Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quick Tip: Ask 3P Questions

I hear that positivity is like a muscle - it needs to be challenged and stretched daily to gain strength over negativity and essentially, ward off depression. So now I am on the hunt for tactics that can help me exercise the positives.

Here's is quick tip #1

Dan Johnston, Ph.D. (a clinical psychologist and director of psychological services at the Medical Center of Central Georgia) suggests in his post on the Success Television site that we "learn to challenge the 3P's:
  • Permanent: Always look to see what can be changed or salvaged; the old making lemonade from lemons approach.
  • Pervasive: Focus on the specific situation and don't generalize. Don't let one small, isolated problem become like a wildfire roaring through your life affecting everything.
  • Personal: Don't personalize events with self-blame. Accept legitimate responsibility and learn from mistakes but don't beat yourself up for every setback."

I've heard that these concepts before. That they help stop negative thinking in it's tracks. But I know I need more. Simply reminding myself that it's not forever, it's not in every corner of my life and that I shouldn't take things so personally is not enough for me (not yet anyway.) As I've mentioned before, things like positive affirmations don't help Negative Nelly's like myself. The negative voice inside some of us is too overbearing. I am still in Negativity 101. Baby steps people. Baby steps.

I've heard questions are good though. I read about this idea on the Positive Living Now blog. (Which by the way, is a fantastic site that delves into the topic of positivity in a realistic and respectful way. No annoying, "It's easy, just think positively!" advice that makes me want to slap the cheerful smile off their face. I promise.)

In one particular post on Positive Living Now, Susan K. Minarik explains how asking ourselves questions forces us to think of answers instead of dwelling on the negative. So next time the tornado of negativity starts swirling around me, I will ask myself the following questions based on Dr. Dan's 3P's and Susan's suggestion of asking questions.
  1. Is this situation forever? Why not?
  2. Is it really the same everywhere I look and in every similar situation? How do I know?
  3. What can I learn from this situation? How can I avoid this situation in the future?
  4. Am I the only one to blame here?
  5. What can I do to stop thinking about this situation?

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