Isn’t it interesting how easily we seem to absorb the negative things in life, yet the positives just slip away? It’s as though the compliments, positive feedback, and the small things that bring us joy in life just slips through our fingers like water. Why is it so hard to hold onto the positives, while it is so easy to hold onto the negatives?

We tend to focus on the things that keep us alive. Think about it – if something negative happens, you want to remember that in the future in order to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Right? It all goes back many years ago and evolutionarily our brains just haven’t changed all that much. We absorb and integrate what keeps us alive – how to avoid getting attacked by a tiger – and forget the wonderful, joyous, and lovely positives because we do not need to hold onto them in order to live.

Focusing on the negative aspects of life causes great anxiety in some people. To help relieve some of this anxiety, we need to adapt our way of thinking. We must focus more on the positive and let go of the negatives much more consciously.

In order to cultivate a more positive mindset, start a gratitude journal. Try it for a week and notice any differences that may occur in this short time. Continue if it seems to work well for you.

Naturally, you will continue to notice the negatives; I promise they will not go away fully. However, your focus will hopefully change and you’ll start to notice more of the positives that occur throughout your day.

Gratitude Journaling:
• Write down at least 5 different things you are grateful or thankful for today.
• Try not to repeat items, but if you have to occasionally it’s okay.
• It is really about noticing all the amazing things that happen on a daily basis that don’t seem to get much attention. It also may create a desire to slow down and take advantage of certain things that you wouldn’t usually take time for in your day.
• Examples:
o I am grateful for the fact that I woke up this morning.
o I am thankful for seeing such a beautiful sunrise and taking the time to enjoy it.
o I am grateful for my morning cup of coffee.
o I am thankful for having healthy legs that carry me places all day long.

Kimberly Atwood is a psychotherapist in private practice in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She specializes in working with women and men in their late teens, 20’s and 30’s dealing with eating disorders, sexual and relationship issues, anxiety, life transitions and personal growth.  Please visit for more information.