Positivity

9 Sep 2022
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This is a word we hear a lot in connection with MH matters. Very early in my therapy my therapist mentioned it. At the time it was the last thing on my mind and I almost ignored it.

 

There is an easy definition ‘The activity of being positive’. But this doesn’t get you very far.

 

People who have poor MH probably identify more easily with ‘negativity’ which is of course is exactly the opposite. In fact the main symptoms of poor MH such as depression and anxiety are very much associated with negative moods.

 

I can recall probably about 18 months ago when I tried to explain to my therapist that I felt there was a “war” going on in my Mind. I found it difficult to describe at the time but in retrospect and with a bit more knowledge I can now imagine it was a conflict between my positive and negative feelings. At the time the ‘armies’ seemed fairly evenly matched. Thankfully over time ‘positivity’ has gradually become the more predominant force.

 

On the basis of my personal experience and the research I have read I am convinced the concept of positivity is worthy of further consideration. 

 

I think some people are, by their nature, more optimistic than others. But that doesn’t mean everybody can’t learn to be a bit more positive. Here are a few simple ideas that may help:

 

- Follow Moodscope. It has so many positive things to offer. A classic example; on 24 August Mary W wrote a Post saying she was worried. The number of helpful responses from other Moodscopers was positively overwhelming.

 

- Start each day in a positive way. My two starters are Moodscope and Early morning walk.

 

- Feed the ducks with recycled bread. Their response and the positive feelings you get in return are a joy.

 

- Show gratitude. I am sure we all have some things in our lives for which we can be grateful.  I am a great believer in recalling three positive events at the end of each day.

 

- Give help. This is a positive action that rewards both provider and recipient.     

 

A recent research study showed that pain and fatigue can be eased by Positive Talking Therapy. Dr Monty Lyman a medical doctor at the University of Oxford recently said “Pain is not just in your head but pain is indeed made in the brain. So if you tackle elements of it in you head then surely it can be helpful.” He is a big fan of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Theory). I think Oli is also a fan so would he like to write a Post?

 

Trying to adopt a more positive attitude does not mean ignoring the reality of challenges and problems that present themselves throughout our lives. Ignoring how we feel (our emotions) can lead to what has been termed ‘Toxic Positivity’. My therapist thought it was amusing when I said “I am positive that I am suffering from negative feelings!”

 

Do you feel you need a bit more positivity?

Teg

A Moodscope members.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Paul

Sept. 10, 2022, 5:12 a.m.

Hi Teg Thank you for todays blog. Some very good advice here and I fully agree with all you say. I have to work hard at staying positive which can be draining and feels like I am just kidding myself. I think life’s knocks( in my case many young family member deaths) and being let let by others makes a person expect the worst. Your description of a war in the head is a great way of describing it. Also pain is definitely worst if you are feeling low. Here’s to a more positive Saturday Paul

Reply

Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 6:20 a.m.

Hi Paul I realise sometimes the theory is easier than the practice. I am pleased we are reading from the same positive page. Thanks for your comments. Txx

Adam G

Sept. 10, 2022, 5:27 a.m.

Thanks Teg! I am, I’m afraid, an habitual ‘glass half empty’ kind of person, focused on the negative. I think it is probably anxiety-driven. I used to work with an amazing group of autistic adults, highly intelligent, skilled and capable in their work. Many of them struggled with MH problems and found that ACT was far more successful than more traditional CBT. I would say it is definitely worth looking into for anyone who hasn’t done so.

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Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 6:30 a.m.

Hi Adam Logic dictates that if the glass is half empty it is also half full! Anxiety is without doubt one of the drivers of negativity. I am positive about that! Thanks for your comment about ACT. It probably needs a Post of its own. In my previous life( pre retirement) it was a acronym for "Advanced Corporation Tax". Have a positive weekend. Txx

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 10, 2022, 5:53 a.m.

Okay, for the third time of writing! Grrrr - have lost it twice. So, briefly. Thank you for the mention. I received lots of support that day. I've implemented many of the suggestions and feel better as a result. Moodscope is indeed a place of positive support and certainly not a pity party, as some might expect.

