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How Think Positive in the Midst of a Crisis

Updated on January 16, 2017

Think Positive

City life in a positive way.
City life in a positive way. | Source

Optimism Versus Pessimism

We all experience various levels of crisis during the course of life, and it is easy to get focused on what is happening in that moment. There are people who live in pessimism, continually thinking every minute has something negative in it, and believe in the worst of things transpiring. The individual usually attributes negative situations as self induced (failure) or unworthiness, and gives up easily under pressure.

On the other hand, optimistic people keep an open mind, attempting to find something good in all things. The individuals also maintain an "I can" attitude, and become inventive in tough situations. One example of differences between a pessimist and an optimist is two sisters who wandered away from a campsite to site see. At one point about two hours later, it came to their attention that the afternoon light was waning. The older sister began to panic saying they would not make it back before sundown, and was not sure which way to go. Neither of them had a flashlight, or matches for a night fire. The younger sister remembered certain points of interest she observed on their way, and informed the older sister they just needed to go back the way they came. To make a long story short, the younger sister was optimistic, in that she trusted her memory, and believed they could make it back to camp before nightfall. The older sister complained, and stayed negative all the way, until the campsite was visible.

Had the younger sister given in to pessimism of her older sister, it could have been a serious situation, but fortunately the older sister had recognized the confidence, and optimism her younger sister displayed and trusted her judgment.

When someone stays in a mindset of pessimism, negative chemistry takes place in the brain, which then effects the body. Thought processes and health are tied together in a unique network of neurons that work together.

So, how does one think positive in the midst of a crisis? It takes practice, and it gets easier each time the process is implemented. First, try not to get caught up in the emotional response. Depending on the situation, it is natural to experience emotional activation, however, it is not necessary to stay in it. Think about the outcome, how something can be learned from the crisis, or what positive things can be utilized to get through the crisis. Stay calm, do not panic, and do not focus on fault, just work at getting through the crisis. Whenever something negative enters the mind, do not speak it, but change it to a positive. Example: Negative (pessimistic) thought, "This is so horrible, I'll never make it through". Positive (optimistic), "This is not that bad, I will get through it, and benefit from it in the long run." Verbalizing the alternative positive thought helps to convince the brain that the process will happen.

I began by writing down all the negative things I could remember anyone ever said to me from childhood to adult. Then next to those I would write the opposite, or positive statements, then go over the list stating only the positive things. The next step was to speak those positive things to myself in the mirror, as if I were telling a friend. Application was a more tedious step, but after taking a deep breath and stepping out there, accomplishment was experienced. I purchased the style of clothing I had always wanted to wear, mingled with influential people, and decided to pursue a degree in psychology so I could help others. Prior to achieving the goal of optimism, college was not a consideration because of fear of failure, but optimism brought me to a Master of Science degree in Psychology, graduating with a high grade average. From that point, it became easier to think and act with optimism.

Effects on Health

The human body is directly effected by the stress of crisis, but it is possible to reduce the effects of stress using optimism. Of course individuals will experience different levels of emotions, and that is natural, and it helps to have a little understanding how chemistry changes with different types of thinking.

Individuals are also effected by beliefs about diseases, or illness, that can cause an onset of symptoms. It is a case of "You get what you believe." Pessimistic individuals have shown a higher rate of illness or onset of disease than individuals with more optimistic outlook.

When I was growing up, I voiced my career choices to my Father. Because of his upbringing, he believed there were things a female could never take on, so he promptly told me "You can't do that, you're a girl." I heard it so many times that I repeated his statements to myself in the mirror when I thought of doing certain things. The belief became a stronghold in my mind, ripping me off of many years of experiences, and joy. The negativity (pessimism) go so bad that I believed I was not even worthy to be in existence on this planet. The belief pattern carried over into adulthood, until I began to learn about positive thinking, and positive affirmations. What I didn't realize prior to that is headaches, stomach problems, and other physical ailments were all attached to the pessimism.

