Staying Positive when the Going Gets Rough

It makes a big difference in your life when you stay positive.”
- Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously... I'm Kidding

“Judgment is a negative frequency.”
- Stephen Richards

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
- Michael Jordan

This is a practice to support yourself in finding, maintaining, and enhancing the positive in the face of any conversation that could go south. Use this practice before you engage in such a conversation, or when you are in the midst of a conversation that is beginning to or even seeming as if it might go off the rails.


  1. Keep your focus on what is most important to you regarding the conversation and the relationship with the individual(s).
  2. Whenever your focus wavers, pause, take a deep breath, and slow down. Give the executive functioning part of your brain time to get back in the driver's seat.
  3. Each time you notice yourself veering off track, restate your positive intention to yourself and out loud. Express a meta-statement such as, “I'm noticing that I (or we) are starting to go south. I want to reiterate how important it is to me that we find our way through this to a solution (or understanding, etc.) that works for all of us.”
  4. When you respond to someone else's comments, use the phrase, “Yes, and...” as it will open up the conversation rather than engender defensiveness.
  5. Be generous with your expressions of gratitude and appreciation.
  6. After conversations in which you engaged in this practice, jot down a few notes and take credit for your contribution in keeping the conversation on track.

And, as always, please share your experiences on the blog or in personal emails. I appreciate each comment I receive.

What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: 'Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.'”
- Gordon B. Hinckley

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