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Good News: A Perspective

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I'm no Pollyanna, but I try to be a member of the glass-half-full crowd, or even, "be grateful that at least there's water in the glass" crowd. By striving to be positive I don't stress out as much about the many things that go wrong in life, both large and small.

But I discovered something interesting the other day, maybe already obvious to you, but something that I never thought of before, and something that hasn't been in keeping with a positive mindset.

When there are two elements, most of us usually preface our comment by saying "Well, there's good news and bad news." And I always used to say it that way, in that order, with the good news first.

For example:

"How did your job search go?"

"Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that I got a job. The bad news is that the job is shoveling elephant manure on the night shift."

A downer.

Instead, I discovered I felt more positive when I was in a good news/bad news situation by simply changing the order of the two sentences, starting with the bad news and ending with the good:

"How did your job search go?"

"Well bad news, good news. My job is shoveling elephant manure on the night shift. But, the good news is that I got a job!"

Test it out. And you don't have to preface the statement by saying "bad news... good news." Just change, "I was going on a picnic but it's cold," to "It's cold, but I'm still going on a picnic."

"I didn't get the loan in time to buy the car," to "I didn't buy the car yet, but I'm getting the loan."

"It's not cancer, but I still have to have the tumor removed in a five-hour operation," to "I have to have the tumor removed in a five-hour operation, but it's not cancer."

I know, we can overdo it, and some situations are so bad that there seems to be no good news possible: "My mother just died after a long, difficult illness."

You'd have to really stretch your mind to find some good there. But you can, if you want to and if you stop and realize that there can be a bit of good to hold on to in even the worst of times: "My mother died after a long, difficult illness, but she had a remarkable life and was loved by us all."

So take a chance and try finding some good even in most situations by just switching the order of events you're retelling to a "bad news, good news" mode. Maybe life won't seem quite as difficult when you frame things that way, and by ending on a positive note the positivity may spill over to a better attitude in general.

The bad news is that we need to use every trick possible to keep a positive attitude in this difficult life. The good news is, we can.

For more by Lea Lane, click here.

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