After about a month of replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts and statements, it became more evident that sickness reduced, headaches went away, and I felt very different. I felt lighter, free, and discovered I had become the figment of someone else's imagination, meaning that I had been living according to what I thought others expected from me. Finally, I was free to be me, real.

Don't get me wrong, I still find myself slipping every now and then, but a quick change in thoughts or statements reactivates the positive. Positive thinking has also improved the immune system to fight against flu, colds, and other ailments.

Crisis

Crisis is any event or experience that causes stress or pressure.
Crisis is any event or experience that causes stress or pressure. | Source

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Which of the following do you experience when in crisis or negative thinking?

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Healthy Eating

White fish seasoned with garlic, olive oil, dill, and tarragon, broiled in toaster oven. Easy, healthy, tasty.
White fish seasoned with garlic, olive oil, dill, and tarragon, broiled in toaster oven. Easy, healthy, tasty. | Source

Thinking Positive and Diet

Instead of addressing diet, the point is to eat healthy. Some foods are difficult for the body to process, especially sugars, and starch, which turns to sugar too. Considering the processes, eating the wrong things causes weight gain, which causes guilt, depression, and anger. Couple the weight gain with stress, a release of cortisol increases gain of inches in the abdominal area.

Pessimism, or negative thinking feeds bad eating habits (eating comfort foods to pacify depression or sadness), and bad eating habits contribute to negative thinking. There is a cycle of fear, shame, and control that evolves, with over eating and weight gain. Fear of things happening, rejection, unworthiness. Shame of holding back, self, appearance, feelings. Control that keeps the cycle going with the individual maintaining he or she has the right to eat, drink, or other types of addictions because of the fear, and shame. Negativity feeds negativity.

All things in moderation is my motto, and it keeps me on the mark. Foods are viewed as nourishment (instead of going by sense of smell or taste). The idea is to learn what foods are the best nourishment for the body and mind, wholesome, increasing stamina, and strengthening immunity to common diseases. Personally, I would rather feel good, maintain a good weight, and not get sick. I have been on the other end of the stick, and it was not pleasant, being overweight, sick, miserable, mood swings, among other things. YUK!

Searching out a legitimate dietician, education on proper eating habits helped tremendously, not only for myself, but for my husband and children. The discovery was first the amount of food to consume at each meal. First, only 2 ounces of meat should be consumed (preferable white meat to avoid saturated fats), maybe 1/2 cup of starch (1 small baked potato or equivalent of mashed potato's, pasta, or 1 slice of bread) these provide carbohydrates, long term energy, but they do turn to glucose so be careful not to eat them before bed or they will store as fat. Greens are important for minerals and vitamins, fresh salad, green beans, legumes (varieties of beans), up to 2 cups. This is the important thing to remember with this good way of eating. Burning fat is like lighting a campfire, you have to have the right mix for it to work. Protein (meats (mostly white meat like chicken or fish, soybeans) is a main substance for strong muscle (logs, or large wood chips to maintain a good fire), starch (pasta, potato's, bread) is like the little tufts of dried wood hairs, leaves, grass that work as the propellant that smolders for a long time to help the logs to catch fire. Greens (various types of lettuce, green beans, cucumbers) work as the spark that ignites the propellant, that makes the wood burn. As long as an individual maintains that mix, his or her body will burn fat. Of course, exercise keeps the blood flowing properly, and increases the function of the foods, metabolism and strengthens muscle and core.

Since adjusting our eating habits, my husband and I have experienced increased immune system, less reaction to allergens, increased energy, increased positive attitude, thinking, and action, and improved over all health. Even our primary physician is impressed with the changes. We started out with high blood pressure, high glucose, and cholesterol. Over the past year our blood tests came back with reduced measurements each time. Blood pressure medication has been cut in half, mine just a quarter strength, and we are off the cholesterol medication now. Blood glucose has reduced to normal from weight loss, no sugar use, and minimizing starches.

Positive thinking also plays a role, because, instead of seeing something that looks good and thinking "oh, I have got to try that!" Instead we verbalize, "No, I don't need that, I feel better without it."

