the negativity trap
Have you ever woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Grumpy, disconnected, and just plain irritated. The kind of day where you’re determined to be terse, temperamental, ready to display a toddler-like tantrum, and no one or nothing can pull you out of that self-imposed negative mindset. This morning was that kind of bad-attitude morning for me.
I’m sure you’ve had an off-to-a-bad-start kind of morning as well. The problem escalates, for me, when I let my bad attitude affect what comes out of my mouth. I’ve never been one for cussing. Probably because my parents washed my mouth out with Lava Soap a few times, and I never wanted to have that gritty, nasty taste in my mouth ever again. But my bad attitude has always helped escalate my propensity to be a world-class worrywart, well-oiled negativity machine, and a pessimistic sky-is-falling unproductive wordsmith. It’s not a pretty sight.
Combining a lousy attitude with unproductive and harmful words is never helpful. It says in Proverbs 12:18, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Our reckless words cut like a knife. They sting, hurt, and if our lousy attitude and unproductive comments continue, they can bring emotional destruction to those around us.
Here’s the problem; it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of flailing destructive words at others. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” We can kill the spirit of others around us by merely using unproductive words. When we do, we are on a collision course to a terrible day.
But we do have a choice. We can choose to be wise with our words and bring emotional and spiritual healing to others. When we wake up with a bad attitude, we can turn it around, so we don’t succumb to using our tongue for no good.
Here are three physical exercises I do to help me overcome my bad attitude, my propensity for using unproductive words, and my tendency to turn an otherwise good day into one filled with terrible memories.
First, when I start going down a negative rabbit hole, I stop and breathe. Be brave and take three. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a moment and then slowly exhale. This simple exercise will slow you down so you can think with a clear mind. I believe God designed us to use each breath, if we choose, to help us realign.
Second, I look up. It helps me get a blue sky mindset. If I start the day with a bad attitude, I’ve probably been looking down too much. When I look down, my vision is impaired. I limit the possibilities. Physically looking up helps me to think about the big picture and dream. It’s hard to keep a bad attitude when you have a no-limits mentality.
Third, I speak out five simple words, “Today is my favorite day.” It may sound corny and a little trite, but it’s true, that’s what I do. The phrase reminds me that God is in charge of this day. That truth makes me smile. I don’t have to be superman, and I don’t have to have all the answers. I give my day, work, and relationships to His care and control.
Do I have bad attitude days? Oh, yes! Ask my wife, she’ll tell you. Thank God they are getting fewer as I give each day to Him.
So, slow down and take a breath. Look up and take a peek at the big picture. Speak out five simple words against your negative attitude and those unproductive words that can make your day terrible.
I can’t guarantee if you use my suggestions that you will become a millionaire.
I can’t swear that you will suddenly have a million followers on social media.
I will not say that you will have a perfect marriage with perfect children if you use the three exercises.
Here’s what I will guarantee, you will not fall into the negativity trap that so many have found themselves stuck in this year. That’s worth something. At least it is for me, and I believe it will be for you too. Enjoy.
David Towner is the author of Today Is My Favorite Day and the pastor of The Harbor Church is Odessa, Florida. He is married to Tonya and together they have three daughters and four grandsons.