to step off the curb to cross -- and he turns, cutting in front of me. I back up, hold my hands up, and think, "No. I'm NOT going to let myself feel like this all day today."

The next truck I see is actually one of those asphalt-scraper rigs, heading slowly down the street I'm still walking along, and I wave good morning. He waves back with a smile. I think, "This could cancel out the negative encounter I had this morning. THAT'S the kind of "cancel culture" I need right now.

I've learned that it's human for our brains to focus on the negative.
It's even got a name: Asymmetric Effect with Negative Bias. YUCK. I've had this affliction before.

I've got to cancel out these negative thoughts when I can. Here is what I try:
  • When I spot an educator shaming another educator on social media, I make sure to thank another teacher on social media - or maybe the one being shamed, depending on the situation.
  • When I have an appointment I am not looking forward to, I schedule something afterwards that I DO look forward to.
  • When I stop by Facebook and see scary posts, I look for something to share that's helpful to others.
  • When I'm breathing in too much toxicity from my laptop, I head outside to breathe a deep breath in nature.
  • When I start to worry (again) too much about our future, I remember that action helps me move forward and past the worry, so I choose to DO something.
  • When I think someone's acting like an idiot, I find something new to learn.
  • When I get off a difficult phone conversation, I purposely spend some time alone in the quiet (or outside with the birds and traffic noises - just no talking).
  • When I am bombarded with reminders that we're still in a pandemic, I stop and decide to notice things for which I'm grateful.

Another one I tried one time in my life and I'd like to try more often...

  • Hear negative self-talk? Repeat positive affirmations to yourself.

Sounds like a plan.

Can negativity truly be canceled? Nope.
I can, however, pause, then switch my thinking to try to turn if off for a bit.


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