Important Healthy Eating

RECENT DIET CHANGES

We get so caught up in daily life, work, and family issues that we forget what a balanced diet is, not that it is a diet, but good eating habits. Bad eating habits, lack of exercise and stress can certainly put the pounds on, even if one is attempting to stay away from certain foods. I thought I could lose a few more pounds by simply skipping a meal, and eat less at each sitting. I found myself gaining weight instead of losing it.

I read that the best way to eat without the body thinking it is starving is to eat a big breakfast, have a small snack in between breakfast, and lunch. A sliced favorite fruit, a handful of strawberries, or peanut butter and a couple of crackers, just for example, are healthy carbs and fats that keep the metabolism working. Eat a lunch that is smaller than breakfast that would include about 2 ounces of protein like meat, or other protein source, about 1 to 2 cups of vegetables, and no more than 2 tablespoons of a starch like pasta, or rice.

Try to stay away from too much bread, but if you do use it, choose a whole grain bread, not white. Wheat, Rye, Cracked Wheat, Oat Bread, are examples of good whole grain breads. I try to limit myself to 2 slices in one day either to make one sandwich or a half sandwich and 1 slice of toast.

Between lunch and dinner another snack of veggies, fruit, or a small amount of cubed cheese are good snacks. Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day because it needs to digest before going to sleep so the metabolism can utilize the nutrients and get rid of what is not needed.

Up to 1 hour before going to bed a snack can be consumed but be careful what the snack is. The snack should be something like whole grain cereal and not the kind with sugars, just simple corn flakes, oatmeal, or string cheese are good without causing stomach issues during the night. Yogurt, turkey (tryptophan helps with sleep, just like after Thanksgiving Dinner), or a small amount of carrots are a few examples.

I have been eating that way for a week now and have lost 6 pounds, and finally beginning to feel human again. My thought processes are sharper, and energy levels are up, so I know it is working.

Try it, it is worth it to see if it helps. Every person is an individual with different needs, so it may not be for everyone, but, it is worth checking it out.


Music and Art Together

I have discovered using music and art together helps me to realign my thought processes. The motion of my arms, hands, and focus of my eyes tend to set up a forward process, moving forward with a function instead of stopping to do nothing. In this, I mean that when we feel burdened with life in general, bills, relationships, things to do, we tend to want to shut down. Doing artwork helps me to get moving, and coupled with music, takes my mind off the burdens to refocus my mind and body toward a more effective reaction. Wow...it really worked for me!


Summary

  • Optimism is positive thinking
  • Pessimism (negative thinking) can be changed
  • Pessimism, or negative thinking can cause health problems
  • Unhealthy eating habits and pessimism feed each other
  • Healthy eating, optimism or positive thinking and exercise improves health
  • Healthy eating consists of a correct balance of protein, carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins and minerals

Balance

Optimism
Healthy Eating
Bad Foods
Thinking positive
Improves attitude
(limit)Red Meats
Motivates
Protein, Carbs, Vitamins, Minerals
Sugar
Inspires
Increases health and immunity
White flour
It is important to understand what good eating habits are.

Comments

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    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn 

      3 years ago from Nevada

      I have been observing people who tend to eat a lot of sugary substances, instead of healthy foods. I would say that at least 7 out of the 8 people I have watched over the past few months, have resulted with negative thinking, anger issues, and illness. Two of those people changed his, and her diet over the last two weeks refraining from sugar completely, eating salads, small amounts of meat, and vegetable/fruit smoothies (with no sugar added), and both have experienced massive changes in mood, being more positive and able to think out situations without getting angry. General health is improving, and in the midst of his and her life pressures (moving from one end of the country to the other), they are able to maintain positive thinking. They each said the improvement in how they feel physically made a tremendous difference in how they perceive the world around them.

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn 

      3 years ago from Nevada

      I have found that diet has a major effect, either positive or negative on how one reacts to situations and stress. I have also caught myself being influenced by emotion on eating some foods that only cause more problems.

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn 

      3 years ago from Nevada

      Peale's book is a good read, I agree. I appreciate your input.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I still recommend Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking." It continues to be a classic on this subject.

      Good effort in this Hub, too.

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