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.