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Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 6:37 a.m.

Good Morning Mary Third time lucky. Sometimes we need to be patient for the positive experience to arrive! I thought the responses you received epitomised the best of Moodscope. It was undoubtedly a very positive day." A place of positive support"--I like it. I am pleased to hear some of the suggestions you received were helpful. Take care Txx

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Jul

Sept. 10, 2022, 7:05 a.m.

Good morning Teg I think it's easier to be negative. The news is all negative (pre the Queen's death I mean) and we pick up on this. It's almost unfashionable to be positive or to say anything positive about life and what's happening globally. It's pretty much all doom and gloom. I do think some negativity is realistic and necessary but it can be too much. I stop myself often from taking the lazy easy approach to life and try to see the other side of life. To look at things from a different perspective. I do like to buck the trend. Your suggestions are good ones. Have a good weekend Teg. Jul xx

Reply

Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 7:45 a.m.

Good Morning Jul Thanks for your comments. I also like to consider issues from all sides to get a balanced perspective. If your MH is not good however, it is easy to take a more negative stance, as you say. We now have a fresh start; new monarch, new PM. There are challenges but we need to take a positive view of the future. Have a positive weekend. Txx

Orangeblossom

Sept. 10, 2022, 8:32 a.m.

Many thanks for your positive, upbeat blog Teg. I shall look up Acceptance & Commitment Theory. Sounds a good starting point. Without self-acceptance I have struggled on for many years trying to live a peaceful, joy-filled life.

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Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 1:49 p.m.

Hi OB I understand what you say about self acceptance. It is such an important concept, particularly in MH matters, I am thinking about writing another Post about it. As you say ACT might be worth a try--good luck. Txx

Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 8:39 a.m.

Friends I have been distracted by the new King on television and now I am bowling for a few hours. I will return later this afternoon to reply to other comments. Txx

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Jul

Sept. 10, 2022, 9:05 a.m.

Did you see how impatient he got with those pens and inkwells being in the way! Jul xx

Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 1:50 p.m.

Yes I did. I think he will need all his patience during the next few months. Txx

Dragonfly

Sept. 10, 2022, 5:25 p.m.

Jul, I did, and mentioned to my sister that he'd got a bit tetchy. She said she'd forgive him anything due to the pressure he's under - but then he did it again! With the eyes of the whole world on him. Having said that, his speech yesterday moved me to tears. It was so heartfelt and emotional x

Jul

Sept. 11, 2022, 7:30 a.m.

Hi Dragonfly. I am not sure he likes pomp and ceremony from his actions yesterday! I honestly don't know what to think. His mother would never have reacted like that whatever pressure she was under and watched live by millions around the world. However like you, I think he speaks well and with emotion. Jul xx

Dragonfly

Sept. 11, 2022, 8:16 a.m.

Hi Jul yes, I agree with what you say about the Queen. It does make me wonder a little how the 'minions'are treated behind closed doors. I don't wish to be disrespectful but only comment on what we all witnessed. I suppose we must make some allowances? xx

Sue

Sept. 10, 2022, 10:05 a.m.

Good ideas here Teg, As well as the new PM and new King, our church closes in two weeks so I will have a new church and church family (including a few from my existing church). This is also both negative and positive. Although sad to close, it is a new beginning for our few members, and I feel very positive about this going forward.

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Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 1:52 p.m.

Hi Sue Great, I think you have the right approach. I hope the opening of the new church goes well. Txx

Leah

Sept. 10, 2022, 11:01 a.m.

Teg I think there is negative in positive and positive in negative , so why do we see that as either, I wrote a blog awhile about about to ic positivity. I am often called negative when I feel I am reastic. I know my limitations, I have no skill at art or music and I am messy and untidy. This is not negative but realistic. I know I am privileged in many ways but I can still acknowledge my grief and loss. Thanks Teg

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Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 1:58 p.m.

