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grandparents and granddaughter smiling in fall

There is so much negativity in our world. Our society is so fragmented and our politics so polarized that negative comments abound. Some folks are just plain gloomy about everything. These unfortunate people have nothing good to say about anybody, and they’ll encourage you to join in their misery.

You can choose to join in if you want, but you’re better off if you don’t. In fact, if you want to remain healthy and happy, you’ll work hard to steer clear of these negativity specialists.

Who’s pulling your emotional strings? Are you allowing highly emotional people or highly charged situations to dictate your moods, or are you wiser than that?

Happiness is freedom from all those pesky negative emotions: emotions such as worry, low self-esteem, envy, greed, resentment, prejudice, hatred and discouragement. The list of self-defeating emotions doesn’t stop there, but you get the idea.

What can you do to deliver yourself from the evils of these misdirected thoughts? You can start by slowing down, stepping back and thinking carefully about the things you’ve been thinking, and why. And while you’re thinking things through, you’ll want to recount your blessings.

Human emotions are highly variable, decidedly unpredictable, and often unreliable. Our emotions are like the weather, only sometimes far more fickle. We must learn to rein in the negative thoughts that might otherwise derail our days and our lives. We must learn to reject negative emotions and the negative people who spread them around.

One of the reasons I love to write is to call myself to positive living. Three quotes I especially love are:

“We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all.”  -Dorothy Day

“Don’t bring negatives to my door.” -Maya Angelou

“But as for you. Be strong: don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward.”
-2 Chronicles 15:7

Negative thinking breeds more negative thinking. So nip negativity in the bud, starting today and continuing every day of your life. Most of us have more blessings than we can count. Those blessings include life, family, freedom, friends, talents and possessions, just for starters.

Genuine happiness is a way of mind and a way of life. Happiness results from the way you choose to interpret events and the choices you make as a result of those interpretations. If you choose to view the world in a positive way, if you work hard to achieve positive results, and if you associate with positive people, then you’ll increase your odds of being happy.

But if you refuse to look at the donut and focus instead upon the hole, you can make yourself unhappy even if you’ve got a bigger bank balance than Bill and Melinda Gates.

Happiness also depends upon your willingness to be a disciplined person, a person who is focused on doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Happiness depends upon your willingness to lead a purposeful, principled life.

Simply put, happiness is a way of thinking. So here’s the big question: How will you direct your thoughts today? Will you dwell upon those things that are honorable, true and worthy of praise? Or will you allow your thoughts to be hijacked by the negativity that seems to dominate our troubled world?

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