Absolutely Leah. We all have different positives and negatives in our lives. Being aware of them presents opportunities to try and alter the balance a little. I also have no skill in art or music but I can enjoy viewing art and listening to music. Thanks for your comments. Txx

The Gardener

Sept. 10, 2022, 3:32 p.m.

Very late, taken up with things over the channel. My French friends all admiring of Queen, all have watched events on TV, even sceptics realise now the need for continuity as comfort and security. Doing a course on Climate change and communicating with our 'audience'. Real glass half empty, only two takers, and where would I find an audience? Anyway, positivity, talking to our librarian, she has welcomed me (and Mr G before) in giving lectures and exhibitions I am trying to work out a lecture on 40 years experience of maltreatment of the planet which I have seen round the world. As practical farmers, a soil scientist and a geologist we have a fairly good grounding. ~Can't change anything, damage done, but perhaps of historical interest. If only I can get my concentration back - ten minutes on a subject and I lose interest. Memory and linguistic ability seem OK, just lack of concentration.The TV coverage fantastic, particularly the historical background to the form of accession.

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The Gardener

Sept. 10, 2022, 3:35 p.m.

PS, also doing a course on ADHD, very good, very illuminating, am concentrating on it. Lovely day, went to sleep in the sun in my garden reading French magazine 'Le Point, mostly about the deficiences in the various French political parties, I cannot get to grips with them all.Thanks everybody for today's input. xx

Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 3:53 p.m.

Hi TG I think you deserve a good rest in the sun. txx

Valerie

Sept. 10, 2022, 3:58 p.m.

I agree that we can do things that distract us and have the knock-on effect of lifting mood.I don't go along with the idea that simply thinking of cheerful optimistic things can be of any use.I know that is not what Teg is saying either. A book was mentioned on here some time ago called Smile or Die,which I bought.I found it very instructive.I think we should do all we can to solve our problems,whatever they are.At the same time I am a believer in fate and luck,some things are beyond our remit.***

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The Gardener

Sept. 10, 2022, 5:10 p.m.

Valerie, often when we said how 'lucky' we had been friends said 'No, you worked damned hard'. Looking back, opportunities arrived and we grabbed them, causing acute concern to our parents, because it involved risk.

Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 4:39 p.m.

Hi Valerie Yes fate and luck do have a part to play in all our lives. But we can influence what happens in our lives; we are constantly making decisions. Attempting to see the more positive options is worth trying. Txx

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G

Sept. 10, 2022, 5:40 p.m.

Hello Teg. This is something I used to find incredibly hard to do especially when being depressed but I’m finding life to be more enjoyable and it’s the simple things that I feel grateful for and I purposely remember every day what I appreciate. Any negativity I knock on head rather quickly but as I say I haven’t always managed to do that. A beauty of MH issues is that we are more in touch with our moods and whilst they are often not controllable, we work harder to manage them whereas a person without MH issues maybe wouldn’t know how to pick up the wonderful tips that we get in shedloads on Moodscope. Thank you Teg.

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Teg

Sept. 10, 2022, 6:05 p.m.

Hi G " the simple things I am grateful for". I love that phrase. I think it is important to continue learning about how our MH affects our lives. There are a lot of issues the consider but a bit more positivity can improve our moods considerably. Thanks for you comments. Txx

Lex

Sept. 11, 2022, 6:25 a.m.

Thank you for these gems of practical tips, Teg. The fact that they are coming from a 'practitioner' we trust gives them even more value. Lxx

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Teg

Sept. 11, 2022, 7:11 a.m.

Good morning Lex Just my simple thoughts. Have a positive Sunday. Thanks Txx

Oli

Sept. 11, 2022, 3:54 p.m.

Hi Teg, late to the party this week but yes, I shall write a post on ACT - I think it's particularly well suited for working with pain. I'll do it by the end of September too. I'm a shocker for not writing but thanks for the poke. And thanks for the blog.

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Teg

Sept. 11, 2022, 5:15 p.m.

Hi Oli Great, thanks. I am sure there are many of us that would find it interesting. Txx

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